The AA is the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK only because it always, fearlessly and critically, looks into the future. More than a school, throughout its history the AA has been the referent – when not the origin – for the production of new and relevant forms of inquiry, discourse, and radical practice in architecture schools, cultural institutions, and offices worldwide.

The challenges that we all face today as citizens and as architects, are growing in scale and complexity. While some architectural questions span hundreds of years, the emergence of new technologies and changing power structures, combined with growing conflicts and the ethical imperatives of our contemporaneity, make architecture today a radically new, exciting, and challenging discipline.

This upcoming year at the AA presents us with a series of pedagogical agendas and cultural programmes that articulate what architecture can contribute to the world we live in. The AA’s vast pedagogical landscape includes a five-year Undergraduate programme, nine Postgraduate programmes, a PhD programme, a series of Special Courses and Part-Time Studies, which consists of the Foundation Course, Professional Practice Part 3, the Summer School, and more than 50 worldwide courses as part of the Visiting School. The wide scope of research and work at the AA facilitates different topics and agendas to be developed independently and in parallel to one another. In tandem with the School courses, our Public Programme empowers students and academic staff to develop research and work that resonates with and redefines the most pressing issues within our society via exhibitions, symposia, and publications.

In the first term, we present a series of public lectures throughout the week following the themes of Positions, Directions and Analysis. Hosted by alumni, members, and academic staff, these lectures aim to address issues of urgency and articulate new vectors of desire by pointing towards new spaces of action. In the second term we start a new series, New Canonical Histories, as a way to question and broaden the spaces of reference within our discipline. To learn more about the breadth of our Public Programme and what’s happening throughout the year at the AA, we invite you to check the Public Programme’s extended section within this prospectus and the online Events list on a weekly basis, as our events are sometimes produced as rapid responses to the state of affairs around the world or inside the school.

At the AA we share the drive to learn from, speculate with, and to redefine the world around us. We are here to further our research agendas, to meet our antagonists and allies, and to define common ground in our projects; to assist one another in our quest towards knowledge; to contribute to the architecture community; to experiment, but ultimately to serve and to challenge a society that wants, needs, and desires better ways of living together.

While one could point to the AA Bar, the Library, the AA Bookstore, the Archives, our publications, the Digital Lab, the Dorset campus, the unit system, the international body of students and academic staff, and the domestic scale of the school’s home – in the centre of London – as some of its most distinctive and significant elements, the essence of the AA is an idea: an idea that defines democracy as a relentless design process; independence as an indefatigable journey in the quest for alternatives; and excellence as a project to be constantly redefined, constructed, and produced.

In our Undergraduate School, we are pleased to announce the launch of several new units and the appointment of new teachers at every level of the five year ARB/RIBA accredited AA Diploma Course. This year, in the Intermediate and Diploma School we offer 33 unit studios, each one of them with an average size of 12 students, mostly led by two or more teachers for a student-teacher ratio no other school matches. From issues of housing to fashion, politics to ethics, sustainability to representation, business models to play, and from codes to chaos, each and every one of the briefs of this academic year attempts to open architecture to historical and contemporary paradigm shifts from which we can learn today, and invites us to produce new ones. New academic staff and unit collaborators include Virgil Abloh, Aristide Antonas, Assemble (Amica Dall, Anthony Meacock and Giles Smith), Joost Beunderman, Pablo Bronstein, Matilde Cassani, Aude-Line Duliere, Forensic Architecture (Christina Varvia and Eyal Weizman), Dan Hill, Indy Johar, Hamed Khosravi, MAIO (Guillermo López), LAN (Umberto Napolitano), Rotor (Lionel Devlieger and Maarten Gielen), Jack Self, Oana Stănescu, Lucy Styles, Elia Zenghelis, amongst many other visiting critics. Complementary Studies also hosts new seminars by Andrea Bagnato, Joaquim Moreno, and Ines Weizman, among others.

Our Graduate School is a hotbed for experimentation and advanced architectural studies. The PhD programme is organising a series of symposiums and debates, including Table of Contents, which discusses issues of research and methodology, and Domestic Frontiers, organised by our PhD by Design programme, the City as Project, led by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Shéhérazade Giudici.

This upcoming year we inaugurate a series of initiatives with the aim to produce transversal conversations throughout the school, offering multiple spaces for focused collective debate. Tools and Agendas commences in the first year, Open Seminars emerges from the Diploma School, and the Positions series bridges postgraduate programmes, alumni and external experts together. These three initiatives will bring important issues to the forefront of the school’s collective agenda and contribute to the development of its pedagogical project.

To prospective students, we hope you decide to bring your energy and vision into our school. To new students, I welcome you as we embark in our first year together at the AA, where we have everything to learn, and everything to give. To returning students, thank you for your work and leadership in making the AA a vibrant and powerful referent. To AA Members and Alumni, we look forward to celebrating with you at our annual Summer Party on 22 June 2019.

Eva Franch i Gilabert


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

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