Doctoral studies at the AA combine advanced research with a broader educational agenda, preparing graduates for practice in global academic and professional environments. Current PhD topics encompass architectural theory and history, architectural urbanism, advanced architectural design, the city, emergent technologies and sustainable environmental design in architecture. Doctoral candidates may follow the traditional route of a scholarly, text-based written dissertation. Alternatively, a studio-based option of a PhD in architectural design is offered to graduates who wish to engage with design as a research tool of the doctoral thesis.
PhD studies at the AA are full-time for their entire duration. This starts with a preparatory period during which candidates attend selected courses and seminars while developing their research proposals. Approval of proposals initiates the formal period of PhD study, which has a maximum duration of four years. Currently, about 30 PhD students from more than 20 countries are enrolled in the programme. Each PhD candidate is guided by two supervisors, one of whom is designated Director of Studies. Architectural history and theory topics are directed by Mark Cousins and Marina Lathouri. Research on urban and housing issues addressing policy, strategic thinking and spatial design is supported by Lawrence Barth, Jorge Fiori and Hugo Hinsley. Research in emergent technologies in architectural design, including active material systems and urban metabolic design is directed by George Jeronimidis and Michael Weinstock. Architectural research in sustainable environmental design is directed by Simos Yannas and Paula Cadima. ‘City-Architecture’, a new research strand launched in 2014-15, is directed by Pier Vittorio Aureli and organised around a collaborative seminar and collective design agenda.
Applications are welcome from graduates in architecture and related disciplines. Prospective applicants should hold a Masters degree or equivalent in areas related to the programme’s research topics. Details of all current and recent research topics and bios of PhD candidates and supervisors can be viewed online at phd.aachool.ac.uk. Enquiries should be addressed to the AA Admissions Office or the Chair of the PhD Committee who can then advise on matters of research and supervision. Prospective applicants should be prepared to come to the School for an interview. Tuition fee bursaries are offered to highly qualified applicants, and travel bursaries are available to registered PhD students presenting work at external events.
During their studies at the AA, PhD students are expected to produce work worthy of scholarly publication, including conference papers and journal articles. Opportunities for teaching at the AA School are available during the second and third years of PhD studies.
Forthcoming events involving PhD staff and students include the 31st International PLEA Conference ‘Architecture in (R)Evolution’ to be held in Bologna in September 2015. Research seminars in Terms 1 and 2 will be directed by Pier Vittorio Aureli, Mark Cousins and Marina Lathouri. Research symposia in Terms 2 and 3 will present the work of new, continuing and completing PhD candidates.
Doctoral candidates registered with another institution but wishing to undertake a period of research at the AA must follow the procedure described for applicants in this Prospectus and online. The maximum period of study as a visiting doctoral student is one academic year, for which the AA’s tuition fees will apply pro-rata. Applications by scholars with post-doctoral or equivalent qualifications wishing to do research related to any of the AA’s postgraduate programmes are considered subject to their relevance to the AA’s current research interests. Tuition fees may apply.
Simos Yannas left architectural practice to focus on environmental design research and its application to buildings and cities. He has initiated and leads the SED programme at the AA and has taught and lectured in some 30 countries.His latest publications are on adaptive architecturing, on refurbishing the city and on learning from vernacular architecture. His earlier book Roof Cooling Techniques was shortlisted for the RIBA Book Award for Architecture.
Pier Vittorio Aureli is an architect and educator. His research and projects focus on the relationship between architectural form, political theory and urban history. He is Davenport Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture at Yale University and is the author of many essays including ‘The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture’ (2011) and ‘The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Architecture’ (2008). Aureli is cofounder of Dogma and co-directs Diploma 14 at the AA.