From the “Well-Laid Table” to the “Market Place:” The Architectural Association Unit System



As chairman of the Architectural Association (AA) in London from 1971 to 1990, Alvin Boyarsky presided over a seminal moment in the history of the school. Launching a critical departure from the AA’s postwar modernist professional training, during the early 1970s Boyarsky developed the “unit system” as the foundation of the school’s educational program. A framework of vertical studio teaching, the unit system invited tutors to seize pedagogy as a medium for architectural experiment and critical inquiry.