The AA Undergraduate School is a RIBA/ARB-accredited five-year, full-time course of studies in architecture leading to the AA Intermediate Examination (RIBA/ARB Part 1) and AA Final Examination (RIBA/ARB Part 2). It comprises of First Year, Intermediate School (Second and Third Years) and Diploma School (Fourth and Fifth Years). In addition we offer a one year Foundation course for students contemplating a career in architecture. Students join the school in September and attend three terms of study concluding the following June. Entry into the school at any level can be from Foundation to Fourth Year, depending on experience.
The AA’s one-year, full-time Foundation is open to students who do not have an extensive visual or design background. Some students joining have already begun their studies in architecture, engineering or art, some are exploring a career change, while others come direct from school. In a group of approximately 20, students learn to think conceptually and creatively via the disciplines of art, film, architecture and craft in both group and individual projects. Ideas and designs are explored through the process of models, sketches, drawings, films and performance. While exploring individual design sensibilities and approaches, students have the opportunity to engage with the rich educational, cultural and social life of the AA and London.
First Year introduces students to architectural design, critical thinking and experimental ways of working. First Year comprises approximately 65 students working both individually and in groups in an open studio format under the guidance of five experienced and energetic design tutors. Students begin to form their own architectural identities and personalities through a diverse range of design ideas, agendas and interests. In addition to the studio, students take courses in history, theory, media and technology. Together these courses lead to a portfolio of the year’s work, the basis for entrance into the Intermediate School.
The Intermediate School gives Second and Third Year students the basis for development through experimentation within the structure of the unit-system. Each year the Intermediate School has a balance of units covering a diversity of questions and innovative approaches to material, craft and techniques of fabrication. Explorations of cultural and social issues are often set in inspiring places around the world. In parallel to the unit work, skills are developed through courses in history and theory, technical and media studies as well as professional practice.
The Diploma School offers opportunities for architectural experimention and consolidation. With a broad range of interests and teaching methods, the aim is to marry drawing and technical proficiency to complex intellectual agendas in an atmosphere of lively and informed debate. Students are in an environment that fosters the development of creative independence and intelligence. They learn to refine their research skills and develop proposals into high-level design portfolios at the end of the year. Here students begin to define their voices as designers and to articulate individual academic agendas that will carry them into their future professional careers.