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Tropicality Luiza Baldan, 2009.


Cobogó, Rio De Janeiro

Monday 3 – Friday 14 August 2020

The 5th year of Tropicality Visiting School will continue our interrogation of domesticity in tropical, post-colonial, urban contexts. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, an architectural element such as the cobogó is a tangible manifestation of the continuous negotiation of sharing space and the creation of subjectivity. These perforated elements, deployed to attenuate sunlight, heat and humidity, have been widely adopted as a cheap, efficient and versatile mode of achieving environmental qualities. Besides pragmatic concerns, the use of the cobogó in domestic interiors and façades has enabled modes of life beyond sheer (re)production. Take, for instance, the idleness of one’s rest on a hammock behind cobogós, sheltered from direct weather and selective of external social interaction. Cobogós allow architects to rethink the role of walls within the house. Our school will start off with observational sketches, video recordings and cement casting. This will be informed by site visits, lectures, tutorials, and presentation juries along. The workshop will culminate in the design, fabrication and assembly of 1:1 cobogó elements cast in cement. These will be be exhibited to the public.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

- Learn through making: cement casting, teamwork fabrication, and exhibition preparation.
- Conceptually rethink what a wall is and its purpose within the space of the dwelling.
- Reconsider an architectural element that is inherently sustainable within current debates on climate change and the environment.
- Critically observe (tropical) domesticity with the support of academic and professional experts, and present findings to architects and broader audiences.


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 is required.

The deadline for applications: 13 July 2020


The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, PhD candidates and young professionals. Software Requirements: Adobe Creative Suite, Rhino (SR7 or later).


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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

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


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.


Olivia Marra is an architect with a PhD from the Architectural Association. She is currently a studio master at Leeds Beckett, having lectured at the AA, Royal College of Art, Yale University, and worked with offices such as L’AUC, in Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the AA, TU Delft and the São Paulo Biennale, and her writings have featured on Abitare, AU, and the book ‘Life Within Walls.’ 

Roberto Boettger is an architect based in Rio de Janeiro and London. He studied at the Architectural Association and has worked with 6a architects, London, and OMA, Rotterdam. Roberto has been the recipient of the RIBA Wren Scholarship, Valentiny Foundation Award, AA Bursary and commended for the RIBA President’s Medal. He has lectured at the AA and other universities. His writings have featured on AR, AU, Domus, and other journals.

Andrew Houston is a film theory scholar and currently lectures on the development of film expression, contemporary global cinema, Italian Neo-Realism and French New Wave cinema in addition to tutoring post-production studio at the prestigious Colorado Film School. Andrew has won several awards as a short filmmaker and is releasing his first feature length film this year.

Maria Paez Gonzalez is a Lecturer with ADS0 at the Royal Collage of Art, a PhD researcher at RCA and associate partner at Foster + Partners. She was a key member of several large-scale office projects, including the design and construction of Apple Park, the headquarters for the company in Cupertino, California: a project that upon its completion led her to pursue a PhD in Architecture at the RCA, where she aims to advance an architectural critique of post-industrial spaces of production and immaterial labour through the contemporary corporate campus of Silicon Valley.

Brendon Carlin has been a Unit Master at the Architectural Association since 2011, is a candidate with AA PhD by Design, and contributor to The City as a Project. Brendon has practiced and taught extensively at distinguished practices and institutions worldwide including several AA Visiting School Programmes.


Instituto Europeo di Design (IED)


Programme Heads

Brendon Carlin
Maria Paez Gonzalez
Andrew Houston

Head of Visiting School

Christopher Pierce

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

Links & Downloads


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 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.