Las Pozas The Las Pozas Gardens

Las Pozas

Montem - Towers of an Era

Wednesday 14 August – Sunday 1 September 2019

In its fifth instance and after a year pause, the Las Pozas Visiting School will be studying and designing columns this year. We will be studying modern precedents of abstract architecture and produce a series of concrete pieces and interventions in the Mexican jungle as in the past years. The workshop will be based in Edward James’ surrealist garden in Las Pozas and will start by exploring the formwork techniques developed by him and his workers on the site before pursuing our own techniques, which we have developed over the last three years.

The Visiting School starts by looking at the vast legacy of Mexican modernism while also drawing on references ranging from Japan to Europe, relevant examples of experimental architecture and sculpture, with a particular focus on concrete experimentation. Departing from a study of the intricate wooden formworks, we will develop casting methods by rescaling as well as defragmenting and collaging the formworks and casts, while experimenting with a variety of aggregates and incorporating new techniques.

On the grounds of minimalist sculpture, primitive monumentalism and geometric abstractionism, we will this year work on materiality and columns as well a land art proposals, with potential sites around Mexico and other countries such as potential development of this workshop in Japan in 2020. There a similar approach revisiting traditional craftsmanship and abstract modernist interpretations of art and architecture will be studied in order to develop a contemporary language that bridges geographical divides between different cultures and approaches. We end with an exhibition in Mexico City and always have had an experimental film maker documenting our process directed at a range of international showcases.

Prominent Features of the workshop / skills developed

The workshop will take place inside the Surrealist Garden of Las Pozas in the Mexican Jungle where we will also stay in the gardens in constructions that were initially built for the builders who built Las Pozas. We will use Edward James’ Carpenter’s Workshop in the garden to develop models and our first abstract studies as well as bringing contemporary tools and form finding techniques in this initial stage.

In a second stage an open workshop will be set up in La Era site in the jungle to perform our concrete experimentations, which we have refined over the years and allows the full production of any kind of pieces we require. This will allow us to be in direct contact with the materials, aggregates, textures and casting techniques that will inform the direction of our concrete intervention.

As an overall, this workshop focuses on abstract form finding through the relation of the positive and negative, mould and form, in both in its practical aspects and consequences, however revisiting very specific topics and briefs often derived from the arts, however reinterpreted through the contemporary lens of the AA.


1) Before submitting your online application you should contact AAVS Las Pozas at with a personal statement of interest and some work samples or images. We are intererested in people from different creative backgrounds and we had a variety of sculptors, architects and designers and students or professionals from other fields join us throughout the years.

2) After a place in the workshop has been confirmed by AAVS Las Pozas Programme Heads you can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the AA Visiting School page or by following the links below.  If you are not able to make an online application, email for instructions to pay by bank transfer.

3) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered onto the programme.

Deadline for application will be 30 June 2019, however, we do suggest applying early as places for the workshop are limited to 12 participants and may fill up before this date.

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. 


Las Pozas Garden, Xilitla, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £1350 per participant, which includes a £60 visiting membership fee. For details of Visiting Member benefits please click here.  If you are already a member, the total fee will be reduced automatically by £60 by the online payment system.

Fees include:

Accomodation, transport around Mexico and the City tours, workshop setup and tools, materials, accommodation, concrete transport and labourers in the gardens helping to support our effort. Food and Drinks are not included as well entry tickets to the museums.

Flights to Mexico City are not included. 

Students need to bring their own laptops, digital equipment and basic sketching 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.


The workshop is open to a participants from a range of backgrounds, including current architecture and art students, phd candidates and young professionals.  Places are limited, and offered at the discretion of the Las Pozas Programme Heads.  Please contact for further information.


Las Pozas Sponsors


Programme Heads
Umberto Bellardi Ricci
Carlos Matos

Programme Tutors
Kanto Iwamura
Lucas Cantu

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads


Programme site

Social Media


Visiting School Prospectus


The Architectural Association, Inc. is a Registered Charity Incorporated as a Company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No.171402. Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

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