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Experimental Programme (Years 1–3, BA(Hons), ARB/RIBA Part 1)

The AA Experimental Programme is a three-year, full-time course. The first year course takes place in a collective studio environment, with a vertical unit system operating in the second and third year.

First Year

The first year of the Experimental Programme is characterised by its shared, open studio and defined by a learning-through- making approach, providing students with the tools and methods to foster an exploratory and intellectual interest in architecture. The studio encourages young architects to focus on the challenges of the twenty-first century, while learning and challenging the foundational principles of architecture. The study of architecture at the AA not only absorbs influences and information, but also critically affects societal change and generates culture.

The academic year is structured around the combination of studio-based design work and Core Studies; the crossover between seminars, workshops and debates allows students to learn collectively and think independently, constructively engaging with different audiences by sharing their discoveries in a year-long portfolio. Composed of a range of media and informed by various modes of argumentation and representation, this comprehensive body of work, successfully completed, forms the basis of each student’s progress into the second year of study at the AA.

Second and Third Year

Years two and three introduce students to the AA unit system, in which small design studios (12–14 students) operate a vertical structure of second- and third-year students. Innovative approaches to the study of form, typology, programme, site, material, craft and fabrication sit side-by-side with the study of critical architectural theory, environmental and technical considerations, speculative studies and different modes of architectural practice.

The Experimental Programme allows students not only to broaden the horizons of how architecture is physically manifested in the world, but also to holistically consider how we design our cities, to imagine a future for our environment and to redefine how we want to live together.

In 2019–20 there are 18 Experimental Units that explore a wide range of critical issues, teaching methodologies and design agendas. The units that constitute the 2019–20 academic year explore architecture’s agency in designing nature, from forests to city parks; investigate specific typologies from museums to city halls, to tall buildings, to schools; redefine inherited models of inhabitation and their relationship to affordability, technology and solidarity; question notions of context and site specificity from European cities to La Habana, passing by London, Glasgow and Norway on the Road to No-where; and a new set of units explores material research in relation to ecology, production technologies and landscape.

Experimental Programme Units


AA School of Architecture Admissions
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Links & Downloads


Academic Programmes
AA Prospectus

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

Diploma Programme (MArch) Prospectus
Diploma Programme Prospectus