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El Alto Details of a bow-shaped chandelier: Typical contemporary Andean geometries within the “salon des eventos” of the cholet.

El Alto

Portable Cholets

Monday 20 July – Sunday 2 August 2020

The ‘Portable Cholets series’ Visiting School will intertwine film-making with Architecture, inspired by Freddy Mamani’s spectacularly vivid cholets (brightly coloured mansions). Immersed within the vibrant landscpe of El Alto, students will work on a performative piece of wearable architecture - to question notions of identity, folklore and contemporary rituals through spatial production.

In the streets of La Paz, the most ordinary routines are spontaneously transformed into unique spiritual happenings. Architecture offers a unique way to creatively explore these processes, becoming an effective framework to grasp this complex social reality.

We will analyse El Alto’s diverse range of visual languages, as well as religious and cultural references, to extract a peculiar screenplay, informed by precise design principles. In particular, we will look at symbolic proportions, envisioning a choreographic bridge between the human body and selected architectural components.

Ultimately, we will re-imagine the stunning buildings of Mamani as characters – portable cholets -  to construct a multi-layered performance that brings popular myths into dialogue with the urban fabric, understanding how architecture affects Bolivia's delicate political context.

We will collaborate with Freddy Mamani Silvestre, and the award winning film director Marcos Loayza.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

The students will be working in groups of 3 people max and, formed at the beginning of the workshop, always supported by 2 or 3 tutors. A studio space will be made available to work and meet all together on a daily basis. Then, the final performance will be produced and recorded collectively, as a film crew.

The course will start with a lectures series on the history of Bolivia with Freddy Mamani Silvestre – rituals and theoretical understanding.

- Visits of factories and artists studio
- Storyboard/Screenwriting with Marcos Loayza - generating a spatial narrative.
- Production of props/Fabrication of models with Freddy Mamani Silvestre – merging performance with architecture.
- Filming/post-production with Marcos Loayza -


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the right-hand column of this webpage. If you are not able to make an online application, please contact the Visiting School Office for instructions to pay by bank transfer or by telephone.

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered onto the programme. Please note that a deposit payment holds your place on the course but does not confirm it. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

3) 3) Full and partial scholarships are available for Bolivian and South American students. Please contact the El Alto Programme Heads for further information.

The deadline for applications is: 1 July 2020.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, PhD candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later)


El Alto, La Paz, Bolivia
Tiwanaku, Bolivia


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £860 per participant, which includes a £60 Digital Membership fee, payable by all participants. Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but a list of comfortable accommodation can be advised. Students need to bring their own digital camera/go pro/ and notebook.


All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After full payment of course fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.


All participants are responsible for securing their own travel and health insurance. Please ensure that your travel insurance also covers your personal belongings i.e. laptop, equipment, tools, passport etc. The AA takes no responsibility for lost/ stolen property.


Lemonot is a design and research platform co-founded by Sabrina Morreale and Lorenzo Perri, who graduated together from the Architectural Association in London in 2016. Their work investigates architectural production and its implications on other disciplines. They use Architecture as a methodology to reach different outcomes: from toys to pastry tools, from tattoos to story-telling. They have been teaching at the AA Summer School since 2016, at Cambridge University and at INDA International Program in Design and Architecture in Bangkok, Thailand.

Freddy Mamani Silvestre spent the last two decades developing a new typology in Architecture – "salon des eventos” or “cholets” for the highest city in the world. He has now completed more than 300 buildings in El Alto, a million-strong conurbation that sprawls across the 4,000-metre-high Altiplano above the capital of La Paz, and garnered global attention for his startling vision of Las Vegas in the Andes. He has been invited at the MET in New York and in Paris, exhibiting at the Fondation Cartier. He has been collaborating with the AAVS since 2017


Bolivian Embassy
Anglo Bolivian Society
Fundacion BCB


Programme Heads
Sabrina Morreale
Lorenzo Perri

Programme Tutor
Freddy Mamani Silvestre

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

T +44 20 7887 4014
F +44 20 7414 0782

Links & Downloads


Publicity card

Programme site

Social Media


Visiting School Prospectus


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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.