Projective Cities Leonhard Clemens, Exit Parliament: The Hotel as a Political Institution, 2016

Director Sam Jacoby, Staff Mark Campbell, Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, Platon Issaias

The two-year MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) seeks brilliant thinkers, gifted designers and critical writers with an interest in the future of our cities and new research careers. Offering candidates the opportunity to pursue original research and design across architecture, urban design and territorial planning, the programme prepares students for longer-term investigations supported by a rigorous methodological framework and individual supervision. Although conceived as a stand-alone degree, many graduates of Projective Cities choose to pursue advanced PhD studies, as well as teaching and research-based practices. Projective Cities advances design research both as an intellectual problem - exploring the relationship between theory and design for a changing disciplinary knowledge production - and as a practical problem - how design research can affect practice in new ways. Within these closely related investigations, equal weight is given to written and designed research.

The ambitions of the programme are framed by the propositions that the urban and its cultural, socio-political, environmental and economic contexts are defined by design operatives at different scales; and that architectural and urban plans are collective outcomes of these contexts. Architecture and urbanism are seen as symbiotic modes of enquiry driven by relevance and agency within a field which is defined in terms of a series of distinct diagrams that are always socio-political and spatial.

The taught first year introduces students to research methods, academic writing, advanced analytical techniques and computation as they prepare for their independent dissertation projects. This is developed in the following year through design research, speculative proposals and critical writing, with the dissertation accounting for two-thirds of the programme.


Sam Jacoby holds an AA Diploma and a PhD from TU Berlin in architectural history and theory. He has worked in the UK, Germany, the US and Malaysia and has taught since 2002 at the AA, as well as at the University of Nottingham, the Bartlett, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart and Royal College of Art. He has directed Projective Cities since 2009.

Maria Shéhérazade Giudici holds a PhD from TU Delft and is founder of the publishing and educational platform Black Square and coordinator of the history and theory course at the School of Architecture at the RCA. Before joining the AA, she taught at the Berlage Institute and BIArch Barcelona and worked on large-scale urban plans with offices BAU Bucharest, Donis Rotterdam and Dogma Brussels.

Mark Campbell directs the MPhil in Media Practices at the AA School. Currently a visiting professor of architecture at Southeast University, Nanjing, he has taught at the Cooper Union, Princeton and Auckland University. Previously managing editor of Grey Room and the Cooper Union Archive, he is the author of Paradise Lost.

Platon Issaias studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece, and holds an MSc from Columbia University and a PhD from TU Delft. He is a visiting lecturer at the RCA and has taught at the Berlage Institute and in the MArch Urban Design programme at the Bartlett.

Programme site

Projects Review 2017


Graduate Admissions Team AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
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T: 020 7887 4067 / 4007

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2016-17
Foundation Course Booklet

Graduate Prospectus


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