São Paulo Esparama Theatre Group Stage Façade on the Minhocão

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Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.

São Paulo

High-Line São Paulo

Thursday 4 – Saturday 13 July 2019

The ‘High-Line São Paulo’ Visiting School will investigate ways that a misconceived elevated highway, in São Paulo, can be rejuvenated to benefit the local environment, its culture and people. Known as the ‘minhocão’ (large worm in Portuguese), the highway cut through the landscape in the 1960s and left derelict buildings and precarious ground that has never really recovered. However, when the highway is closed to traffic, in the evenings and at the weekends, it becomes a venue for an eclectic variety of local activities, from jogging and biking to surreal theatre pieces performed from the windows of neighbouring buildings. This year, the city announced that it will be permanently deactivating parts of the Minhocão to create an elevated park, the Parque Minhocão, inspired by the High Line Project in New York:


They have contracted the highly acclaimed urban designer and former mayor of Curitiba, Jaime Lerner to design the park, and part of his design include much needed shading structures that double as light filters over proposed apertures he wishes to create to illuminate the to the dark and damp underside of the highway. The AA Visiting School São Paulo 2019 will work on 1:1 prototype proposals for these shading structures using parametric weaving structures using bamboo and other locally sourced materials. We will work with a team of structural and environmental design experts from London and São Paulo, at the local university, Escola da Cidade, and learn about digital structural and environmental design and a variety of structural weaving fabrication techniques. The future of the area is a highly debated issue among politicians and urbanists. Through the ‘High-Line São Paulo’ Visiting School, we will contribute to its fascinating, ongoing narrative. 

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

  • Teaching team will be led by structural weaving designer Alison Grace Martin and parametric structural engineer James Solly, as well as Brazilian structural designer James Elkis along with other  local artisans, designers, and environmental experts. There will also be a team of local Computational Design and Digital Fabrication assistant tutors.
  • Facilities: the workshop will take place at University Architecture Studios and workshop at FAU USP, equipped with CNC router/miller and laser cutters.
  • Computational skills: students will learn to use Rhino and Grasshopper and specific structural and environmental design scripts using  Kangaroo Physics, K2Engineering, as well as  Ladybug, and Honeybee.
  • Fabrication: students will learn to prepare files to be cut and milled by the CNC router/miller, and laser cutters ,
  • A series of Public Lectures will be given in the evenings by prominent structural designers working with weaving structures. 


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  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 is  30 June 2019

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.


Escola da Cidade
Rua Gen. Jardim, 65 - Vila Buarque, São Paulo - SP, 01223-011


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting membership fee.

 Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. 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.


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, phd candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite.


Franklin Lee and Anne Save de Beaurecueil have been directors of the AA Visiting Schools São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro since 2010 and have run a series of workshops that bring leading architects from around the world to rethink the Brazilian urban landscape through combining cutting-edge technology and critical theoretical exploration with local culture, material and labor sources. They are also design directors of SUBdV Architecture, using a mixture of high and low design technologies to generate socially and environmentally responsive geometries for architecture, furniture and urban design projects. They were AA Diploma Unit 2 Masters from 2005 to 2010 and taught at the Pratt Institute and Columbia University in New York, from where they both also received Master’s degrees. They have published, exhibited and lectured about their work worldwide.


James Solly is one of the Directors at Format Engineers and a Teaching Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture. James worked at Ramboll UK and BuroHappold Engineering before taking a full-time academic role at the University of Stuttgart between 2015 and 2018. At the ITKE in Stuttgart, he was a member of the Innochain Network and his research focused on the development of design methods for FRP (glass and carbon fibre) lattice structures. In this role, he worked on both the Elytra Filament Pavilion and ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2016/2017 as well as smaller prototype carbon fibre structures. He returned to London and his current role in 2018.

Alison Grace Martin is an independent researcher studying natural structures and complex patterns in nature and applies her findings to design and construction concepts. She believes traditional fibre-work can be pushed beyond the norms in order to expose the relationship between complex surface visualizations and structural morphologies leading to innovative lightweight structures. She studied at Exeter College of Art and St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, graduating in Graphic Design in 1979. In 2015, she won the “Future Visions” contest organised by the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures, for an innovative pavilion design.

James Elkis is a Brazilian engineer and artisan who worked with civil construction. As an artisan, he builds decorative items with Bamboo. Now, he focuses on building structural parts of bicycles, tricycles and accessories detailed with marquetry. Sustainability has been a part of his work and the use of bamboo brings together the appeal and functionality of natural materials, approaching nature, people and urban areas.


Programme Heads
Anne Save de Beaurecueil
Franklin Lee

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


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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 Certificate), 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.