DSA director, Yasmin Shariff, initiated a highly influential and successful multi-faceted project to mark one hundred years of the Architectural Association in Bedford Square. This initiative involved thousands of people including students, alumni and design professions from the AA, Britain and internationally. Its main catalyst was to mark the centenary of women in the school (1917-2017) with a multi-media project linking a major exhibition, lectures, website, international conference and publications, including a collection of historical and critical writing about AA women.
Over three years, culminating in 2017, this multi-media project held events which represented the work of AA women, its graduates and teachers, who are among the most important architects and designers, educators and historians of the 20th and 21st century, some celebrated, others unrecognised. The project infiltrated every department of the AA encouraging the digital library, library, archive and year heads to put on events and get involved. Wiki experts held workshops to train students how to upload information on women designers.
AAXX renewed interest in the life and work of many significant women architects including Elisabeth Scott, Zaha Hadid, Mary Crowley, Patty Hopkins, Judith Ledeboer, Justin Blanco White, Norah Aiton, Betty Scott and Julia Barfield. Their work and lives have transformed the architectural landscape, yet these women remain, for the most part, out of mainstream design history, education and research.
Designed for a charity, this further education centre was to be housed in a converted new build in a residential neighbourhood. The training was aimed at developing skills in young adults, particularly women, after they have completed their formal education.
With her experience in designing schools for 21st century learning and teaching, DSA director, Yasmin Shariff, transformed the traditional design proposals into a more open and innovative environment, which included a café, to encourage greater neighbourhood involvement and informal learning. She also proposed a collaboration with the city authorities to expand the project into the adjacent large open space which would house an edible and botanic garden, open air theatre and places to reflect and interact.
Working with an environmental charity that nurtures the environment and the human spirit, DSA director, Yasmin Shariff, helped build two dams in the Sinai desert to provide water for fruit gardens.
Building on ancient knowledge, the project aims to help local people revive historic fruit gardens originally established by monks at St Catherine’s Monastery. Work on site involved the hard graft of carrying large rocks and cement to build a three meter high structure to slow down the flow of water and feed the wells and reservoirs
Concern over the poor status and pay of women in design professions led DSA’s director, Yasmin Shariff, to participate in a number of projects designed to provide peer support, collect data, undertake research, and generally raise the profile of women architects. A recent event was a talk at the Design Museum on the Sri Lankan architect, Minnette de Silva.