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History & Theory Studies

The primary aim of History and Theory Studies is to assist in the process of creating graduates who are independent, critical and inventive. In order to do so, it must address many aspects of the architectural culture and discourse that are not directly addressed in design work.

Firstly, students need not only to understand, but to take a view on cultural and political questions that involve architecture such as ecology, housing and widespread inequality; issues with which it is imperative that architectural intelligence intervenes. Secondly, there are those questions that stem from within the architecture itself: the nature of contemporary practice, the possible career routes for trained architects and the responses of the profession at large to particular social issues and questions of public taste. Both of these dimensions form a critical component of the discourse at the AA and its translation of cultural issues into architecture. These are the principles around which the HTS courses operate throughout the school.

In the Experimental Programme, HTS relies upon a traditional structure of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. In each year, students will be required to produce written essays in the first and second terms.

In the Diploma Programme, HTS offers a selection of specialised courses. In the fourth year, students are required to select two courses. In the fifth year, there is an option available either to take one course or, alternatively, to pursue a thesis – interest in this option must be registered in the fourth year. The thesis enables students to concentrate on a particular area of interest and, through regular supervision, develop a more advanced piece of work. We will explore with students the possibility of seeking publication for strong and original essays.


Acknowledging the long history of the AA as an international institution, the school is deepening the relationship between students, their home countries and first languages though the ‘Architecture in Translation’ project. While teaching in English predicates a working knowledge of the language, frequently the vagaries of studying architecture mean that the particular inflections and conceptual significance of terms in different cultures can be lost in translation.

A focus on Translation this year will provide an opportunity for students to consider this issue in the architectural field and foster a more developed understanding of language across different cultures in the profession.

Unit Staff

MARK COUSINS is the Director of History and Theory Studies. Mark was educated at Oxford University and the Warburg Institute. He has taught at the AA for many years in the undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes. He is a founding member of the AA Graduate School and the London Consortium. He has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia University and is currently a Guest Professor at South Eastern University in Nanjing, China.

PIER VITTORIO AURELI is an architect and educator. He is a Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture at Yale University and is the author of The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture (2011) and The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Architecture (2008). He is a co-founder of Dogma, an architectural studio based in Brussels and focused on the project of the city.

ELENI AXIOTI has taught at the AA and at Central Saint Martins. She holds an MA in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture from the AA and a Diploma (MEng) from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She has practised in London since 2007 and her current PhD research focuses on the relation between institutional architecture and politics. She is currently a PhD candidate at the AA.

ANDREA BAGNATO studied at the Centre for Research Architecture and is currently the Head of Publications for the Sharjah Architecture Triennial. He has worked for Forensic Architecture, Space Caviar, Kuehn Malvezzi and Tomás Saraceno, and was the Publications manager for the first Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015. He has published SQM: The Quantified Home (2014) and A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change (2019). His research project has received grants from Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Graham Foundation.

DOREEN BERNATH was trained as an architect at Cambridge University and then completed her PhD at the AA. The PhD centred on the traditional rejection of rendering in European architecture and its popularity in contemporary Chinese practice. She has taught at Plymouth University, Leeds University and the AA.

EDWARD BOTTOMS studied history at Exeter University and gained a master’s degree at the University of East Anglia. He runs the AA Archives and has published on a range of subjects including art collecting, portraiture, architectural museums and the history of architectural education.

MARK CAMPBELL currently teaches on the PhD and Projective Cities programmes at the AA. He received his PhD and MA from Princeton University as a Fulbright Graduate Scholar and Princeton Honorific Scholar. He has published and lectured extensively, and is an Editor of the RIBA Journal of Architecture and an External Examiner at the Welsh School of Architecture and Royal College of Art.

SUSAN CHAI graduated from the AA and is currently practising in London as an architect and freelance translator. She teaches at the AA, Southeast University and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China. Susan has been working with the Forum of Contemporary Architectural Theories since 2009 and was an Associate Partner at PLP architecture.

NERMA CRIDGE is a lecturer, artist and author. She runs a small art and design practice, Drawing Agency,and has lectured at several UK universities – most recently at the Cambridge School of Art – and presented extensively at international conferences. Her first monograph, Drawing the Unbuildable, was published in 2015. Forthcoming publications include Restless: Drawn by Zaha Hadid and and her second book entitled Politics of Abstraction.

ZAYNAB DENA ZIARI completed her postgraduate studies in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture at the AA. She writes for architects about architecture and has a research interest in the intersection of urbanism, the digital and its psychological outputs.

FRANCESCA ROMANA DELL’AGLIO is an architect and writer. She studied at the Architecture University of Venice (IUAV) and recently completed her MA in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture at the AA. She has collaborated on several different projects for the Venice Architecture Biennale and since 2011 has been an editor of the Venice-based journal, Engramma.

RYAN DILLON is the Head of Academic Communications, a lecturer in the History and Theory programme and a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee at the AA. He has been the Programme Coordinator for the AADRL, taught at the University of Brighton and previously worked at Moshe Safdie Architects.

