This is an archive page for Granada

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.



Monday 4 – Friday 15 September 2017

70% of our planet is covered in water, however the freshwater we use to drink, bathe in and irrigate our fertile soil, is incredibly rare. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water with two-thirds concealed in frozen glaciers and other immediately unavailable locations. 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, whilst existing water systems that keep our ecosystems thriving or feed our growing human population have become severely stressed, polluted or are disappearing. Climate change is altering weather patterns and water distribution, resulting in water shortages, droughts and floods worldwide.

Waterworks transports architectural design back to its origins, tackling social-agricultural realities by offering participants a unique opportunity to work alongside local producers, architects, scientists, horticulturists and the larger community. As a historical region in Andalusia, Las Alpujarras, Granada combines scenic beauty with ecological importance and resources that meet the requirements of an agricultural economy. This agenda raises awareness of the consequences that climate change presents to the local community and the repercussions which can be felt throughout Europe due to limited water and food resources. Our intention is to discover alternative and innovative methods of water retention, catchment and management architectures, for implementation by current and future generations at both local and regional scales. Students will be immersed into hands-on, site-specific experimentation, speculating on the individual inhabitant’s scenario and developing prototypes at 1:1 scale. True sustainable architecture is the basis for this programme, with the site being an off-grid family farm, run off solar, fed by a natural mountain spring, with a holistic view of production and consumption. Combining locally grown and cutting edge materials, we will explore an innovative mix of modern and traditional construction techniques, whilst discovering the potential of leading design software. You will work, live, swim, drink, question, explore and interact with this transparent fluid, vital to all forms of life, in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

Students will assemble amongst the unique mountainous terrain of southern Spain to inspire participants to experiment, design and speculate on a future vision of water conservation for a European nation. Within an intensively socialised environment and set behind an outstanding backdrop, we will embed ourselves deep in the high Alpujarranean ecosystems, studying sites between 1000-2000m in altitude. The initial exploratory days of research, presentations, analysis and data collection will offer participants the possibility to discover the astonishing mountain environment, leading to a series of live practical and digital demonstrations centred on sustainable materials and applications. Through continuous interaction with the local community to maintain a sympathetic and considerate understanding of their design proposals, students will be exposed to an intertwining thread of science, design and horticulture, to weave a rich tapestry of innovative concepts at the forefront of architecture.

- Lecture series featuring sustainability, history of the local area, permaculture, traditional building, scientific research of soil and water, the impact of climate changes and much more.
- Practical hands-on demonstrations to include the erection of a clay tile-vaulted structure by a famous master builder, traditional lime mixing and mortar techniques, canar & bamboo demonstrations, hemp aggregate and clay experimentations, adobe brick making, rammed earth wall techniques, plus a melding of old and new involving graphine explorations.
- Design tutorials including the sustainable design considerations, methods, applications and strategies.
- Computational skills (BIM Revit, 3D studio Max, Rhinoceros, Vray, Adobe suite).
- Prototype fabrications.
- Dialogue and presentations to the larger community.
- Analytical learning and theoretical understanding of agriculture, soil and water conservation.
- Photogrammetry using a drone will teach students cutting edge skills in surveying and mapping.

Educational Collaborators
University of Granada, School of Architecture, Spain
University of Malaga, School of Architecture, Spain


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, unless applying for student sponsorship.
3) There are a limited number of 50% reduced fee scholarships available for students. To find out more information on the application process please email:
The deadline for applications is: 1 September 2017
Deadline for scholarship applications is: 4 July 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.


The AA Granada Visiting School requires a fee of £945 per participant, which consists of;
- £635 - Course fee
- £60 - AA Visiting School Membership
- £250 - Accommodation and breakfast
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:
If you are local to the area and do not require accommodation, please e-mail:
If you are an existing AA member, please inform us through the application process and the £60 will be deducted from the total fee.


Fees include accommodation and breakfast.
The group will be staying in the picturesque whitewashed village of Pampaneira, which hugs the steep slopes and lush river gorge of the Poqueira Valley.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates, engineers, scientists and young professionals. No previous knowledge of software is required as this will be taught on the course.


Students should be aware that visas are required for Visiting Schools held both in the UK and abroad and it is the student's responsibility to investigate what is required via the relevant embassies in their country.


Cortijo Fuente Del Moral, Pampaneira, 18411, Granada, Spain


Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC

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Sarah Le Gresley (Director) RIBA AADipl
Founder of ‘Home Grown Design Studio’, a pioneering, sustainable, futurist organisation highlighting climate change through architectural intervention. Sarah is a diploma graduate from the Architectural Association who earlier received an Art Degree in London and has worked for multiple architecture firms internationally, on a variety of influential projects. Sarah performed the role of Design and Marketing Manager and vice-CEO at the Brick Development Association in London, with past experience including assistant tutor at the Architectural Association. Sarah is also currently a freelance BIM designer enabling UK manufacturers to produce innovative, data rich files.
Sarah is currently designing and building her own home embarking on a fully off-grid, sustainable lifestyle, aiming to transform 50 acres of mountainous terrain into a productive food forest and educational permaculture centre in the Alpujarras, Spain. She is the daughter of a Channel Island’s vegetable farmer who wants to challenge true sustainability principles in Architecture and promote the reality that is climate change through sensitive design principles.

To find out more about the Tutors please visit the following page on our Granada microsite:


Programme Head
Sarah Le Gresley

Assistant Tutors
Maximino Mateos
Aurelio Dorronsoro Diaz
Rafael Anderson
Sergio Cobos

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads

Programme site



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