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The Laboratory: Grounded

Friday 18 – Saturday 26 September 2020

‘The most powerful tool in economics is not money, nor even algebra. It is a pencil. Because with a pencil you can redraw the world.’ Kate Raworth, Economist and Senior Visiting Research Associate Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University.

Welcome to a world where human interaction is reduced to the minimum or shifted into the digital realm, where distance is treasured and proximity feared, where travel becomes unimaginable as borders are resurrected and trains, planes and other forms of public transport cease to exist. Here, we are confronted not only with new limitations but also new perceptions of our environments. Time and territory have changed. After years of intense connectivity and hyper mobility are we have finally been grounded.

A UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of 2018 made clear that we were a little over a decade away from catastrophic levels of climate change. At the time most of us couldn’t contemplate a world no longer reliant on mass consumption, international trade or global travel. But, already, perhaps some of us can.

The first step in making an idea a reality is imagining it. Based on a concept by advocacy initiative GraphicDesign&, this year’s AA Visiting School Stuttgart, titled ‘Grounded’ will explore the longer term spatial, territorial, economic and atmospheric implications of the unprecedented events of 2020 through the making of a book. With a team of interdisciplinary experts lead by graphic designer and activist Lucienne Roberts we will try to predict/depict our shared (near) future and speculate on our new role within it.

Prominent Features of the Workshop/ Skills Developed

  • Understanding of current developments, socially, culturally, spatially and technologically and their possible impact onto our shared future
  • Understanding of the limits and possibilities of architecture in this context
  • Awareness of the culture and politics of images and text
  • Introduction to graphic design and illustration as a tool for powerful communication
  • Introduction to creative writing and narrative building
  • Introduction to research methods
  • Working and communicating with experts from other fields
  • Guest lecturers and critics from different disciplinary fields
  • Programme of site visits
  • Inclusion of work in the forthcoming GraphicDesign& book


1) You can make an application by completing the online application found under ‘Links and Downloads’ on the right-hand column of this webpage. If you are not able to make an online application, please contact the Visiting School Office for instructions to pay by bank transfer or by telephone.

2) Once you complete the online application and make a full payment, you are registered onto the programme. Please note that a deposit payment holds your place on the course but does not confirm it. A CV or a portfolio is not required.

3) Full / Partial Scholarships are available. Please contact the Programme Head, Marianne Mueller for further information. For details on available Early Bird concessions, please see 'Fees' section.

The deadline for applications is 1 September 2020.


The workshop is open to current architecture, art and design students, PhD candidates and young professionals.


Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart
Am Weißenhof 1
70191 Stuttgart


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £695 per participant, which includes a £60 Digital Membership fee, payable by all participants.

Early Bird places at the rate of £595 are available to students applying before 15 August 2020. Please email us at to request your concession code.

We can offer a limited number of free accommodation places staying in flat shares with local hosts. Please enquire with the Programme Heads.

Fees do not include flights or accommodation, but accommodation options can be advised. Students need to bring their own laptops and digital equipment.


All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required, and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After full payment of course fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.


All participants are responsible for securing their own travel and health insurance. Please ensure that your travel insurance also covers your personal belongings i.e. laptop, equipment, tools, passport etc. The AA takes no responsibility for lost/ stolen property.


Marianne Mueller is a practising architect and educator. She is director of Casper Mueller Kneer Architects based in London and Berlin, a practice that has developed a particular reputation for producing spaces for the arts, culture and fashion. A graduate of the Architectural Association, Marianne was Guest Professor at the Technical University in Berlin and Unit Master at the Architectural Association. At the AA, she also curated the Concrete Geometries Research Cluster and co-directed the AA Berlin and AA Stuttgart Laboratory for many years. Marianne is Professor at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design where she heads the Chair of Architectural Design and Building Typology.

Fahim Mohammadi is a trained architect, civil engineer and educator, having studied at the Architectural Association in London, the Braunschweig University of Technology and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. He is professor and Chair of Design Foundations and Experimental Design in Architecture and Industrial Design at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design. Previously, he was Research Associate and deputy director of the Institute for Experimental Architecture at the Technical University in Braunschweig. Mohammadi’s research focuses on the role of aesthetic play in the history of design education since the Bauhaus, its reminiscences in today’s education and its potentials for the future.

Lucienne Roberts is founder of studio LucienneRoberts+ and co-founder of advocacy initiative GraphicDesign&, research and practice that is characterised by an abiding interest in the role of communication design in the wider world and in definitions of ethical design. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, she also studied English Literature at the University of London. Lucienne is currently Visiting Professor Graphic Communication in the Engineering School at the University of Southampton, UK. And co-founded Graphicdesign& with Rebeeca Wright, Academic Dean, University of the Arts London.


ABK – Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart


Programme Heads
Marianne Mueller
Fahim Mohammadi

Programme Tutor
Lucienne Roberts

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads



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.