The AE was founded in 2011 to generate a public discussion about architecture and the architect’s role in shaping the discipline. We have since gone on to explore a variety of topics in an attempt to make sense of the recent past and current preoccupations. Themes are advanced but not adhered to dogmatically. This website is a record of our activities.


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Samuel Penn
Penny Lewis
Neil Gillespie
Cameron McEwan
Rowan Mackinnon-Pryde
FROM THE ARCHIVE “Between the 1960s and ‘70s we did extensive surveys of towns in Ticino together with Vacchini and Carloni. We surveyed all of Bellinzona, all of it, all the levels of the houses, of every house, from the ground up to the roof. We were supposed to develop a masterplan and we felt that these surveys were important, or fundamental, in order to understand these towns. But actually we ended up doing the worst masterplan ever. So these survey drawings weren’t useful. Contrary to this I gave my students at the ETH various bits of Bellinzona to do proposals without showing them the surveys that we had done. They ended up doing much more interesting work.” Luigi Snozzi, 2013


Eight houses for the Isle of Harris
Outer Hebrides

Editor: Samuel Penn
Publisher: AE Foundation, Edinburgh, 2014

Pamphlets in folder: 225 pages
Language: English
Product dimensions: 15 x 21 x 2.2 cm
Limited Print: 500

ISBN: 978-0-9930804-0-1
RRP: £22


The catalogue includes nine booklets, an essay by Cameron McEwan and original designs by Angela Deuber, Pascal Flammer, Christ & Gantenbein Architects, Neil Gillespie (Reiach+Hall Architects), Johannes Norlander, Rolf Jenni and Tom Weiss (Raumbureau), and Raphael Zuber.

Since the end of the nineteenth century architects have been exploring and discussing how to build in the Scottish countryside. There is an on-going tension between the traditionalists and the innovators; it’s hard to strike the right balance between conserving the wild and unique quality of the Scottish landscape and recognising the changing needs and aspirations of an evolving society. The challenge is particularly poignant in the Highlands and Islands where the landscape is a very significant economic and cultural resource. Designers working today often avoid stirring up the debate about rural development in order to prevent delays in planning approval. The outcome of this pragmatic approach is that we design very mediocre buildings within this exceptional terrain. For architects practicing in Scotland the development of a language that is ‘of its time’ and ‘of its place’ is a reoccurring concern. To date discussions of design have focused on planning and environmental policy or on local materials and skills. The exploration of what architectural forms or language might be appropriate for today’s modern stand-alone house is rarely studied. This exhibition is the outcome of a longstanding discourse between a group of architects from Scotland and Switzerland. Following a series of events the AE Foundation invited seven talented architects to imagine new homes for real residents living on Harris. The speculative designs have been produced to provoke architects, the Hebridean people and the public to re-imagine how we might design modern homes for people living in these isolated environments.