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Architectural Association fired Eva Franch i Gilabert for her "specific failures of performance"

United Kingdom Architecture News - Jul 13, 2020 - 22:42   4283 views

Architectural Association fired Eva Franch i Gilabert for her

The Architectural Association has fired Eva Franch i Gilabert two weeks after the news arised that saying 80 per cent of "school community" didn't support Gilabert's 2020-25 strategic plan for the AA, which resulted in loss of votes to move her leadership forward.

The AA has shared an update about the progress and it said the Institution has officially terminated Gilabert's employment contract. 

"It is with regret that AA Council has terminated the employment contract of its Director, Eva Franch i Gilabert," said a statement by the AA.

"At the heart of the decision is the failure to develop and implement a strategy and maintain the confidence of the AA School Community which were specific failures of performance against clear objectives outlined in the original contract of employment."

AA claims that Gilabert's "specific failures of performance" led to this decision

"At the heart of the decision is the failure to develop and implement a strategy and maintain the confidence of the AA School Community which were specific failures of performance against clear objectives outlined in the original contract of employment," said a statement by the AA.

"Following the meeting and vote of the School Community on June 29, Council undertook a series of meetings and consultations with Ms Franch i Gilabert to give her the opportunity to outline her plans to rectify these issues."

"Unfortunately, the discussions did not provide Council with the confidence that she could fulfil her role as School Director of the AA, one of the leading architecture schools in the world."

Gilabert was the first woman selected as Director of the AA School in the school’s 173-year history

Eva Franch i Gilabert was selected as the new Director of the AA in 2018 from a shortlist of 3 candidates by receiving majority of votes (67%) in the balloting porches. Gilabert undertook her role from former Director Brett Steele and interim Director Samantha Hardingham, after long public calls started in November 2017.

Franch is the first woman to be selected as Director of the AA School in the school’s 173-year history. 

"Council recognises how difficult this period has been for many people within the AA School Community and thanks them for their heartfelt and thoughtful feedback," reads a statement by the AA.

"Council will now work closely with the senior management team, staff and students to manage the school in the short term and to clarify the role of the School Director going forward before a new search process begins," it said.

On June 30, an open letter to the Architectural Association in support of Director Eva Franch have signed by many academics and architects to support the Spanish architect and they described the situation as a "profound unease".

"The AA has long suffered from systemic problems at the level of managerial transparency..."

Another letter, written by the AA tutors Ricardo Ruivo, HTS course tutor and Will Orr, HTS course tutor, underlines the full picture of a leadership crisis at the AA over the last few years based on "systemic problems". 

"The AA has long suffered from systemic problems at the level of managerial transparency, inclusion of diverse voices, and extreme exploitation of labour," they said in a letter. 

"In this, it is an ordinary architecture school." 

"That these issues are causing a break now and not earlier reflects the radicalisation of some of these problems over the last few years-a tendency that is longer than the current director’s leadership, but which she has nevertheless worsened rather than improved."

WAC recently published Eva Franch i Gilabert's keynote from the WAF 2019. In a 1-hour video, Franch discusses the norms and assets of the AA School and explains how the AA pushes the boundaries of becoming an architect with shifted paradigms on a global scale. 

Watch Eva Franch i Gilabert's WAF 2019 keynote here

Top image © Eva Franch by Stefan Ruiz

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