Eva Franch i Gilabert elected new chief of troubled school

Eva franchi gilabert

Eva Franch i Gilabert has been named the new director of the Architectural Association, subject to contractural negotiations.

The architect, curator and educator was elected by a majority vote of 67% in a ballot held among the “AA school community” - students, academic and admin staff and members of the ruling council.

She beat Robert Mull, head of school at Brighton university and former head of the Cass, and Pippo Ciorra, senior curator of MAXXI Architettura in Rome.

Observer architecture critic Rowan Moore tweeted: “Eva Franch is new AA director. Pretty amazing break with past habits,” and then: “I only hope Eva Franch gets some help with the politics of UK architectural education, plus the AA’s big heap of problems.”

Jeremy Till responded: “Yes. I feel for her on dealing with the external context, let alone the internal stuff. I’ll be offering help if she wants it.”


The AA has been at the centre of an international storm in recent weeks after the council and interim director Samantha Hardingham announced a round of redundancies which they said were necessary to get the organisation on a sound financial footing.

Critics, including Richard Rogers, David Adjaye and Rem Koolhaas, warned cuts to the AA’s cultural side would threaten the future of the whole institution.

Hardingham temporarily replaced Brett Steele in August 2017 when he left to take up a new post as head of the arts school at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Franch is currently a professor at The Cooper Union School of Architecture. Since 2010, Franch has been the chief curator and executive director of Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.

In 2014, Franch, with the project OfficeUS, an experimental office for the production of history, ideas and work, was selected by the US State Department to represent the United States at the XIV Venice Architecture Biennale.

AA statement

The AA Search Committee is delighted to announce the result of the ballot for the preferred candidate for new director.

The AA school community, comprised by students, academic and admin staff and members of council has elected Eva Franch i Gilabert the winner from a short-list of three candidates, by a majority vote of 67%, representing the highest majority received in a contested election since 1990.

A total of 876 members of the school community voted, giving an election turnout of 81.3%, one of the highest levels of participation in director elections over the last 30 years. Following this election result, the AA council will carry out final contractual negotiations and formally announce the appointment of the new AA director.