Technical Studies Piece by Piece

Technical Studies

Javier Castañón, Kenneth Fraser, Francesco Anselmo, Laura de Azcárate, Carolina Bartram, Simon Beames, Giles Bruce, Chris Davies, Christina Doumpioti, Ian Duncombe, Wolfgang Frese, Evan Green, Evan Greenberg, Helen Groat, Pablo Gugel, David Illingworth, Robert Knight, Antiopi Koronaki, Alistair Lenczner, Cíaran Malik, Emanuele Marfisi, Nacho Marti, Federico Montella, Yassaman Mousavi, Ioannis Rizos, Camila Rock, Nina Tabink, Paul Thomas, Giancarlo Torpiano, Andrew Usher, Anna Wai, Manja Van de Worp, Lei Zheng, Mohsen Zikri

The Technical Studies (TS) programme stands as a complete and coherent technical education over five years and constructs a creative collaboration with the material demands of individual unit agendas. TS is founded on the provision of a substantial knowledge base developed through critical case studies of contemporary fabrication processes, constructed artefacts and buildings. These studies involve high levels of critical reflection and experimentation with taught ideas and techniques. The knowledge gleaned from such exercises generates a set of principles for negotiating the technical requirements of construction in unforeseen futures and unpredictable contexts. Courses are taken by tutors from leading architecture firms, engineering practices and research institutions and form a portion of each year's requirements, with a particular focus on First, Second and Fourth Years. Students are required to enrol in a selection of TS courses to ensure a complete and well-rounded experience of structures, materials and the environment.

In the Third Year, lecture coursework, workshop experiments and technical ambitions, all supported by Technical Studies tutors, are synthesised in a detailed Technical Design Project (TS3) - the result of the studentinitiated design research to explore and resolve the technical issues of their main unit portfolio project. Early and later options are offered to the units - TS3 Interim Juries take place in Week 6 of Term 2 with the Final Document Submission in Week 9 (early TS), or in Week 9 of Term 2 with the Final Document Submission in Week 1 of Term 3 (later TS). At the Interim Juries student make individual table-top presentations of their TS3 work and receive feedback from the TS tutors before submitting the Final Document for assessment on the assigned date.

In the Fifth Year, students undertake a Technical Design Thesis (TS5), a substantial individual work supervised by Technical Studies tutors. The thesis comprises a broader dialogue between the technical and architectural agendas of the student's unit and is developed through case studies, material experiments and extensive research and consultation. The Interim Juries and Final Document Submission arrangements are the same as described for TS3.

TS tutors aim to integrate the TS3 and TS5 work with the unit agendas as much as possible, developing wherever necessary the unit's technical brief and supporting it with additional specialised information - ie, seminars, lectures, visits, etc. Technical Design tutors offer each student the wherewithal to materialise the ideas, concepts and ambitions born in the intimacy of the unit. Technical Studies reinforces the plurality and variety of the units by adapting the requirements of TS3 and TS5 to the individual unit agenda.
The Prospectus contains a brief summary of the programme and courses offered. Full details can be found found in Complementary Studies Course Booklet, available at the beginning of the academic year.

First Year
Technical Synthesis - Introduction to Integrated Design
Compulsory Course, Term 1
Giles Bruce, Fedrico Montella, Ioannis Rizos, Laura de Arcárate (Environment)
Evan Greenberg, Nacho Marti (Materials)
Manja van de Worp, Lei Zheng, Cíaran Malik, Robert Knight (Structures)

This course introduces students to the three core TS branches (structures, environment and materials) and shows they are not separate realities but different lenses for looking at the built environment. By activating a series of structural, environmental and material manipulations of architectural models, students will analyse and evaluate outcomes in relation to other technical aspects. As a result of this iterative modelling, students will gain an understanding of the basic principles associated with structures, environment, materials and their relations while exploring how TS can inform the design process and how a model can form a testing ground. The course is supplemented by a series of lectures.

First Applications
Compulsory Course, Term 2
Giles Bruce, Paul Thomas, Laura de Arcárate (Environment)
Evan Greenberg, Nacho Marti, Camila Rock (Materials)
Manja van de Worp, Lei Zheng, Robert Knight (Structures)
This course offers a hands-on and experimental approach for a greater integration of Technical Studies with the First Year design portfolio. TS design tutors attend the First Year studio, joining First Year tutors and contributing to tutorials and consultations in the areas of structures, materials and environmental issues. The submission for the course will be made as part of the TS workshop during Week 11 of Term 2 and will be assessed by the TS tutors in the presence of the First Year studio tutors.

