Alvaro Velasco Perez, PhD

Unit Master, Diploma 13
Diploma Course Tutor - Term 1, History and Theory

Professional qualifications


Research Interest

My research deals with modes of life that modernity defined itself in opposition to and, at the same time, develops projects to incorporate. This investigation evolves in two complementary fields of research: one historical and theoretical; the other design-based. The history and theory research developed in my PhD dissertation at the Architectural Association. Its main focus was the modern European fascination with the North African desert. Investigating a series of journeys by architects between 1848 and 1953, it unfolded how their quest in the desert had as its vanishing point the dream of finding a city-other-to-the-modern-metropolis. It deconstructed the desert imaginaries of architects that, in their attempts to escape the contemporary metropolis, the landscape played a key role in negotiating dichotomies of interior/exterior, modern/primitive, within/without, – indeed, so much so, that the thesis argues for the paradoxical relevance of the desert as locus for understanding key aspects of modernity. The thesis focused on European desert adventures in colonial contexts. Now, extending it, I develop the investigation into post-colonial conditions. This supposes a challenge to my own point of departure. It is a time when the differences between the two terms of the dichotomies listed above become unstable. There’s no fixed opposition between self and the other, but rather the relation is characterised by negotiation. And it is precisely finding positions within that complexity that makes it an urgent project for today.


Alvaro is an architect and PhD by the Architectural Association where he previously studied a masters in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture. He has collaborated in teaching positions at the AA, UHerts, AA Summer School, Leeds Beckett and the University of Navarra, as well as participated in crits throughout the schools. His work has been presented in educational institutions in London, Paris, Berlin, Seville, Lagos and Algiers.


Forthcoming, Velasco Perez, Alvaro, An Unashamed Phaethon, VLC arquitectura


2019, Anton Sancho, Javier & Velasco Perez, Alvaro, ‘On Monumentality’ at the Acropolis Museum, Athens (GR), The (New) Monument

2018, Jimenez Caballero, Inmaculada & Velasco Perez, Alvaro, World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies, Seville (ES), The Algerian Sphinx. Le Corbusier and the North African Riddle

2017, Velasco Perez, Alvaro, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Symposium, London (UK), ‘The Quest for Atlantis and other vernacular myths. Reyner Banham’s understanding of history through the vernacular’


2017, Eftaxiopoulos, Georgios & Velasco Perez, Alvaro, University of Navarra (ES), Towards Ithaca. An Architecture of Exile

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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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.