Foundation Anthony Flouty, 1:1 Paper Model of a fragment of scaffolding poles and boards, AA Foundation, 2017-18

Foundation Course

Foundation Director: Saskia Lewis
Foundation Coordinator and Studio Tutor: Juliet Haysom
External Consultants: Yoni Ben Tovim, Fenella Collingridge, llsa Colsell, Raluca Grada-Emandi, Alison Crawshaw, Trevor Flynn, Antoni Malinowski, George Massoud, Flora McLean, Sara Muzio, Joel Newman, Jessica Pappalardo, Sylvie Taher, Adrian Taylor, Tom Woolner

The AA Foundation Course allows students to explore the possibility of a future career in architecture or the arts.

The AA Foundation Course is a one-year introduction to an art and design education. It allows students to develop their conceptual ideas through experiments with a wide range of media in an intimate studio-based environment whilst simultaneously exposing them to many of the academic offerings at the AA from First Year through to PhD. This provides Foundation students with a uniquely broad view of the issues, tools, methods and strategies developed within the School at large. Drawing on a number of pedagogical practices with experienced tutors and visiting consultants, the Foundation offers dynamic cross-disciplinary teaching within the context of a specialist architectural school.

Over the course of the academic year observation, scale, materiality, interpretation, representation, site, scenario, and inhabited structures will be explored. Term 1 focuses on the development of skills though the forensic examination of microsites; the analysis of colour and volume; and observations relating to the body and the city. In parallel with their studio work, students will identify and compile a series of references, and will apply critical thinking to this self-initiated research. Workshops will encourage translation from observation to material interpretation. Ongoing work will be regularly discussed within individual tutorials, group presentations and with invited critics.

In Terms 2 and 3 students will develop work in greater depth and will articulate increasingly individual lines of enquiry. We encourage speculative experimentation and methodical iteration using photography, drawing, painting, model-making, casting, mapping, material studies, pattern-cutting, life-drawing, carpentry, performance, and film-making. By the end of the year, students will have produced a comprehensive analogue and digital portfolio that will illustrate their own highly personal journey through the Foundation course.

This full-time, one-year, studio based course offers hands-on instruction in creative design and thinking and gives students the means to develop skills in a variety of media, from drawing to digital video, photography to installation. Students learn how to translate their thoughts into material form and identify their next path of action by preparing a comprehensive design portfolio to apply to the AA Undergraduate School, or other schools of architecture, art or creative fields in the UK or abroad.

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 the co-author and photographer of Architectural Voices: Listening to Old Buildings (2007).

Juliet Haysom trained in Fine Art at The Ruskin School, University of Oxford and at The Royal College of Art, and in Architecture at the AA School. She was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship at the British School at Rome in 2004–05 and The Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2007. She is currently developing site-specific sculpture commissions in Wapping Wharf and Unity Street, Bristol and at Kingsgate in Amesbury.


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

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

Links & Downloads

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Awaiting Full Brief

Unit site

Projects Review 2018

More Information


Prospectus 2018-19
AA Prospectus

Special Programmes Course Booklet
Special Programmes Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


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

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