Landscape Urbanism Liam Mouritz, Ting Fu Chang and Xiabin Hu, Littoral Negotiations - visualisation showing the shifting grounds of the fishery village and choreography of the geomorphological process in the Damieta Spit, Lake Manzala, Egypt

Directors Alfredo Ramirez, Eduardo Rico Design Tutor Clara Oloriz Sanjuan, Seminar Tutors Douglas Spencer, Tom Smith, Technical Tutors Giancarlo Torpiano, Gustavo Romanillos


12 months


16 months

Landscape Urbanism explores the emergence of ‘territory’ as a field of design praxis. Through this lens the programme environments not as discrete independent collections of objects, but as interconnected landscapes with both far-reaching implications on not only the environment - ie, climate change, energy debates and wide-spread pollution - but also on social and political spheres. The course combines material explorations of landscape evolution (facilitated by digital simulations) with the development of critical perspectives and studio work. It is aimed at professionals - architects, landscape architects, engineers, urban planners and geographers - who are engaged with territorial disciplines.


Landscape Urbanism Prospectus provides all the relevant information (research agenda, FAQ , Projects, an application procedures) you need to know before you apply to the programme:

Landscape Urbanism Prospectus

Spatial Design within a Territorial Praxis

The current production of treaties, networks, government plans and other local policies and agreements with the potential to shape specific geographies has come out of the high demand for synchronised responses and projects at the scale of territory. But given the potential impact on the spaces they address, these formal interventions are rarely seen as opportunities for researchled design projects. It is in this rift - between the utilitarian and the cultural practices of European policies - that Landscape Urbanism aims to locate a space for research, considering architecture and landscape design in relation to the problem of a territorial praxis. A sensitivity towards materials and an appreciation of scale, horizontal space and the processed-based approach of design can offer unique insights into the ways we read, define and manage territories.
The course is concerned with both the geomorphological formations of land and the actual cultural, political and economic forces that shape them socially. The primary outcome of these concerns is the production of a set of radical and experimental cartographies to serve as new forms of documenting the future of European environments. These cartographies are seen as projective machines with the capacity to unveil the glitches between conflicting systems - tectonic landscapes, political governance, land administration and their material and spatial organisation - and to put forward projects and design proposals, from the territorial to architectural, as future alternatives.

Course Methodology

Territorial Formations Terms, 1 and 2
During the first two terms Landscape Urbanism weaves together research into geomorphological processes, social structures and design intentions to explore the idea of a necessary synthesis - a utilitarian hybridisation that imagines new forms of territory where physical and social processes are transformed into new spatial conditions. These will draw upon the historically established capacity of landscapes to host and modulate the struggles between physical/ environmental and human forces within specific geographical/geological points in space and time.

Cartogenesis, Term 2
The assemblages of geomorphological processes and social formations will be retraced and redescribed in light of historical and contemporary forms of cartographic representation. This will serve as the basis for describing territorial space in architectural terms, and vice versa. This term's aim is to generate an atlas of similar and relevant territories across Europe, tracing the geographies of the pan-European problematic posed by the social and geomorphological formations outlined and researched by the student.

Tectonic Grounds / Territorial Documentation, Terms 3 and 4
The final section of the course will explore modes of documentation that extend beyond the idea of stability of masterplanning to operate projectively and subversively. Following the development of the atlas, students will produce a territorial manual describing the procedures and guidelines behind their projects in order to extrapolate principles to similar locations across European territories.

Course Components

Landscript, Workshop, Term 1
An introduction to software programming will enable students to script basic procedural modelling and understand how physical interactions of materials and processes produce recognisable morphologies. Using relevant software, such as GIS, Phyton, Rhino, as well as land form modelling students will exercise their capacity to introduce intention and design criteria into decisionmaking processes.

Landform Dynamics, Lecture Series, Term 1
Directly linked to the Landscript workshop, this series of lectures will address processes of territorial formation. The sessions will be presented by engineers and scientists currently researching the use of computational tools in the study of geomorphology.

Social Formations, Workshop, Term 2
This workshop explores processes of social formation. Students investigate how groups such as trade unions and guilds, have historically organised themselves into productive communities. These findings will then be diagrammed and applied to design projects.

Landscape Urbanism Core Seminar, Terms 1 and 2
In this seminar series questions of process, matter, becoming and objecthood are set alongside landscape and urban modelling, creating a platform for discussing design and territorial concerns in tandem with the work in the studio.

LU History and Theory Seminar Series: Models, Methods and Histories, Term 1
Designed to provide students with an understanding of the potentials and problematics of landscape urbanism, this series of lectures and seminars is concerned with how the intersections of landscape and urbanism have been thought, modelled, designed and analysed.

Cartogenesis Workshop, Term 2
The workshop will generate a series of cartographic representations of the projects with the aim of drafting a cartogenetic manifesto that declares their pan-European intentions.

LU History and Theory Seminar Series: The Rhetoric of Mapping, Term 2
This seminar explores the ways in which maps authorise and contest territorial claims, construct forms of knowledge, project certain scenarios and operations and reveal political, social, economic and cultural processes. The conception of cartography as a form of argumentation will support and inform design practice in the making of the manifesto and in the final thesis.

Machining Landscapes Seminar, Terms 2 and 3
The series introduces construction techniques related to the design of landscape projects that adopt a 'machinic' approach to technical practice. Over two terms the seminars explore a range of construction techniques in order to build up an understanding of the complex relations defining contemporary urban dynamics.


Alfredo Ramirez is an architect and director of Groundlab where he has won and developed several competitions, workshops, exhibitions and projects. He is Director of the AA Visiting School in Mexico City and has taught internationally on the topic of landscape urbanism and the work of Groundlab.

Eduardo Rico studied civil engineering in Spain and graduated from the AA’s Landscape Urbanism programme. He has been a consultant and researcher in the fields of infrastructure and landscape in Spain and the UK. Currently he works with the Arup engineering team and is also part of Relational Urbanism. He has taught at Harvard GSD and the Berlage Institute.

Clara Oloriz Sanjuan received her PhD from the ETSA Universidad de Navarra and the AA. She has worked for Foreign Office Architects, Cerouno, Plasma Studio and Groundlab. She teaches at the University of Navarra and is co-director of the AA Visiting School in Bilbao.

Douglas Spencer has studied design and architectural history, cultural studies, critical theory and has taught at a number of architectural schools. His research and writing have been published in journals including The Journal of Architecture, Radical Philosophy, AA Files and Culture Machine. He is currently researching for a book that formulates a Marxian critique of contemporary architecture and ‘control society’.

Tom Smith is a landscape architect and urban designer. He worked at EDAW AECOM on projects such as the masterplan for the Chelsea Flower Show and developments in rural communities in Portugal. He was instrumental in the design of the London 2012 Olympic and Legacy Masterplan and is currently focusing developing the practice of SpaceHub in London.

Giancarlo Torpiano completed his Bachelors in Architecture and Structural Engineering at the University of Malta and holds an MArch in Emergent Technologies and Design from the AA. His main interests are algorithmic design focused on emergent behaviours, natural structures, structural engineering and computational techniques. He has led workshops on digital architecture in Malta and at the AA.

Gustavo Romanillos is an architect and researcher interested in the spatial analysis of urban and territorial dynamics. He completed his degree in Architecture at the ETSAM, and a Masters in Geographic Information Technologies at the UCM. His research and teaching activities are being developed in different Spanish universities, Nicaragua and the UK.

Programme site

Projects Review 2017


Graduate Admissions Team AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4067 / 4007

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2016-17
Foundation Course Booklet

Graduate Prospectus


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