At the core of the AA is our five-year ARB/RIBA-accredited Undergraduate School, leading to the AA Intermediate Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 1) and AA Final Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 2) and the awarding of the AA Diploma. The Undergraduate School also includes a one-year fulltime Foundation course for those contemplating studies in architecture or associated creative fields. The focus of our undergraduates’ academic lives is our famed ‘unit system’ of study, in which students pursue year-long design projects in intensive and agenda-driven design units while also attending complementary courses in History & Theory, Media and Technical Studies.

AA School

The Undergraduate School sits at the heart of the larger AA School, a community of 750 students and almost 250 teachers and staff. Two-thirds of AA students and teachers comprise the Undergraduate School. Every year nearly 85 per cent of our full-time students come to the AA from abroad, creating a setting for a global discussion, debate and exchange of architectural ideas that makes the school unique.

Students in our Undergraduate School have the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue with the students and teachers from other parts of our school – which includes the AA’s Graduate School, global Visiting School and Foundation course as well as visitors and participants in the AA’s Public Programme, a year-long programme of public events dedicated to contemporary architectural culture, the arts and design.

First Year Studio

The First Year design studio brings together students who work both individually and in groups in an open shared studio space located in the heart of the main school. Through continuous interaction with experienced design tutors and collaborators who offer tutorials, seminars, workshops and presentations throughout the year, students can begin to develop their talents, strengths and modes of working to their highest potential.

AA Unit System

Student life in the Intermediate and Diploma Schools is organised around year-long design studios or ‘units’. This innovative approach to architectural teaching and learning emphasises the development of comprehensive design projects undertaken within the setting of a single unit selected by a student at the outset of the year.

The unit system first emerged at the school in the 1930s, during a period in which the AA played a vital role in introducing modern architecture to the UK. Alongside this innovative, project-directed form of teaching, the school implemented increasingly collaborative, experimental approaches to architectural education, refining a model of open, participatory study that has since gone on to greatly influence the teaching and learning of architecture across the world.

In 2017/18 there are 16 units that make up the Intermediate School, and 15 more units that form the Diploma School. Students work in close contact with unit masters and tutors who independently set each unit agenda, aims and objectives. Unit masters work at the AA School on a part-time basis while maintaining their own practice beyond the school.

AA Agendas and Projects

Today the AA Undergraduate School is a place of unparalleled diversity, exchange and experimentation. A growing range of alternative practices, projects and forms of critical engagement offer students an unrivalled setting for the formation of young careers, agendas and future ambitions.

Students in the Undergraduate School are encouraged to pursue their own individual paths through the range of possible units and projects they are exposed to, defining for themselves the basis for their future architectural development, interests and goals. In 2017/18 unit briefs will explore the relationship between space and behaviour; design a museum to house an architectural archive; construct visionary architecture for the real world; engage with time-based constraints; collaborate with a three-Michelin star chef; define strategies to revive the architectural heritage of Tangiers; redefine an East London suburb through cinema; investigate possibilities for civic intervention from the London Borough of Lambeth to Athens; introduce sustainability into sprawling metropolises and reflect on our own urban condition; and design and build an installation for a contemporary art biennial.

AA Legacies

From Denise Scott Brown and Richard Rogers in the 1950s; to Peter Cook and Elia Zenghelis in the 1960s; and Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and many others in the 1970s, AA graduates are responsible for many of the most important, iconic architectural projects and visions of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Today’s students work hard to live up to, and surpass, the legacy of open experimentation, critical enquiry and professional accomplishment of those who have come before them.

AA graduates and former teachers are also amongst the world’s leading architectural educators – serving as deans, directors, chairs and professors at architectural schools across the world. Many have taken lessons and ideas from their time at the AA back to other countries and distant settings.


The Undergraduate School actively seeks candidates who share our view that architecture is both a professional and cultural form of human activity, enquiry and knowledge. Applicants should demonstrate relevant prior experience, background, knowledge and skills, as well as a genuine willingness to want to work, learn and grow in a setting that demands constant levels of engagement, exchange and communication with the world’s most diverse, active and intelligent architectural community.

Intermediate Units

  • Intermediate 1

    Tools for Architecture - Human Behaviour
    Lara Lesmes, Fredrik Hellberg
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 2

    Ana Araujo
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 3

    Self-Fulfilling Fictions
    Nannette Jackowski and Ricardo de Ostos
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 4

    Postvacancy: Sublime Disappearances & Savage Outbreaks
    Arantza Ozaeta Cortázar and Álvaro Martín Fidalgo
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 5

    0° 00' 05.3101" 0° 00' 00"
    Ryan Dillon, David Greene
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 6

    The Everyday Transfigured
    Jeroen van Ameijde, Brendon Carlin
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 7

    Material Life III - Tabula Automata
    Marco Vanucci, Anna Muzychak
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 8

    Politics of the Hyperwall: Snaky Lines of Densification in Mexico City
    Francisco González de Canales and Nuria Alvarez Lombardero
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 9

    A Wood Ant, a Five-Year-Old and a Waffle
    Christopher Pierce, Christopher Matthews, Amandine Kastler
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 10

    Valentin Bontjes van Beek, Winston Hampel
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 11

    Total Immersive Tour Operator 2017: Black Toxic
    Manuel Collado Arpia, Nacho Martín Asunción, Nerea Calvillo
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 12

    Isolated but Connected
    Taneli Mansikkamäki and Max Turnheim
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 13

    Computational Ornamentation
    Soomeen Hahm
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 14

    Radical Foundations in Bloomsbury
    Shaun Murray, Simon Withers
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 15

    The Athens Studio
    Xristina Argyros and Ryan Neiheiser
    Extended Brief (pdf)

  • Intermediate 16

    Archaeology of the Future: Exploring Tangiers
    Silvana Taher and Rodolfo Rodriquez
    Extended Brief (pdf)

Diploma Units


Undergraduate Admissions Team
AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4051 / 4094

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2017-18
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


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