Intermediate School
The TS requirements for AA Intermediate and RIBA Part I require each student to undertake and pass: Structures, Material and Technologies and Environment & Energy I in the Second Year and the Structures course in Term 1 of the Third Year. In addition Third Year students must undertake a Technical Design Project (TS3) as part of their main project, synthesising their individual architectural ambitions with an account of the material production of the proposal.

Second Year
Structures - Typologies & Design
Compulsory Course, Term 2
Manja van de Worp, Cíaran Malik, Tim Marcot

This course forms the basis for understanding how the behaviour of a structural affects architectural design. Each structural typology's unique characteristics will be explored through weekly lectures and the application of research, analysis and testing. Teams will design, fabricate and test their own structure based on a specific typology addressed in class. Students will gain an understanding of why structures are the forms they are, how loads are transferred, which loads they are and how they can be applied to architectural design.

Material and Technologies
Compulsory Course, Terms 1 & 2
Carolina Bartram, Helen Groat

This course will conduct an investigation of a range of materials used in contemporary structures including concrete, timber, brick and blocks, glass, fabrics and composites. Material properties, methods of manufacture, durability, cost and appearance are significant factors that will be reviewed, leading to an understanding of how different materials can be used in a variety of applications.

Environment & Energy I
Compulsory Course, Terms 1 & 2
Giles Bruce with Evan Green, Federico Montella, Laura de Azcárate
This course aims to show how every decision architects make has an immediate and quantifiable impact in terms of the environment of the buildings we inhabit. The course is structured as part-lecture, part-workshop to equip students with the analogue and digital analytical techniques to inform fundamental design decisions. The submission for the course is a detailed study of environment/energy in each student's home, demonstrating the application of the analytical methodologies.

Third Year
Structures - Masterclass in Structural Behaviour
Compulsory Course, Term 1
Manja van de Worp, Giancarlo Torpiano, Anna Wai,
with materials and environment experts
This series of masterclasses builds upon the understanding of structural, environmental and material behaviour. Using a research-based approach, the course will explore the behaviour of particular structural, material and environmental combinations to gain a holistic understanding of the design and technical system. Researching each system's specific structural behaviour in combination with material and environmental parameters enables the capture and design of an integrated performance of a building. Students will model, simplify and extract the actual behaviour of the buildings, analysing how this relates to the large-scale performance, to ultimately develop alternative realities for the chosen building according to changed performance criteria.

TS3 Design Project (TS3)
Kenneth Fraser with Christina Doumpioti, Wolfgang Frese, Pablo Gugel, Nina
Tabink, Manja van de Worp, Antiopi Koronaki, Laura de Azcárate, Francesco
Anselmo, Alistair Lenczner
Third Year students undertake a comprehensive design study, exploring and resolving the central technical issues of their projects alongside individual unit agendas. The study records technical decisions made as the design develops, integrating knowledge of the environmental context, use of materials, structural forms and processes of assembly. Projects develop with support from unit tutors and Intermediate TS staff.

Diploma School
Fourth Year students undertake two courses in Term 2 from the selection on offer and may attend others according to their interests:

Piece by Piece, Simon Beames
Built architecture is an organisation of component elements. Each proposition offers the chance to design bespoke pieces that respond to particular functional requirements, manufacturing processes and assembly conditions. In addition to group work and critical analysis, the course will focus on technical innovation through an examination of "pieces" chosen as exemplary case studies. The work will centre on the construction of full-scale reverseengineered prototypes.

Sustainable Urban Design, Ian Duncombe
The course aims to impart the fundamental knowledge needed to design tall. We will consider tall buildings in an urban context, the strategic considerations defining form, the impact of climate, the environmental drivers affecting form and fabric, servicing strategies and various approaches to low-energy and sustainable design. Students will apply the course principles to the development of their own tall building concept.

The Third Skin, Wolfgang Frese
Beyond its functional aspects, the building skin has always carried an expression of meaning as the facade - a highly complex environmental machine communicating on multiple levels with inhabitants and the outside world. The course will explore this important element of architecture through case studies and expert views from the world of architecture and engineering.

