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Diploma 12 Landscape of the American Myth – Film Still, Ali El-Hashimi, 2018–19

In Other Worlds: Strategies for change - From Speculation to Impact

‘Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.’ – Ursula K Le Guin, Words Are My Matter, 2016

Inscribed within our cultured spaces are historic, political, economic and social structures that reflect the powers that created and sustain them. As a counterpoint to these cultured spaces lies the idea of the wilderness; where the oblique, the feral and the illegible abide. In building new worlds we need to push at the edge of the known and into these wild spaces, the territories of the unknown.

DIP12 will be exploring the boundary between the cultured and the wild by designing new spaces of inhabitation. We will look for tensions between nature and technology, and conflicts between embedded histories and emerging social trends, asking how we as architects can find ways to build for better futures that understand the needs of both nature and society.

We will begin by analysing existing environments and practises, and consider how these could impact upon our buildings and social spaces in the near future. Initially, we will use the tools of architectural speculation to imagine future scenarios, using precision drawing and time-based media to describe them.

Following this, we will test the propositions through 1:1 interventions, exposing them to the real world to create impactful architectural proposals.

The unit will develop individual forms of strategic architectural practice. Through a precise design methodology, as well as workshops with practitioners from different disciplines, we will help to develop students’ expertise, focusing on how to express spatial agendas through diverse media and modes of operation.

Armed with both an urgent agenda and a refined technical proficiency, we will question how to employ architecture beyond just its aesthetic, formal or experiential qualities and transform it into an agent for real change.

Extended Brief

Unit Staff

Inigo Minnsis the Head of Media Studies at the AA. He teaches Design and Expanded Practice at Goldsmiths University and has taught in a range of disciplines both in the UK and abroad.

Ivan Morison works in collaboration with Heather Peak Morison. They have produced major works for many institutions around the world and represented Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennial. Ivan is also a tutor in sculpture at the RCA.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a multidisciplinary artist. In addition to her research into synthetic biology and the design of living matter, she has pushed the boundaries of design and had work displayed in museums around the world.

Diploma School


AA School of Architecture Admissions
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Projects Review 2019

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Academic Programmes
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Experimental Programme (BA (Hons)) Prospectus
Experimental Programme Prospectu

Diploma Programme (MArch) Prospectus
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.