Haiti Bamboo construction on the October 2016 course

This is an archive page for Haiti

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.


Bamboo, Design and Build

Wednesday 9 – Saturday 19 August 2017

In our fifth Haitian adventure, we will be working in groups to intensively learn a design methodology, software tools, and use this to propose an efficient, iconic bamboo structure. In the later 2/3 of the course, we will build one design as one group, and the construction will act as a catalyst for participants to learn about bamboo: joints; species selection; treatment; taxonomy; cutting; and propagation. Haiti’s lack of lightweight materials due to devastating deforestation, creates a problem only compounded by the hurricane and seismic threat. Nowhere in the world requires the integration of computational design tools, new construction methods, and lightweight materials more than this Island paradise and we are inviting you to join us and demonstrate the social, cultural, economic and ecological role of the architect, and take away compelling individual portfolios.

Our ongoing agenda is to change the current primitive stigma attached to bamboo as a material of choice for construction, making them aesthetically desirable, affordable and intuitive to work with. We will be teaching parametric software with climate and structural optimisation tools, underscoring this with an immersive series of discussions from prominent researchers, architects, and cultural figures.

With community participation, cultural lectures and visits to historic landmarks in Haiti, participants will have a rare opportunity to embrace many aspects of this Country, whilst simultaneously learning about bamboo, new design practices, new software, and construction skills.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
International and local professionals: The teaching staff consists of artisans, horticulturalists, engineers, architects and graduates of all levels of the AA School whom have worked for some of the largest and most articulate design practices in the world. Including Zaha Hadid Architects, Foster and Partners, MAD China, Farshid Moussavi Architecture and Gensler. This highly motivated group bring a comprehensive structural and material knowledge to the classroom and the building site. With a high tutor to student ratio throughout all stages of the course, students will have the opportunity to closely engage with the knowledge and passions of professionals from all over the world.

Software exposure: Throughout the course we will be teaching with Rhinoceros 3D, Grasshopper. We will be applying wind testing to these models through Autodesk Flow, finite element analysis through Karamba, and using V ray and Adobe Creative Suite to diagram, render and present your projects.

Bamboo building: We will have the chance to learn about bamboo, its treatments and structural capabilities. We will be shown the material selection process, treatment processes, joints, before all taking a role in the building of this pioneering project.

Variety of species: We will introduce students to a range of species growing in Haiti, including Guadua Angustifolia, Phyllostachys Aurea and Makinoi, and Bambusa Vulgaris and Lako. It is important for us to show the opportunity all bamboo gives us in construction.

Lecture series: To supplement the workshop, a wide array of architectural and cultural lectures will be delivered by local professionals and tutors. This aims to bolster the student work with an architectural knowledge of bamboo and the local vernacular, as well as the history of this uniquely vibrant location and culture.

Cultural events: Previous years have seen us conduct tours of the downtown of Port au Prince to look at vernacular gingerbread architecture, a trip to the metal working village of Croix des Bouquets, and a visit to the Oloffson Hotel in Port au Prince for a night of roots music and rhum punches. Though a release from the pressures of the studio environment, these are essential in getting a feel and understanding of the cultural context of this unique Caribbean Nation.

Community spirit: Accommodation will be provided as part of both courses. A group of local and international students, we will all be living and working in close proximity. As we have seen in previous years this fosters a community spirit and creates a very open learning atmosphere.

Replicable design: The legacy of the course is to offer designs and structural systems which can remain in Haiti long after. We will be visited by local craftsmen, artisans and carpenters, requiring students to play an integral role in the knowledge transfer to make sure these skills remain in Haiti for the long term.

RIBA CPD: The AA Haiti Visiting School curriculum is delivered in a way to make sure that: tutorials; tutor to participant contact time; lectures; physical construction; and group discussions will tackle RIBA CPD Core Curriculum topics and surpass the required contact time. For more information visit: https://haiti.aaschool.ac.uk/information-for-professionals/


1) You can make an application once the fees have been confirmed 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  visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk 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.

The deadline for applications will be: 8th August 2017.

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 £985 per participant, which includes self-catering accommodation and a £60 Visiting membership fee.  

For AA students the course fee is £320 and scholarship places are available.

Please e-mail haiti@aaschool.ac.uk for more information.

Fees do not include flights but self-catering accommodation. Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and model making tools. Please ensure this equipment is covered by your own insurance as the AA takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen at the workshop.

As a means of overcoming any political events in Haiti’s Northern neighbour, and as a means of upholding both the philosophy of the AA School and Haiti’s founding, we would like to offer support to any prospective participant, whom based on their country of birth finds they are now unable to seek a transit visa, and may be required to find alternative, more expensive means by which to bring their own unique character to the course in Haiti. If you this affects any participant, please email haiti@aaschool.ac.uk and we will see how we can assist with advice and financial support.

The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later), Grasshopper 3D, Lunch Box, and Karamba.

Programme Head
John Osmond Naylor

Course Tutors
Doria Reyes-Cordova
Aditya Aachi
Diego Perez Espitia
Rose Di Sarno
Nancy Leconte

John Naylor graduated from the AA in 2013, winning the Holloway and the Fosters Prize. He is interested in the socially and ecologically regenerative potential of architecture fusing cutting edge computational tools with the craft of bamboo construction. John has worked in London, Paris, Singapore and Beijing and has recently been working alongside Jörg Stamm in Indonesia and Mexico. He has taught at the Architectural Association (London); Tsinghua University (Beijing); the Leeds School of Architecture (UK); as well as being an invited speaker at the 3rd Mexican Bamboo Congress in Huatusco, Mexico.

Gardiner and Theobald, Foster and Partners, Gensler, Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve, FOKAL, UCLBP, Voyages Lumiere, Perez Reiter Architects, Cerveza Artesanal Bambusa, the World Bamboo Organisation, Industries Acra, and Karamba.


Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/aahaitivs

Instagram: @aahaitivs

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

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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.