A Campus Emerges at Bedford Square: Enabling a Paradigm Shift

Founded in 1847, as a night school, the AA opened as a day school in 1901 and moved to Bedford Square in 1917. The school that originally occupied 34–35 Bedford Square now inhabits 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39 Bedford Square – the entire sweep captured in the image above, and 4 + 16 Morwell Street (behind Bedford Square) too.

The ten-building campus of 68,000 square feet means that for the first time in 50 years all students and staff are located at Bedford Square. In 2011, a masterplan was designed for the campus that could be achieved in phases, as and when funds are raised. The first major phase connected all the diploma units along one ‘street’ stretching from 33-39 Bedford Square at 3rd level, called Via Christina. The second phase commenced in 2017 with the construction in the Digital Prototyping Lab in the basements of 36-39 Bedford Square. Patterns of use and occupation established with the AA's original occupation on the Square, which created studios on the rear block of the properties, with more formal meeting, presentation and public programme spaces on the front side facing Bedford Square gardens are still working as a strong organisational feature of the AA.

Hooke Park, our 350-acre woodland in Dorset is the other very beautiful and significant part of our school. It is home to an experimental facility for developing new construction techniques using timber and comprises of residential buildings and workshops for full-time and visiting students.

Today the AA retains the many unusual, idiosyncratic qualities of the kinds of ‘found’ event spaces that generations of students and teachers have embraced as the essential character of our school. The stately Georgian rooms in Bedford Square appropriated and transformed in to L-shaped lecture halls, members’ rooms, a central bar and other shared social spaces, as well as characterful buildings, largely built by our students, and nested in the woods at Hooke Park, together represent a domestic, non-institutional architecture, unusual for any school, anywhere.


Architectural Association School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

+44 (0)20 7887 4000

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The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

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