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Irrigation Nation Photograph taken on site at Fuente del Moral, Pampaneira, Spain

This is an archive page for Irrigation Nation

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.

Irrigation Nation

Las Alpujarras, Granada

Monday 3 – Friday 14 September 2018

Only 3% of the planet’s water is fresh, of which 60% is concealed in glaciers and unavailable locations. Studying biomimicry, work alongside nature, to draw and soak up the limits of architectural possibilities vs reality. Water cycles ensure our ecosystems thrive and feed our growing population, however they have become severely stressed, polluted or are disappearing. Consume principles of art, architecture, politics and science, to evolve a holistic and progressive approach to responsive water capture, storage and distribution architecture.

Live, swim, drink, question and interact with fresh spring water of the Sierra Nevada mountain range (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve). Join us for Irrigation Nation, a continuation of Waterworks, to peel back architecture from the root up. Plant, grow and build your proposal, unearthing living architecture techniques using sustainable materials.

Burrow under the surface of ecosystems and bio-cycles, observing and absorbing the natural world to inspire water catchment and management design.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

- Lecture series centered on sustainability, delving into the history of the local area, absorbing permaculture principles, learning traditional building techniques, scientific research of soil, water and ecologies, the impact of climate changes and much more.
- Practical hands-on demonstrations in sustainable building techniques and demonstrations leading to prototype fabrications.
- Computational 3d design skills including animation and rendering (using BIM Revit software, 3D studio Max, Rhinoceros, Vray, Adobe suite).
- Sketches, drawing, photography, installations, sketch models or conceptual model making which are then presented to the local community and University students.

- Analytical learning and theoretical understanding of agriculture, soil and water conservation.
- Other specialized skills will include learning Photogrammetry techniques using drones to teach students cutting edge techniques in surveying and mapping subterranean and terrain data of water and soil conditions.


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page. If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer. 

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered to the programme. A CV or a portfolio is not required, unless applying for student sponsorship.

3) There are a limited number of 50% reduced fee scholarships available for students. To find out more information on the application process please email:
Deadline for scholarship applications is: 15th July 2018

The deadline for applications is 20th August 2018

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


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £945 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee, £635 Course fee and £250 Accommodation and breakfast fee. Fees do not include flights, airport transfers or food (except breakfast). Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. 

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

All participants are reponsible for their own insurance including travel and health insurance. All participants also need to ensure that any equipment and valuable items such as laptops are covered by their own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen.

The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals including other occupations such as engineers, scientists and artists. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite is advised however no previous knowledge of software is required as this will be taught on the course.

Programme Head

Sarah Le Gresley RIBA AADipl

Founder of ‘Home Grown Design Studio’, a pioneering, sustainable, futurist organisation highlighting climate change through architectural intervention. Sarah is a diploma graduate from the Architectural Association who earlier received an Art Degree in London and has worked for multiple architecture firms internationally, on a variety of influential projects. Sarah performed the role of Design and Marketing Manager and vice-CEO at the Brick Development Association in London, with past experience including assistant tutor at the Architectural Association. Sarah is also currently a freelance BIM designer enabling UK manufacturers to produce innovative, data rich files.

Sarah is currently designing and building her own home embarking on a fully off-grid, sustainable lifestyle, aiming to transform 50 acres of mountainous terrain into a productive food forest and educational permaculture centre in the Alpujarras, Spain. She is the daughter of a Channel Island’s vegetable farmer who wants to challenge true sustainability principles in Architecture and promote the reality that is climate change through sensitive design principles.


Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC + Graphenstone


Sarah Le Gresley

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

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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.