GEORGIOS EFTAXIOPOULOS is an architect living and working in London. He is trained at the Architectural Association, where he is currently pursuing his PhD in Architectural Design. Georgios has previously worked in Belgium and Switzerland, and has taught at the Berlage Institute and the University of Navarra.

COSTANDIS KIZIS holds a PhD from the AA, where he teaches History and Theory Studies and First Year studio. He has studied at Columbia University and at NTU Athens, and currently practises with Kizis Architects.

SOFIA KRIMIZI studied architecture at the National Technical Institute in Athens and the Columbia University GSAPP in New York. She has taught design studios and research seminars at the Cooper Union, Cornell University, UPenn, the Pratt Institute and the Bartlett School of Architecture. She is a founding member of the architectural practice ksestudioand is currently a PhD candidate at the AA.

DENIS MACSHANE draws on forty years’ experience of politics in Europe and was European
Minster in the Labour government.

ROBERTA MARCACCIO teaches and works in practice at DSDHA. She studied at the Politecnico di Milano and the AA, worked at Artifice Books and collaborated with Beatrice Galilee on the curation of several exhibitions. In 2016, Roberta was awarded a Research Fellowship by the Royal Commission for The Exhibition of 1851. She has taught widely in the UK and her writings have featured in AA Files, Blueprint Magazine, Real Estates (2014), Erasmus Effect (2014) and Milano Architettura (2015).

GILI MERIN holds an MA in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture from the AA and is currently a PhD candidate at the school, working on aspects of Jerusalem. She has previously worked for OMA.

MELISSA MOORE is a photographer and artist who teaches at the London School of Fashion. Her photographs are published as a volume entitled Land Ends.

JOAQUIM MORENO is an architect, historian and curator. He teaches at the Architecture School of the Autonomous University of Lisbon and at ICSTE-IUL. He holds a doctorate in Architectural History and Theory from Princeton University, a master’s degree from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and a professional degree in Architecture from the Architecture School of Porto University. He has taught at the Columbia University GSAPP and the Porto School of Architecture, and curated numerous exhibitions for the Venice Biennale and the CCA, among others.

MARK MORRIS is the Head of Teaching and Learning at the AA. His research interests focus on questions of visual representation, scale models, paracosms, automatism and the history of architectural education. He previously taught Theory and Design at Cornell University, where he served as the Director of Graduate Studies and Exhibitions.

ANA MARIA NICOLAESCU is a digital artist and writer based in London. Her work explores the relationship between media, technology and popular culture today.

WILLIAM ORR is a British-Canadian designer, theorist and historian. He studied architectural design at the University of Toronto and completed a PhD at the AA, where his research focused on political and architectural theory from the 1960s to the present.

DORETTE PANAGIOTOPOULOU studied architecture at the AA and holds an MA in Cultural and Intellectual History from the Warburg Institute. She has worked at Forensic Architecture, based at Goldsmiths University, and at Hopkins Architects in London.She is currently a PhD candidate at the AA.

IOANNA PINIARA is an architect, researcher and PhD candidate at the Architectural Association. She holds a Diploma in Architecture from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a postgraduate Specialisation Diploma in Architectural Design from the University of Thessaly, Greece.

KLAUS PLATZGUMMER holds a master’s degree in Architecture from the ETH Zürich and an MA in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture from the AA. He is a teaching and research associate at the Department of Architectural Theory, TU Berlin.

CLAIRE POTTER is author of three poetry books. She holds degrees in Psychoanalysis and Literature from the Université Paris VII Denis Diderot and the University of New South Wales.

RICARDO RUIVO PEREIRA is an architect, researcher and teacher. He completed his PhD at the AA in 2018, having previously worked and studied in Porto, Portugal. His research addresses the relationship between architectural form and political content in architectural discourse and historiography as ideological production.

MANOLIS STAVRAKAKIS holds a PhD from the AA. He studied architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, Columbia University and the AA, and has been practising and teaching architecture in Athens and in London since 2005.

TERESA STOPPANI is an architect and architectural theorist. She is the author of Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice (2010) and Unorthodox Ways to Think Architecture and the City (2018), and the co-editor of This Thing Called Theory (2016). She is the instigator of the architectural research collective, ThisThingCalledTheory, and an editor of the RIBA/Routledge Journal of Architecture.

ALVARO VELASCO PEREZ is an architect and holds a PhD from the Architectural Association. He has taught at the AA, UHerts, the AA Summer School, Leeds Beckett University and the University of Navarra. His work has been presented in educational institutions in London, Paris, Berlin, Seville, Lagos and Algiers.

ALEXANDRA VOUGIA studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece. She holds an MS in Advanced Architectural Design from the Columbia University GSAPP and a PhD from the AA. She has worked as an architect in New York and Athens, and has taught at the AA since 2012.

AIKATERINI ZACHAROPOULOU studied architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece and holds an MA in History and Critical Thinking in Architecture from the AA. Her research explores the use of humour as a design tool and she is the first architect to have spoken at the International Society for Humor Studies conference.


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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.