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.


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






Simos Yannas, Dr

Co-Director, MSc / MArch Sustainable Environmental Design, AA Graduate School Transitional PhD Advisor, PhD Programm...

Research Interest: The balance between Performance and Atmosphere as measure of adaptive architecturing. Application of simulation tools in architectural design research. Environmental performance as...

Andrew Wai Tat Yau, Mr

Unit Master, Experimental Unit 17, AA Undergraduate School

Research Interest: Andrew is an Architectural Environmentalist who believes in building as the primary medium for architecture and the actionable possibility to construct a better ecological future. ...

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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 Certificate), 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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