At the core of the AA is our five-year ARB/RIBA-accredited Undergraduate School, leading to the AA Intermediate Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 1) and AA Final Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 2) and the awarding of the AA Diploma. The Undergraduate School also includes a one-year fulltime Foundation course for those contemplating studies in architecture or associated creative fields. The focus of our undergraduates’ academic lives is our famed ‘unit system’ of study, in which students pursue year-long design projects in intensive and agenda-driven design units while also attending complementary courses in History & Theory, Media and Technical Studies.

AA School

The Undergraduate School sits at the heart of the larger AA School, a community of 750 students and almost 250 teachers and staff. Two-thirds of AA students and teachers comprise the Undergraduate School. Every year nearly 85 per cent of our full-time students come to the AA from abroad, creating a setting for a global discussion, debate and exchange of architectural ideas that makes the school unique. Students in our Undergraduate School have the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with the students and teachers from other parts of our school – which includes the AA’s Graduate School, global Visiting School and Foundation course as well as visitors and participants in the AA’s Public Programme, the largest, year-long programme of public events dedicated to contemporary architectural culture, the arts and design.

First Year Studio

The First Year design studio brings together students who work both individually and in groups in an open shared studio space located in the heart of the main school. Through continuous interaction with experienced design tutors and collaborators who offer tutorials, seminars, workshops and presentations throughout the year, students can begin to develop their talents, strengths and modes of working to their highest potential.

AA Unit System

Student life in the Intermediate and Diploma Schools is organised around year-long design studios or ‘units’. This innovative approach to architectural teaching and learning emphasises the development of comprehensive design projects undertaken within the setting of a single unit selected by a student at the outset of the year.

The unit system first emerged at the school in the 1930s, during a period in which the AA played a vital role in introducing modern architecture to the UK. Alongside this innovative, project-directed form of teaching, the school implemented increasingly collaborative, experimental approaches to architectural education, refining a model of open, participatory study that has since gone on to greatly influence the teaching and learning of architecture across the world.

In 2016/17 there are 16 units that make up the Intermediate School, and 15 more units that form the Diploma School. Students work in close contact with unit masters and tutors who independently set each unit agenda, aims and objectives. Unit masters work at the AA School on a part-time basis while maintaining their own practice beyond the school.

AA Agendas and Projects

Today the AA Undergraduate School is a place of unparalleled diversity, exchange and experimentation. A growing range of alternative practices, projects and forms of critical engagement offer students an unrivalled setting for the formation of young careers, agendas and future ambitions. Students in the Undergraduate School are encouraged to pursue their own individual paths through the range of possible units and projects they are exposed to, defining for themselves the basis for their future architectural development, interests and goals. In 2016/17 unit briefs will embrace and challenge the idea of utopia; produce situational architecture; work within the margins of London to revitalise the overlooked; propose visionary architecture for Europe; address cities through the systems that either support or undermine them – from physical infrastructure, digital networks and healthcare; awaken the dormant potential in the gaps and slots that make up the urban fabric; generate architecture using time-based methodologies; redefine leisure; question processes of accumulation and regeneration; and rethink the museum’s role in an age when digital access is opening more doors.

AA Legacies

From Denise Scott Brown and Cedric Price in the 1950s; to Richard Rogers, Peter Cook and Elia Zenghelis in the 1960s; and Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and many others in the 1970s, AA graduates are responsible for many of the most important, iconic architectural projects and visions of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Today’s students work hard to live up to, and surpass, the legacy of open experimentation, critical enquiry and professional accomplishment of those who have come before them.
AA graduates and former teachers are also amongst the world’s leading architectural educators – serving as deans, directors, chairs and professors at architectural schools across the world. Many have taken lessons and ideas from their time at the AA back to other countries and distant settings.


The Undergraduate School actively seeks candidates who share our view that architecture is both a professional and cultural form of human activity, enquiry and knowledge. Applicants should demonstrate relevant prior experience, background, knowledge and skills, as well as a genuine willingness to want to work, learn and grow in a setting that demands constant levels of engagement, exchange and communication with the world’s most diverse, active and intelligent architectural community.

Intermediate Units

  • Intermediate 1

    Tools for Architecture: Visceral Interfaces
    Lara Lesmes, Fredrik Hellberg
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 2

    The Inside and the Outside (or as Freud asked: 'how would it be if these insane people were right?')
    Ana Araujo, Enrico Pinna, Patricia Mato-Mora
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 3

    Speculative Land Futures
    Ricardo de Ostos and Nannette Jackowski
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 4

    Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 5

    0° 00' 05.3101"
    Ryan Dillon
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 6

    Cities of Desire
    Jeroen van Ameijde, Brendon Carlin
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 7

    Material Life II: Transformative Envelope
    Marco Vanucci
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 8

    Politics of the Vertical Living: Reimagining the High-Rise Building in Bogotá
    Francisco González de Canales and Nuria Alvarez Lombardero
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 9

    Ants on a Shrimp
    Christopher Pierce, Christopher Matthews, Amandine Kastler
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 10

    Valentin Bontjes van Beek, Winston Hampel
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 11

    Total Immersion Tour Operator: Toxic Landscapes in Deep Andalusia
    Manuel Collado Arpia, Nacho Martín Asunción, Nerea Calvillo
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 12

    Happening Architecture 2016-17 Strategic Design for Future Building
    Tyen Masten and Inigo Minns
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 13

    Soomeen Hahm
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 14

    Cryptoarchitecture II: World Without Work
    Joseph Grima, Pernilla Ohrstedt
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 15

    The Athens Studio
    Xristina Argyros and Ryan Neiheiser
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 16

    Architecture as a Lever of Transformation
    Salwa Mikou and Selma Mikou
    Extended Brief (pdf)

Diploma Units

  • Diploma 1

    Miraj Ahmed and Martin Jameson
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 2

    From Material to Form: Questioning the Body
    Didier Faustino and Kostas Grigoriadis
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 4

    Architecture between Polity and Space - The Coast of Europe
    John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 5

    Every, but not Any
    Cristina Díaz Moreno, Efrén Ga Grinda, Benjamin Reynolds
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 7

    All Change - Secret Hospital #2
    Samantha Hardingham, John Walter
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 8

    Dis-Continuous Cities
    Maria Fedorchenko
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 9

    The Diamond Age: Narrative & Apparatus
    Natasha Sandmeier, Manolis Stavrakakis
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 10

    Turning Clockwise to Southwark
    Carlos Villanueva Brandt
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 11

    Assembling a Face Gathering Fragments: Interior Urbanism
    Shin Egashira
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 13

    Sick City Rehab: London City of Care
    Lily Jencks and Jessica Reynolds
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 14

    Barbarism Begins at Home: Territory and Primitive Accumulation
    Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Shéhérazade Giudici
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 15

    Museum Lab
    Giulia Foscari, Harikleia Karamali
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 16

    Regenerative Revolution III: Resilient Tectonics
    Jonas Lundberg, Andrew Yau, Duncan Berntsen, Kengo Skorick
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 17

    Spaces for Knowledge Exchange: New Worlds of Leisure
    Dora Sweijd and Theo Sarantoglou Lalis
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Diploma 18

    BE INDIGENOUS: An Offgrid Paradox
    Enric Ruiz-Geli and Simon Taylor
    Extended Brief (pdf)


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

T: 020 7887 4051 / 4094

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2016-17
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet

Language courses


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