Semester Programme Autumn Semester Programme 2018. Drawing by Zhenting Jiang.

Semester Programme

The Semester Programme is a full-time studio-based course open to undergraduate, graduate, architects and other creative individuals from around the world, who wish to further their knowledge, practice and skills in architecture. Held over 15 weeks, the programme is integrated into the AA’s undergraduate history and theory seminars and media studies courses, and is designed to allow transferable study credits. On finishing the course students will receive a Certificate of Completion from the AA School.

Based in Bloomsbury’s historic Bedford Square, the AA is an internationally renowned school of architecture, with full-time students enrolling from more than 60 countries each year.  The AA is the UK’s oldest school of architecture and for decades it has been recognised as an influential world leader in architectural education. AA graduates are the recipients of numerous prizes including Pritzker Prizes, RIBA Gold Medals & Stirling Awards, AIA and other design awards.

The Semester Programme is part of the AA Visiting School, which each year organises design workshops in more than 40 countries across five continents. The AA presents one of the world’s largest public programmes dedicated to contemporary architectural culture, encompassing lectures by visiting architects and artists as well as exhibitions and symposia. These events offer students the prospect of meeting the world’s leading architects and discovering more about their practice whilst also gaining an insight into the benefits of showcasing their own work.

London - Autumn Semester Programme
Athens. Polis
Monday 2 September – Friday 13 December 2019

The European Commission Awarded Athens the title of “European Capital of Innovation 2018”. Innovation is viewed as a tool to enhance and improve the resilience and sustainability of the Cities.

Almost a decade after the start of the financial crisis, Athens is going through a revival and has encouraged new ways to engage with the city and its community. In this process, the Municipality has the important role of supporting creative initiatives “inviting Athenian residents and professionals to co-create the city’s identity”. During the Autumn Semester 2019 we will explore opportunities within the historic district of the city and renovate or insert projects that complement the efforts for its regeneration.

“Polis” in the historic and cultural context of Athens has acquired a wider spectrum of meanings: city state, urban centre, body of citizens, community and the power of public space.

Political, cultural and economic patterns of the city influence its development and we ask: what would the architecture of today´s Polis look like? Old and new interact within a dynamic urbanity that requires to rethink itself to promote socio-economic sustainability. We will experience and explore the cultural dimension of the street life to inform the more pragmatic and quantitative readings and information that define the city´s new performance.

Through group work, we will explore the urban scale of the Athenian polis. Here, the city will be understood as layers of information, mapping conditions and qualities that will create unique design narratives. Each student will then individually orient their findings to discover opportunities for intervention. By analysing both tangible and intangible conditions, students will develop their own brief to target specific design challenges.

Design proposals will be multi-scalar in scope, enabling architectural propositions to respond to a larger narrative relating to the aesthetic, programmatic and socio-economic capacities of the city and its infrastructure. Students are invited to explore their own aesthetic style throughout an ongoing dialogue between two- and three-dimensional explorations that reveal unpredictable qualities to inspire their design narratives.   

Please refer to the Autumn Semester website for more details:

London - Spring Semester Programme
Utrecht. Connect
Monday 6 January – Friday 8 May 2020

Utrecht Central Station is the largest and busiest train station in the Netherlands. Stations are key infrastructural assets for cities. In recent year, city strategies to provide high speed connections that are more efficiency and allow for greater capacity of flow resulted in Station projects. Six central stations - Utrecht, The Hague, Rotterdam, Arnhem, Breda and Amsterdam South - are called the New Key Projects since 1997: the projects where not only focused on upgrading the train stations but also the surrounding urbanity around the station. This integrated approach to station and station environment reinforces the identity and vitality of the city as they become iconic and functional gateways.

During Spring Semester 2019 we will explore opportunities around Utrecht Central Station to promote and complement the station project with architectural intervention that enhance the city’s vision. The emerging projects will encourage a dialogue between the historical city and the station area.

Through group work students will look at the existing conditions of the site and its relation to the city. Here the city will be understood as layers of information that together reveal drawing and mapping qualities, which feed into the students’ own design narratives. By analysing both tangible and intangible conditions, each student will develop their own brief to target specific design challenges of inserting new developments within the existing urban fabric.

An ongoing dialogue between two- and three-dimensional representation will reveal unpredictable qualities to inspire their design narratives. Students are invited to explore their own aesthetic style.  Design proposals will be multi-scalar in scope, enabling architectural propositions to respond to a larger narrative relating to the aesthetic, programmatic and socio-economic capacities of the city and its infrastructure.

Please refer to the Spring Semester website for more details:


Programme Head
Naiara Vegara

Course Master 
Marie-Isabel de Monseignat Lavrov

Course Tutors
Katya Larina
Dimitris Gyftopoulos

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads

Semester Programme Structure

Semester Programme Booklet


Programme site

AA Semester Programme Regulations 2018-19

AA Visiting School (AAVS) Terms and Conditions


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 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.