Shanghai Summer School High resolution modeling at the of an urban megablock in Shanghai; Gilles Retsin (tutor), AAVS Shanghai 2015

Shanghai Summer School


Friday 15 – Saturday 23 July 2016

In an era of unprecedented city building, the 10th consecutive AA Shanghai Summer School will focus on issues related to urbanization in China. In the past year, China’s central government has announced both the Southern China Metropolis (pop. 45 million), and Jing-Jin-Ji Supercity (pop. 130 million). Shanghai serves as the programme’s laboratory for the study of the complexities of the contemporary city within this context of massive urbanisation. Given the pervasive legacy of assembly-based repetitive production paradigms, and the monotonous, generic effects of standardization on cities, we will address the question of what makes a city unique. In response, we will delve into design methods by which to shape specific urban characteristics and identities. AAVS Shanghai has persistently championed computational approaches applied to the problematic of the twenty-first century city. As an intensive nine-day studio-based course, clusters of tutors and students will engage experimentally with advanced computational design, to investigate a toolbox with which to confront the prevalence of generic urbanism. Students will apply code-based and time-based modelling, generative techniques to model growth and change, and physics-based simula¬tion, towards multiple, variable and recursive urban and architectural systems.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

The course will be taught by a team of tutors from the AA School and other visitors, whose expert computational skills and experience in teach, research and practice. The programme is structured in two subsequent phases. Over the first three days of the workshop, computational design systems will be introduced in a series of intensive ‘tooling-up’ sessions as the basis for investigating associative design concepts and methodologies. In a second stage of the workshop, students will develop design proposals responding to studio briefs focusing on developing highly specific prototypical models of urbanism.

The aim of the initial design exercises and the second design application stage is to introduce expertise in generative, algorithmic and parametric design approaches to adaptive urbanism. The main computational tools are Rhinoceros and a series of plug-ins and add-ons, Maya, Processing, and others. Students will gain expertise in cutting edge tools, as a basis to applied these emerging technologies towards innovative ontologies of cities in the twenty-first century.

Alongside studio-based design tutorials and seminars, a series of lectures will be scheduled on a nightly basis. Each year of the programme, AAVS Shanghai hosts a public symposium, with a large group of invited guest speakers and panelists, addressing contempo¬rary topics related to the theme of the workshop, SpecifiCities.  To mark the 10th anniversary of AAVS Shanghai, the director and teaching team will curate an exhibition of past student of AAVS Shanghai, and the work of the AAVS SH director, tutors and visitors to the programme.


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 eg: 10 July 2016.

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 Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.
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 students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Rhino (SR7 or later), Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, Processing.

Programme Director
Tom Verebes is the Creative Director of OCEAN CN, based in Hong Kong. Former Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) (2011-2014) and currently Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. Former co-Director Design Research Lab, at the AA, where he had taught from 1996 to 2009, and former Guest Professor at Akademie der Buildenden Künste ABK Stuttgart (2004-2006).  Verebes has published over 140 books, chapters, articles and project features; has exhibited in over 50 venues worldwide, and has lectured extensively in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Middle East.


Programme Director
Tom Verebes

Visiting School Director

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads

ff.0 Online application

To receive a pdf application form if you do not wish to submit the online application and payment, please e-mail

Programme site



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Visiting School Prospectus