Diploma 12 is a studio embedded within the Architectural Association dedicated to the exploration of wildness, world building and meaningful change. The studio consists of the collective of a dozen students and three tutors. For this year, 2019-2020, we have worked within the theme of In Other Worlds to explore boundaries and spaces of conflict.

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‘Hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.’ – Ursula Le Guin 2014

Embedded within our cultured spaces are forces that reflect the powers that not only created them, but also sustain their existence. As a counterpoint to these spaces lies the wilderness where the oblique, the feral, and the non-legible abide. Dip12 has pushed at the edges of the known and into these wild spaces, the territories of the unknown.

As a means to design alternative futures, to build larger realities and to speculate on other worlds we have looked at what it means to be wild and what types of architecture can be made in relation to the deconstructed, the other and the feral. We explored this by looking for tensions between nature and technology and conflicts embedded within histories and emerging social trends. This resulted in projects that attempt to find new ways to build for better futures – futures that understand the needs of both nature and society.

Searching for strategic forms of architectural practice, the propositions were explored through one-to-one interventions, which were then tested in the real world. By doing this we questioned how to employ architecture beyond its aesthetic, formal or experiential qualities, transforming it into an agent for real change. Read the full brief here.

Inigo Minns, Ivan Morison, Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

Muqing Bai, Jumanah Bawazir, Kai Qing Audrey Chan, Phillip Fai Chung, Leticia Dadalto, Iman Datoo, Greta Tekla Gedeon, Alma Hawker, Sara Ibrahim, Henry Ngo, Russell Royer, Sarah deVries.

David Burrows, Cecilie Jessen Hansen, Ana Maria Nicolaescu, Ioana Man, Anna Mill, Mark Morris, Michael Prokopow, Sebastian Tiew, Nicholas Zembashi, Royal College of Art – Sculpture Department, University College London - Conservation Department, LungA School.

Unit Trip Record by Muqing Bai (Fourth Year Student)

Fascinated by the emerging and disappearing conditions on the edge, the unit explored the varying and unexpected perspectives on contentious issues of our times within the realm of wilderness. The trip spanned across Iceland and the Faroe Islands, two of the most remote places on earth.


While in Reykjavík, Iceland, the unit visited professionals who operate in various fields. We shared design perspectives with students from the Iceland Academy of Arts. At the Bionic Limb Design and Manufacture Ossur, we witnessed the most developed ergonomic and robotic designs that renovate mutilated human bodies with artificial partitions. On route, we also visited the multi-medium experimental lab, Olafur Elliasson Studio, as well as receiving a talk from Andri Snær Magnason, a Sci-fi Arthur and maker of the Dreamland documentary. The trip continued into the wild and terminated in Seyðisfjörður, where we surrounded ourselves with edgeless geothermal fields and breath-taking waterfalls. We left Iceland from the LungA School; a unique art community laid out in a remote village along an industrial coast of eastern Iceland.


After spending a day on the sea, we arrived in the Faroe Islands, a picturesque archipelago between Iceland and Ireland. Offshore aqua farms and inland villages lightly scattered across the islands, revealing hints of civilizations. The road trip from capital Tórshavn to Bøur, a heritage village in the north, reveals surreal landscapes of rocky mountains, floating lakes, and forestless cliffs. We embraced the wilderness and the culture of these islands while riding horses at the foot of mountains and tasting the fermented meat from the local cuisine. We explored the history and vernacular heritage of architecture on the islands in southern villages such as Kirkjubøur.


Edinburgh was the last stop before returning to London. At the University of Edinburgh, the unit visited the Genome Foundry, a synthetic biology lab, where we learned about the developments of genetic engineering while inspecting the robotic workflows.


The students of Dip 12 decided they wanted a physical object that embodied their experiences In Other Worlds and as a gift they could share with those they loved and admired. The group settled upon the forms of a cup and a bowl cast from a coconut and an old ball respectively. Iman Datoo, working with Ivan Morison, developed a glaze recipe that was both refined and wild, and that reminded them of their windswept visit to the summit of Hverfjall Volcano in Iceland - perhaps the key moment in the year’s drama. The ceramic objects were produced with the help of Studio Morison and are now distributed far and wide.