Athens Athens: ZnF (Photo credits: Christos Thrasivoulou)

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Symmetry Sentience

Monday 12 – Thursday 22 June 2017

Our world has been enriched by numerous interactive means that connect us across the different continents. These amplifications take place through various media that in turn estrange people from their surroundings. Our built environment continues to evolve, into an interconnected hyperspace where architecture can be fluid, flexible and vivid. In 2017, AA Athens Visiting School, will address architectural themes involving active engagement and participatory design through prototypes that are characterized by action.

Action-designed structures enabled by technology today, begin to timidly move beyond the utopian proposals of the 20th century’s manifestos and hold a place in the world of realized designs. The AA Athens Visiting School incorporates in the design process, materials and scientific devices as vital parts of the end-creations. The research aims at bringing closer the user with the built environment via space animation and animate and in its’ methodology, it rethinks habits of designing, building and experiencing space through materiality. Here, ways of seeing become the starting point for developing a working interactive prototype. Theories of visual perception developed in 1920s like the Gestalt theory act as reference points informing the design proposals. In “SYMMETRY SENTIENCE”, materiality and form are considered as a “unified whole”. The programme will investigate how membranes can reshape our architectural understanding by bringing curvature and translucency. The design teams will focus on the flexible nature of tensile fabric that can be energized by motion and real-time reaction to various parameters. In this world of “living” structures and interactive formations, the design language includes Processing, Arduino, Rhino Modelling, and Grasshopper. The architecture programme, integrates manufacturing techniques that enable the design teams to actively experience the aspect of fabrication in 1:1 scale. A set of lectures and tutorials by experts from internationally renowned academics and practitioners, from the Architectural Association, Zaha Hadid Architects and others, form the theoretical background based on aspects of computational space, machinic control as well as responsive and kinetic design.
AA Athens Visiting School continues the research on interactive design via building novel experience prototypes. The final archetypes link with their computational design affiliates in the AA Istanbul Visiting School. End-results of one School act as design informants for the other and vice versa, exploring the field of parametric design coupled with fabrication. The design agendas of AA Athens and AA Istanbul Visiting Schools directly create feedback on one another, allowing participation in either one or both Programmes.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
• Participants become part of an active learning environment where the large tutor to student ratio (4:1) allows for personalized tutorials and debates.
• The toolset of AA Athens includes but is not limited to Processing and Grasshopper for Rhinoceros, as well as design analysis software.
• Participants gain hands-on experience on digital fabrication.
• Design seminars and lecture series support the key objectives of the programme, disseminating fundamental computational techniques, relevant critical thinking, theoretical understanding and professional awareness.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer.
2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. A CV or a portfolio is NOT required.
The deadline for applications is 11 June 2017. 
All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.


AKTO College – Athens Campus
11Α Evelpidon Street (Pedion Areos)
Athens, 113 62, Greece

AA Athens Visiting School runs in collaboration with AKTO College and the programme takes place in the campus situated in central Athens.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £600 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.
The AA Visiting School fee includes a £60 visiting membership fee. Should you wish to enhance your membership, a Subscribing Membership is available at an additional £70 (£130 in total), full details of which can be found at:
A limited amount of discounts are available if you are planning to apply as a group, or if you are applying for both the Athens and Istanbul VS. Please contact the VS Director Alexandros Kallegias on for more details.
Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design-related field students, PhD candidates and young professionals. The eligibility of applicants who do not have a design-related background will be assessed on an individual basis by the Programme Head/s.

Alexandros Kallegias is an architect teaching at the Architectural Association since 2011-current, University of Oxford Brookes(2016-current) and University of Liverpool (2013-2015). He is the Programme Head of AA Greece Visiting School, AA Athens Visiting School, and Co-Programme Head of AA Summer DLAB. He is a Senior Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects (2011-current), also acting as BIM Coordinator in different projects. He received his MArch degrees from University of Patras in 2000 (High Honors), and AA Design Research LAB (DRL) in 2011. He is a registered architect in the UK and Greece.

EK Magazine, ArchDaily, Archinect, Bustler, ArchiSearch, Yapi Mimarizm, GreekArchitects, ArchStudies, ARCH2O


Programme Head
Alexandros Kallegias

AKTO College Coordinator
Evangelos Kanellopoulos

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads

Programme site



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