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Professional Practice

This course prepares Third Year students for their year of practical experience, typically undertaken following the completion of RIBA Part 1. Few students have first-hand experience of working in architectural practice, an environment in which being a member of a team and working collaboratively is essential. Professional Practice introduces a number of topics ranging from the role of an architect to regulation, value, culture and ethics, with the aim of equipping students with a developed understanding of how the profession operates in reality.

Each seminar will involve practitioners and specialist academics conveying their perspective and experience in the form of a short lecture on a specific topic. The presentations will be followed by a chaired conversation, giving the students the opportunity to ask questions and clarify issues, as well as to elaborate on and debate key points.

Students are encouraged to critically assess the information and opinions presented throughout the seminars in order to develop a better understanding of the profession at large and how to work as part of a team. This process will enable students to learn from experienced professionals how to better engage with the design process and maximise the benefits of their year in practice.


A seminar introducing the course, the key topics and submission requirements 


Business structures take many forms. Professionals in the field will describe how their work is defined, as well as discussing the ethos, culture and legal structure of their practices


We look at the context and reasons that have driven the significant change in the architectural profession over the last twenty years and the skills necessary to carry out the role of the contemporary architect. Practitioners will describe their experiences of first entering practice, their subsequent career decisions and how they define the future of the architectural profession


Following on from the previous seminar, the role of the architect will be looked at, questioning specifically how value is determined in practice. Is it more than just the payment of fees? Practitioners will describe how they charge fees and define value


All architects require a solid understanding of the regulatory environment. In this seminar, the planning process and building regulations will be discussed, concluding with an introduction to forms of procurement


Architects address issues of professionalism and ethics on a daily basis. We will interrogate a series of examples of such questions, from the acceptance of a commission to the comprehension of the responsibilities the profession has to society in general


The final session will be led by a course tutor to discuss the Professional Practice submission and clarify any points arising from the previous seminars

Unit Staff

Paul Crosby is the Head of Professional Practice for the Experimental Programme. He studied at the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster). He set up an office in Germany, has held senior positions in the offices of Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield and Martha Schwartz and is consultant for small design studios on practice-related matters.


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Experimental Programme Prospectu

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Diploma Programme 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.