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Wuhan top: A Poster of People’s Commune in 1958, entitled The People’s Communes are Good. (Designer: Guangting Rui ) bottom: Excerpt from a narrative timeline demonstrating lives in people’s commune (Rongwei Yuan, AAVS Wuhan 2016)

This is an archive page for Wuhan

Forthcoming dates for this school to be announced.


Collective Forms in China

Monday 14 – Sunday 27 August 2017

The danwei (work unit) and the people’s commune (collective unit) are the two socio-political, economic and spatial models that profoundly restructured Chinese society in the Maoist era. From the 1950s to 80s, China imposed on its population a mandatory collectivisation and industrialisation through an urban danwei and rural commune system with the aim to strengthen the new socialist People’s Republic of China and realise Chinese modernity. Coinciding with all-encompassing institutionalisation and new modes of production, the two collective forms created a radical change in in spatial and social organisation, thereby redefining the relationships between workers, farmers and state. The Visiting School will continue to examine the designs of these collective forms and their impact on social practices, governmental structures and economy. Reviewing their conception as social projects and the social realities they produced, we will discuss their legacies for discourses in architecture and urban design.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed
Participants will get an in-depth knowledge of the Chinese danwei system and people’s commune, the most important historical planning models in China, through case study analysis, archival research and seminars.

• Development of research and presentation skills.
• Development of drawing and analytical skills.
• Seminars with scholars leading in the field.
• Participation in academic symposium.
• Contribution to publication.


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 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: 28 July 2017.
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.


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 on the Huazhong University of Science and Technology campus can be arranged. Students need to bring their own laptops.

The workshop is open to architecture and urban design students, professionals and researchers. Fluency in speaking, reading and writing English is expected.

School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SAUP),
Huazhong University of Science & Technology,
Luoyu Road 1037, Wuhan, Hubei, P. R. China. 430074

Programme Heads
Sam Jacoby is a chartered architect with an AA Diploma and a doctorate from the Technische Universität Berlin in architectural history and theory. He has worked in the UK, Germany, USA and Malaysia and has taught since 2002 at the AA, as well as at the University of Nottingham, The Bartlett (UCL), Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart and Royal College of Art. Sam is currently Director of the AA Projective Cities programme.

Jingru Cyan Cheng is currently a PhD Candidate at the AA and co-founder of ACROSS Architecture, an independent academic association consisting of Chinese AA graduates and current students. Cyan has given presentations internationally, such as Assembling Values conference in Columbia University, the United State, Alter-Rurality 3 conference in Ireland, Beijing Design Week, China and etc. She graduated with an MPhil in Architecture from the AA (Projective Cities Programme). Her MPhil research work was exhibited at the AA Graduate Honours Exhibition, the AA Director’s Selection Exhibition, at the China Design Centre in London and in the Beijing Design Week in Beijing, and featured in ICON and Urban Flux.

Huazhong University of Science and Technology


Programme Heads
Jingru Cyan Cheng
Sam Jacoby

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.