Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

Diploma 5 Il Teatro del Mondo, Venice, Aldo Rossi, 1980

Primary City Elements: The Theatre

DIP5 investigates the relationship between architecture and the city, using the primary elements of urbanity as its input. The focus of our research will be the theatre.

The theatre is an architectural object with a triple essence. Firstly, the theatre plays a fundamental role in the foundation and understanding of the city. From the Greek Agora to the Roman Forum in the cities of the East and the Middle East, theatres have always had a significant presence (both symbolic and physical), establishing a dialectical, multifaceted and rarely neutral relationship with the urban environment. Secondly, it is conceived of as a functional space, designed to accommodate a larger or smaller audience while optimising the performance of a show by actors. It has a height proportionate to the spectators, advanced technological and mechanical systems, complex lighting rigs and sophisticated structures to ensure an excellent view of the show; no different to a school, a post office or a tearoom – its function meets its form, qualified by an aesthetic and experimental point of view. The third soul of the theatre is that which defines it as a metaspazio: the tacit pact signed between spectators and actors. Once past the theatre door and sitting a seat, the lights go out, ‘the architecture ends and the world of imagination begins’.

DIP5 will study the theatre as an architectural and urban typology, and a place of expression for an art that has always been able to precisely reflect the world and its mutations. It is an opportunity to understand the evolution of society through that of the theatre. Investigations at the urban and architectural scales will help us to understand the central role of theatre in the city and its ability to activate the periphery. Social and cultural research will enable us to understand the aggregative nature of the theatrical world and (especially in the case of contemporary theatre) its ability to act on humanity in a revealing way.

The aim is to prepare students to undertake a contemporary theatre project in Paris. In this project, architecture will not be the end goal, but rather a means through which to question the present and to build the future, addressing much broader themes such as symbolism, identity and the economic, ethical, social and spatial values of cultural practices in 2020.

Extended Brief

Unit Staff

Umberto Napolitanostudied architecture at the University of Naples, Federico II and at the Ecole d’Architecture de Paris – La Villette. He created the Local Architecture Network in 2002, is a professor at the Columbia University GSAPP and joined the French Academy of Architecture in 2016..

Andrea Guazzieri works as an architect in Paris and is a partner at GFC Architecture. Following his MSc at TUDelft in 2010, Guazzieri worked with LAN architecture, at IUAV (Venice University of Architecture) and at TUDelft. Working on small and large-scale projects with GFC, Guazzieri recently won the competition for the New Science Centre, Naples.

Diploma School


AA School of Architecture Admissions
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: +44 (0)20 7887 4051
F: +44 (0)20 7414 0779

Links & Downloads

More Details

Extended Brief

Projects Review 2019

More Information


Academic Programmes
AA Prospectus

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

Diploma Programme (MArch) Prospectus
Diploma Programme Prospectus


The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.



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.