The fate of the 16 Architectural Association (AA) staff members who were warned that their jobs were at risk in November has finally come to light. As reported by The Architect’s Journal, nine of the 16 were deemed “redundant” by the AA, and AA Files editor Tom Weaver has resigned.
The cuts come as the London-based school has been roiled by financial issues. Samantha Hardingham, the AA’s interim director, told The Architect’s Journal that the reorganization was a response to a “massive” increase in rent and rates and the costs of an ongoing renovation of the school’s headquarters in Bedford Square.
The school’s reorganization hasn’t been without pushback, as architects and critics from all over the world have expressed concern over the staff reductions and possible closing of the AA Files. Five of the eight positions at the AA’s publication department, responsible for producing the AA Files, have been slashed, and there are only two full-time staff members left there following Weaver’s departure.
Despite the changes in recent years at the AA, the AA Files under Weaver has consistently been praised as the journal’s “golden years”.
‘The AA Files was one of the best things about the last 10 years at the association,” said Irenee Scalbert, a former AA professor and current member of the AA Files editorial board. “It found a good editor who is a big loss. To have a magazine is one thing; to have a good one with a capable editor is another. It was a sophisticated publication that gave evidence that the AA was good at architecture.”
Hardingham has repeatedly stressed that the cuts are part of a larger reorganization process that will guarantee the school’s continued financial solvency. In addition to focusing more heavily on development, the school will also attempt to receive taught degree-awarding powers, which would allow them to award bachelor’s degrees.
Two of the 16 aforementioned threatened staff members have been reassigned to different departments within the AA, while the remaining four have remained at their current positions.