Light and Lighting, Francesco Anselmo
The course explores the symbiotic relationship between architecture and light with the aim of helping students to develop a sensitivity to the qualities of light while also using physical and computational tools to explore and validate their design ideas. Lectures will alternate theoretical discussions on the science and design of light with experiments and individual or team exercises.

Studies in Advanced Structural Design, Emanuele Marfisi and Chris Davies
This course will build on knowledge developed during previous structures courses and apply it to real projects, class exercises and workshops. Students will be required to analyse an existing building to gain an understanding of its structural principles while developing alternative concepts of the existing structure. This is achieved through research and study of existing drawings and photographs; correctly interpreting the structural principles through sketching the structural behaviour of the building; and by developing alternative concepts or alterations of the existing structures.

(Un)usual Performances, Nacho Marti
This course challenges students to develop new approaches to materials in design where inventiveness is as important as fabrication, technology and material properties. Throughout the course students will design and test a new composite material and speculate on its potential architectural applications.

Bridging Technologies and New Design Methodologies, Manja van de Worp
This course explores different technologies, fabrication techniques, design methodologies and processes used within the fields of architecture, biology, aerodynamics, fashion and product design. Assignments will test the student's ability to scale, adapt and drive utopian ideas via new technologies and design methods from other fields.

Environmental Design of Buildings, Mohsen Zikri
The course examines the links between building form, energy and the micro/ macro environment and reviews the development of the building skin. Sustainability issues, passive energy and renewable energy sources will be explored through real projects that can generate energy solutions. We will consider the application of computer modelling tools in the design of buildings and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Students will undertake a project involving research on completed buildings in different climatic zones.

Environment & Energy II, Giles Bruce, Federico Montella, Evan Green and Iannis Rizos
Building on the hands-on approach of the Second Year Environmental Design in Practice course, this seven-week seminar provides students with a more in-depth understanding of environmental design and the analytical tools that can inform design decisions. We will focus on the interplay between thermal, luminous and acoustic environments within a number of building typologies. The submission for the course is a detailed study of environment/energy within a case study building.

Integrated Structural Design, David Illingworth
Why do some buildings give you everything you want but seem so effortless? The course looks at a technical approach of integrated problem-solving. It aims to build multi-layered solutions to complex briefs, focusing on the technical challenges and how this can interact with and drive the design. Students will be asked to interrogate previous solutions, then redeploy and modify materials and technologies to respond to a brief.

TS5 Design Thesis (TS5)
Javier Castañón with Evan Greenberg, David Illingworth, Antiopi Koronaki,
Nacho Martí, Federico Montella, Yassaman Mousavi, Andrew Usher and
Laura de Azcárate
The Technical Design Thesis is a substantial individual work developed under the guidance of Javier Castañón and the Diploma TS staff. Tutorial support and guidance is also provided within the unit. The central interests and concerns may emerge from current or past design work, or from one of the many lecture and seminar courses the student has attended in previous years. Its critical development is pursued through case studies, material experiments and extensive research and consultation.

Unit Staff

Javier Castañón has taught at the AA since 1978 and is in private practice as director of Castañón Associates (London) and Castañón Asociados (Madrid).

Kenneth Fraser has taught at the AA since 2007 and is a director of Kirkland Fraser Moor Architects. He was an advisor to the Department of the Environment Construction Research and Innovation Strategy Panel.

Francesco Anselmo holds a degree in architectural engineering and a PhD in environmental physics. He is a senior lighting and interaction designer at Arup.

Carolina Bartram holds degrees in engineering and architecture. She helps lead one of Arup's building engineering teams in London.

Simon Beames is an architect and director of Youmeheshe architects. He has worked for Foster + Partners and Grimshaw Architects, leading the design team for Battersea Power Station.

Giles Bruce studied architecture in University College Dublin Ireland, and subsequently received an MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design at the AA. He is currently director of A-ZERO architects.

Chris Davies is a structural engineer and associate at Engenuiti in London. He has worked with architects including Allies and Morrison, Foster + Partners and Aedas across education and commercial sectors.

Laura de Azcaráte is an acoustic designer and architect within the acoustics team in BDP's environmental design studio. Along with degrees in architecture and music, she holds an MSc in environmental and architectural acoustics from London South Bank University.

Christina Doumpioti is a member of the Ocean Design Research Network. She has worked as a computational designer at Arup Associates.

