World-renowned architects have signed a letter warning the Architectural Association that axing its publications and exhibitions departments through staff cuts will damage the school's reputation as a place of "cutting-edge debate".
The letter, addressed to the Architectural Association's president David Porter, was penned by architects Tony Fretton, Edward Jones of Dixon Jones Architects and Kate Macintosh, formerly of London Borough of Southwark.
Written on behalf of "the architecture community", it urges the school to reconsider proposed redundancies within its publishing and exhibitions teams.
It is signed by a number of now-famous alumni of the school, including architects Rem Koolhaas, Richard Rogers, Adam Caruso, Kazuyo Sejima, Phyllis Lambert and Toyo Ito. Kate Goodwin, the head of architecture at London's Royal Academy of Arts, and Architecture Foundation director Ellis Woodman are also among the signatories.
Redundancies could spell end of in-house journal AA Files
Six members of the school's publications department and two employees in its exhibitions team are among the 16 members of staff whose jobs are at stake, it was revealed by the Architects Journal earlier this month.
If the redundancies go ahead observers fear it could spell the end for the AA's publications and exhibitions programme – including in-house journal the AA Files. However, the school has denied these operations are under threat.
"We cannot believe that this decision could have been taken had the management of the school, and the members of council, been aware of the vital role that these activities play, not just in the culture of architecture in the UK and globally, but specifically in the reputation and viability of the school," reads the letter.
Architects warn of "irremediable damage" to school's reputation
Architects and writers including Owen Hatherley, Charles Holland and Phineas Harper had already spoken out about the damage the cuts could do to the school's identity and reputation.
The letter echoes their concerns.
"The notion that by 'lopping off' these activities the future of the school would be protected is thus fundamentally misconceived," it reads. "On the contrary: without them it is hard to see how, in the competitive international marketplace of architectural education, the school could survive."
"We call on you therefore, as president, to reverse this proposal before irremediable damage is inflicted on the association and the school."
Photograph is by Ronaldccwong.