Foundation Foundation Models


Saskia Lewis, Umberto Bellardi Ricci, Taneli Mansikkamäki, Juliet Haysom, Amandine Kastler, Silvana Taher

AA Foundation is a one-year introduction to an art- and design-based education. The course helps students develop their intellectual abilities and conceptual ideas by engaging with a range of media and creative disciplines in an intimate studio-based environment. As they gain confidence in articulating their own approach to work, Foundation students can galvanise their own self-critique, drive and skills to more successfully pursue an education in various creative disciplines. Drawing on a number of pedagogical methods, experienced tutors and visiting practitioners, Foundation offers a unique cross-disciplinary education set in the context of an architectural school.

Lines of Enquiry through Fields of Volume
Using a series of determined locations, students will develop their own ways of questioning and articulating their observations through site analyses and documentation, establishing lines of enquiry alongside the taught Foundation curriculum. In Term 1 students will develop methodological skills through the forensic examination of microsites, colours within volume and industrial landscapes. While honing individual approaches and projects, the course will examine Lewis Baltz's photographs and Carl Andre's volumetric sculptures, colour studies by Josef Albers, paper models by Thomas Demand and the cut-up compositions of Hanna Höch. Students will learn how to intellectually bolster and deepen their research by identifying, compiling and studying their own series of influences and progenitors. Workshops will encourage them to translate their observations to material interpretations, and projects will range in scale - from intimate spatial fragments to journeys through the city.

During Terms 2 and 3 students will articulate their work in greater depth through experimentation, thinking through making and a variety of techniques including: photography, drawing, painting, model-making, casting, mapping, material studies, form, structure, pattern-cutting, costume, sewing, weaving, textiles, carpentry, performance, lighting and filmmaking. By the end of the year, students will have produced a comprehensive portfolio that illustrates their bespoke journey through Foundation.


Unit Staff

Saskia Lewis has taught at the AA since 2001. She has practised in New York, Paris and London and has taught at many schools of art and architecture in London. She is co-author and photographer of Architectural Voices: Listening to Old Buildings.

Umberto Bellardi Ricci currently runs his practice in London, which ranges from residential projects to product design. In addition to an AA Diploma, holds degrees in social anthropology and international relations from SOAS, University of London. He is co-organiser of the Architecture Exchange and director of the AA Visiting School in Las Pozas, Mexico.

Taneli Mansikkamäki graduated from the AA, and after working for Future Systems, Amanda Levete Architects and Cecil Balmond, he now directs the studio Mansikkamäki+JOY.

Juliet Haysom trained in Fine Art at the Ruskin School, University of Oxford and the Royal College of Art. She is currently developing a solo artist's commission built into the site of a nineteenth-century prison in Bristol and is lead artist for a new park on Unity Street in Bristol.

Amandine Kastler currently directs her own studio as well as the AA Visiting School in Lyngør, Norway. She studied at the AA, graduating with Honours in 2010. She was awarded multiple prizes including the RIBA Bronze Medal.

Silvana Taher is a writer and architect. She studied economics and politics at UCL and development and planning at the Bartlett. She gained her diploma in architecture at the AA in 2011 and has been teaching since 2012. Her writing has appeared in AA Files, Publica, Blueprint and AR.


AA School of Architecture Admissions (Undergraduate)
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Projects Review 2017

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Prospectus 2016-17
AA Prospectus

Foundation Course Booklet
Foundation Course Booklet

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