Research at the AA Planetary Architecture II Exhibition Opening, 1983. Photo by Valerie Bennett

Research at the Architectural Association


Research at the AA arises from our abiding engagement with the cultural and scientific discourses of architecture across the world, and is guided by the belief that Architecture is the most complex human endeavour, a manifestation of collective values and individual expression. We are committed to seeking and creating new knowledge that contributes to the quality of life of people, to the construction and materialisation of the prototypes of the future, and to the enrichment of all.

The AA produces independent research through a series of initiatives within the nine Taught Postgraduate Programmes, the PHD Programme and the AA Residence.


AA Residence


The AA Residence is a cultural platform to research and develop new ideas and forms of practice at the intersection of architecture, art, technology, policy and design. Composed of a series of independent research groups that aim to produce and promote experimental work, each Lab includes an interdisciplinary cohort of fellows including architects, artists, policy makers, engineers, scientists and creative entrepreneurs. The AA Residence also works as an incubator with a shared workspace and professional development programme, giving architects and entrepreneurs the tools they need to build new practices and launch cultural projects that influence and contribute to the reimagination of the future.

For more information about the AA Residence or to support current and future Labs, please contact us at communications@aaschool.ac.uk

AA Ground Lab

Directed by Jose Alfredo Ramirez and Clara Oloriz

Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity, and to address it requires a radical transformation of the design profession that focuses on a transdisciplinary approach. AA Ground Lab is a research design initiative that aims to investigate ways in which this transformation can take place by engaging with a diverse range of projects, scales and stakeholders in the Global South. Through collaborations with the Inter-American Development Bank, Latin American governments and research councils in the UK, Ground Lab is developing visualisation strategies, mappings and spatial understandings of socio-ecological systems. These will lead to proposal strategies that aim to achieve Latin American NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions), gradually reduce carbon emissions and decarbonise under social justice principles through design. AA Ground Lab visualises and politicises invisible global networks and the spatial impact of policy making, alongside the design of ground techniques that imagine alternatives to standard design practices.

Team: Jose Alfredo Ramirez, Clara Oloriz, Felipe Vera (IADB), Veronica Adler (IADB)
Research Fellows: Daniel Kiss, Rotem Lewisohn, Iulia Stefan
Collaborators: Yasmina Yehia, Elena Suastegui, Rafael Martinez
The Ground Lab is commissioned and funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.

AA Wood Lab

Directed by Zachary Mollica

Given imminent environmental concerns, trees are the source of an essential building material for the future. The AA Wood Lab will advance the role of our woodland campus in Hooke Park, Dorset, to educate architects in the sustainable use of forest produce to both build projects and drive new forms of research. Working with leading thinkers and practitioners, and collaborating closely with scientists, the Lab will develop a research programme beyond conventional architectural thinking. Integrating the latest science, design and fabrication technologies alongside traditional material knowledge, the Lab’s problem-solving approach will derive building strategies directly from wood’s inherent properties.

If you are interested in being part of the AA Wood Lab, it is currently taking applications for its inaugural Research Fellow positions. Visit https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/APPLY/JOBS/ to find out more and apply.

The Wood Lab has been made possible thanks to the generous support of John Makepeace – who as director of the Parnham Trust (1982–2001) founded the Hooke Park campus.


Research Themes


Urban and Landscape Ecologies

Research proceeds from a fundamental understanding that the dynamics of climate and ecological changes perturbed and accelerated by human activities, and from a shared concern for the consequences of those changes to society and the natural world. In this area of research, the production of artefacts and sustainable systems are developed through iterative computational processes of serial experimentation and analysis, generative propositions and simulations.

Cultural and Critical Histories

Humanities research at the AA focuses on the interpretation and creation of texts, analysis of precedent, manifestoes, and the exploration of architectural theory as a basis for design analysis and speculation. Current projects staff are engaged with include the politics of space, formal evolution of cities, creation of new media and interdisciplinary performance, and futurology. Extensive use is made of the AA Archives, Photography Collection and Library.

Computation, Prototyping and Robotics

Exploring the widest possible range of design tools, the AA interrogates how manufacturing technologies, virtual reality and 1:1 modelling can be used against the grain, hybridised and reinvented. Research venues include the Digital Prototyping Lab, the Design Research Lab, facilities at our Hooke Park campus. Each Unit and Graduate Programme, as well as Technical and Media Studies, forms a part of this research culture linking to industry leaders and research bodies worldwide.

Radical Pedagogical Agendas

The education of architects has been an abiding research project at the AA since its founding. Globally recognised contributions to pedagogical structures and teaching methods -- including the Unit system, Visiting School, and full academic integration of Public Programmes -- form a legacy that the School builds upon, questions and reinvents. An experimental laboratory of learning, the AA continues to develop and test new educational models; documenting and disseminating its findings in wide-ranging conferences, symposia and events.

Territorial Investigations

Year to year, the AA examines a specific territory as a vehicle to create new ideas, designs, discourses, exhibitions and performances. In 2019-2020, Antarctica will become the focus of a dedicated research led by the AA Polar Lab. Read more about the programme



Research Fellowships


The inaugural AA Research Publications Fellows will be Sue Barr and Clara Olóriz Sanjuán. Read more.


Research Profiles






Evangelia Magnisali, Miss

Course Tutor, DRL, AA Graduate School

Research Interest: Robotic fabrication, automated construction, digital fabrication, topology optimisation, advanced composites, data-driven design, design for manufacturing and assembly

Antoni Malinowski, Mr

Consultant - Colour

Research Interest: as Above I am an artist working closely with architects My main interest is the relationship of colour and space and the relationship between the pictorial and the architectura...

Roberta Marcaccio, Miss

Course Teaching Assistant - Third Year, History and Theory, AA Undergraduate School

Research Interest: Modes of practice, Postwar architecture, mobility, infrastructure, public space.

Ignacio Marti, Mr

Course Tutor - First Year and Diploma TS5, Environmental & Technical Studies, AA Undergraduate School Studio Master, F...

Research Interest: His areas of interest are material systems; material performance; digital design techniques; digital and advanced fabrication; digital and material testing and simulation; responsi...

Patricia Mato Mora, Miss

Course Tutor - First Year, Diplomas TS2 & TS3 - Term 1 & 2

Research Interest: Fabrication, ceramics, materials.

Mark Morris, Dr

Head of Teaching and Learning

Research Interest: My research interests include: 1. Questions of architectural representation, specifically the role of the scale model in architectural education and exhibitions. The history of...

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THE AA RECEIVES THE POWER TO AWARD ITS OWN DEGREES

The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.

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