Ian Duncombe is a Director of BDSP Partnership, which he co-founded in 1995. The practice has worked on projects including the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi and 30 St Mary Axe. Current work includes Central Market in Abu Dhabi.

Wolfgang Frese studied architecture at the Arts Academy in Stuttgart and received a Masters from the Bartlett. He is a senior project architect at AHMM.

Evan Green is a Senior Acoustics Consultant at Sound Space Design. He holds Masters degrees in both acoustics, from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, and physics, from the University of Bath.

Evan Greenberg gained his MSc in Emergent Technologies and Design from the AA, where he is also a First Year TS Tutor.

Helen Groat trained as a general engineer at Cambridge University, specialising in structural engineering, and is now an associate at Arup within the buildings groups.

Pablo Gugel studied architecture at the ETSA of La Coruna and gained his MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design at the AA. He is an environmental analyst at BDSP Partnership.

David Illingworth is a chartered structural engineer working at Buro Happold. He studied civil and structural engineering at the University of Sheffield.

Robert Knight is an associate at Engenuit. He studied architectural engineering at the University of Leeds and Penn State University. His experience ranges from working with historic listed buildings to engineered timber structures to an island resort in the UAE.

Antiopi Koronaki holds a Masters in architecture and engineering from NTUA, Athens, and is currently pursuing her MSc in Emergent Technologies and Design at the AA.

Alistair Lenczner director at Expedition, is an experienced architectural and engineering designer. Past projects include Wembley Stadium and Millau Viaduct. He currently sits on on the HS2 Design Panel.

Cíaran Malik studied engineering at the University of Cambridge and trained as a teacher at the University of Buckingham. Currently a Structural Engineer at engineersHRW, his work includes water projects in Thailand and structural seismic resistance in Nepal.

Emanuele Marfisi is a structural engineer with ten years' experience in engineering design. After a number of years in London he is now Project Director for Setec Batiment in Paris.

Nacho Martí graduated from Elisava School of Design in Barcelona and the Emergent Technologies and Design MSc at the AA. He founded his design studio in 2004 and has directed the Mamori Art Lab design summer workshops.

Federico Montella received his MSc in Sustainable Environmental Design from the AA in 2006 and is currently senior sustainability advisor at HLM Architects.

Yassaman Mousavi has a BA from Azad Tehran University and a MArch from the AA's Emergent Technologies and Design programme. She has worked for Grimshaw Architects since 2012.

Camila Rock is a graduate of the University of Talca, Chile, and of the Emergent Technologies and Design MArch at the AA. She works at Grimshaw Architects London, focusing on material systems and the use of computational processes as an instrument for architectural design.

Ioannis Ruzos is a senior environmental design consultant at Atelier Ten. He has worked on numerous projects including the Olympic Velodrome in Queen Elizabeth Park, LSE's student centre in London and the Natural History Museum's grounds redevelopment programme.

Nina Tabink trained as an architect and structural engineer at the Technical University of Eindhoven and holds an MRes in the Built Environment from Cambridge. She is a senior structural engineer for Arup.

Paul Thomas is an external practitioner at Nottingham University, director at Thomas & Spiers architects and teaches environmental design at the AA.

Giancarlo Torpiano studied architecture and structural engineering at the University of Malta, before completing his MArch at the AA. He works as a structural engineer in a multidisciplinary team at Arup.

Andrew Usher is an associate principal at Grimshaw Architects where he has been responsible for major projects in the aviation, infrastructure, energy, commercial and education sectors. He studied at the Kent School of Architecture in Canterbury and the Bartlett, UCL.

Manja van de Worp trained as an architect and structural engineer at the Technical University of Eindhoven and Emtech at the AA School. She has worked for Arup in London and is now a principal at NOUS Engineering London. She also teaches at the IAAC in Barcelona.

Anna Wai studied civil and architectural engineering at the University of Bath. She has worked for Price and Myers in London, designing and modelling structures with a complex geometry, and has tutored at the London Metropolitan and University of East London.

Lei Zheng is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, and holds an MSc in Emergent Technologies and Design from the AA School. Her research focuses on the capability of new digital technologies to reinvestigate the relationship between architecture and engineering in buildings and urban scenarios

Mohsen Zikri is a director of Ove Arup & Partners and a chartered building services engineer specialising in the environmental design of buildings.


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