Las Pozas The Las Pozas Gardens

Las Pozas

Montem - Towers of an Era

Wednesday 7 – Sunday 25 August 2019

The ‘Montem – Towers of an Era’ Visiting School will explore the vast legacy of Mexican modernism in order to produce a series of innovative concrete columns and artefacts, inspired by the work of surrealist architect Edward James. This Visiting School will be based in James’ sculpture garden in Las Polzas, in the heart of the Mexican jungle. Here, we will explore the pioneering formwork techniques that James and his team developed, as well our own approaches.  We will also draw on other references from locations around the world, including Japan and Europe, in order to study the wider abstract architecture movement, as well as primitive monumentalism. Experimenting with concrete will be a particular focus and we will develop different casting methods and techniques to do this, looking at rescaling, defragmenting and collaging. Alongside our investigation into columns, we will also develop proposals for land art for potential sites around Mexico and other countries. We will end the Visiting School with an exhibition in Mexico to showcase our work. We also hope to enlist the support of an experimental filmmaker, who will document our progress and bring it to an international audience.

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 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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