Technical Studies

Technical Studies

Head of Technical Studies: Javier Castañón
Diploma Master: Javier Castañón
Intermediate Master: Kenneth Fraser
Department Staff: Francesco Anselmo, Laura de Azcárate, Carolina Bartram, Simon Beames, Giles Bruce, Chris Davies, Simon Dickens, Ian Duncombe, Wolfgang Frese, Evan Green, Pablo Gugel, David Illingworth, Alistair Lenczner, Ciaran Malik, Tim Marcot, Emanuele Marfisi, Nacho Marti, Federico Montella, Ioannis Rizos, Camila Rock, Nina Tabink, Giancarlo Torpiano, Anna Wai, Manja Van de Worp, Lei Zheng, Mohsen Zikri

The Technical Studies (TS) programme stands as a complete and coherent technical education over five years and constructs a creative collaboration with the material demands of individual unit agendas. TS is founded on the provision of a substantial knowledge base developed through critical case studies of contemporary fabrication processes, constructed artefacts and buildings. These studies involve high levels of critical reflection and experimentation with taught ideas and techniques. The knowledge gleaned from such exercises generates a set of principles for negotiating the technical requirements of construction in unforeseen futures and unpredictable contexts. Courses are taught by tutors from leading architecture firms, engineering practices and research institutions. Students are required to enrol in a selection of TS courses to ensure a complete and well-rounded experience of structures, materials and the environment, with a particular focus on coursework in First, Second and Fourth Years.

In the Third Year, lecture coursework, workshop experiments and technical ambitions, all supported by Technical Studies tutors, are synthesised in a detailed Technical Design Project (TS3) - the result of the studentinitiated design research to explore and resolve the technical issues of their main unit portfolio project. Early and later options are offered to the units - TS3 Interim Juries take place in Week 6 of Term 2 with the Final Document Submission in Week 9 (early TS), or in Week 9 of Term 2 with the Final Document Submission in Week 1 of Term 3 (later TS). At the Interim Juries student make individual table-top presentations of their TS3 work and receive feedback from the TS tutors before submitting the Final Document for assessment on the assigned date.

In the Fifth Year, students undertake a Technical Design Thesis (TS5), a substantial individual work supervised by Technical Studies tutors. The thesis comprises a broader dialogue between the technical and architectural agendas of the student's unit and is developed through case studies, material experiments and extensive research and consultation. The Interim Juries and Final Document Submission arrangements are the same as described for TS3.

TS tutors aim to integrate the TS3 and TS5 work with the unit agendas as much as possible, developing wherever necessary the unit's technical brief and supporting it with additional specialised information - ie, seminars, lectures, visits, etc. Technical Design tutors offer each student the wherewithal to materialise the ideas, concepts and ambitions born in the intimacy of the unit. Technical Studies reinforces the plurality and variety of the units by adapting the requirements of TS3 and TS5 to the individual unit agenda.

The Prospectus contains a brief summary of the programme and courses offered. Full details can be found found in Complementary Studies Course Booklet, available at the beginning of the academic year.

Unit Staff

Javier Castañón has taught at the AA since 1978 and is in private practice as director of Castañón Associates (London) and Castañón Asociados (Madrid).

Kenneth Fraser has taught at the AA since 2007 and is a director at Kirkland Fraser Moor Architects. Past projects include Rome Auditorium and Padre Pio Church.

Francesco Anselmo holds a degree in architectural engineering and a PhD in environmental physics. He is a senior lighting and interaction designer at Arup.

Laura de Azcaráte is an acoustic designer and architect within the acoustics team in BDP's environmental design studio. Along with degrees in architecture and music, she holds an MSc in environmental and architectural acoustics from London South Bank University.

Simon Beames is director of Youmeheshe architects. He has worked for Foster + Partners and Grimshaw Architects, leading the design team for Battersea Power Station. He has been a diploma unit master at the AA and University of East London schools of architecture.

Giles Bruce studied architecture in University College Dublin Ireland, and subsequently received an MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design at the AA. He is currently director of A-ZERO architects.

Chris Davies is a structural engineer and associate at Engenuiti in London. He has worked with architects including Allies and Morrison, Foster + Partners and Aedas across education and commercial sectors.

Simon Dickens is co-founder of Youmeheshe and has worked on projects including Bath Spa, the Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Plant and Headquarters, Lords Grandstand and the Britannia Airport proposal in the Thames Estuary. He leads Unit 10 at the the Bartlett, together with CJ Lim.

Ian Duncombe is a board director of the international engineering practice ChapmanBDSP. He has worked on environmentally engineered projects worldwide including Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi, Century Tower in Tokyo and Britam Tower in Nairobi. His UK work includes two winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize.

Wolfgang Frese studied architecture at the Arts Academy in Stuttgart and received a Masters from the Bartlett. He is a senior project architect at AHMM.

Evan Green is a Senior Acoustics Consultant at Sound Space Design. He holds Masters degrees in both acoustics, from the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, and physics, from the University of Bath.

Pablo Gugel studied architecture at the ETSA of La Coruna and gained his MArch in Sustainable Environmental Design at the AA. He is an environmental analyst at BDSP Partnership.

Alistair Lenczner, director at Expedition, is an experienced architectural and engineering designer. Past projects include Wembley Stadium and Millau Viaduct. He currently sits on on the HS2 Design Panel.

Tim Marcot graduated from the University of Sydney in 1998 and has worked at Price & Myers since 2003. He has taught courses in structures at London Met, University of Greenwich and University of East London.

Emanuele Marfisi is a structural engineer with ten years experience in engineering design. After a number of years in London he is now Project Director for Setec Batiment in Paris.

Nacho Martí graduated from Elisava School of Design in Barcelona and the Emergent Technologies and Design MSc at the AA. He founded his design studio in 2004 and is director of the AA Amazon Visiting School.

Federico Montella received his MSc in Sustainable Environmental Design from the AA in 2006 and is currently senior sustainability advisor at HLM Architects.

Camila Rock graduated from University of Talca (Chile) and the Emergent Technologies and Design March (Distinction) at the AA. She works at Grimshaw Architects London, focusing on material systems and the use of computational processes as an instrument for architectural design.

Ioannis Ruzos is a senior environmental design consultant at Atelier Ten. He has worked on numerous projects including the Olympic Velodrome in Queen Elizabeth Park, LSE's student centre in London and the Natural History Museum's grounds redevelopment programme.

Nina Tabink trained as an architect and structural engineer at the Technical University of Eindhoven and holds an MRes in the Built Environment from Cambridge. She is a senior structural engineer for Arup.

Giancarlo Torpiano studied architecture and structural engineering at the University of Malta, before completing his MArch at the AA. He works as a structural engineer in a multi-disciplinary team at Arup.

Manja van de Worp trained as an architect and structural engineer at the Technical University of Eindhoven and Emtech at the AA School. She has worked for Arup in London and is now a principal at NOUS Engineering London. She also teaches at the IAAC in Barcelona.

Anna Wai obtained a civil and architectural engineering degree at Bath University and is a structural engineer working at Price Myers. She has taught structures courses at London Met and University of East London.

Mohsen Zikri is a director of Ove Arup & Partners and a chartered building services engineer specialising in the environmental design of buildings.


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Links & Downloads

Projects Review 2017

More Information


Prospectus 2017-18
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


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