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Architectural Association School of Architecture: Wikis


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Architectural Association
School of Architecture

Logo of the Architectural Association School of Architecture

Motto Design with Beauty, Build in Truth
Established 1847
Director Brett Steele
Location London, United Kingdom
AA Bedford Square Premises.
Architectural Association School of Architecture.
Plaque beside entrance.

The Architectural Association School of Architecture, more usually known as the AA, is one of the world’s most renowned and influential schools of architecture.[1] It is the most prestigious and selective architecture school in the United Kingdom. Its wide-ranging programme of exhibitions, lectures, symposia and publications have given it a central position in global discussions and developments within contemporary architectural culture. Many of the world's most celebrated and respected figures in architecture and its associated fields 'have been here [the AA] (sooner or later)' as a plaque outside the school entrance proclaims.



It is the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom and was founded in 1847 by two dissatisfied young architects (Robert Kerr, 24, and Charles Grey, 24), to provide a self-directed, independent education at a time when the profession of architecture had yet to appear in the form recognised today. The School was formally established in 1890. In 1901, it moved premises to the former Royal Architectural Museum. In 1920, it moved again, to its current premises in Bedford Square, central London (it has since acquired additional London premises in John Street and a 350-acre site at Hooke Park in Dorset). The school has also acquired property on Morwell Street behind Bedford Square, which it uses as studio space and there are plans for further expansion.


AA DRL Pavilion.
AA Gallery
AA Intermediate Unit 2 'Swoosh' pavilion, 2008
inside the AA.

Many notable architects have since passed through its doors as its former staff and alumni list shows. The students of the AA have been addressed by many eminent figures, from John Ruskin and George Gilbert Scott, to more recently Daniel Libeskind, Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas.

After 150 years, the AA is one of the world's most international schools of architecture, attracting students and staff from more than 60 countries worldwide, and a long list of visiting critics, lecturers and other participants from around the world each year.

Courses are divided into two main areas - undergraduate programmes, leading to the AA Diploma, and postgraduate programmes, which include specialised courses in Landscape Urbanism (LU),[2] Housing and Urbanism, Sustainable Environmental Design, Histories and Theories, Emergent Technologies,[3] Design Research Lab (DRL), as well as day-release course in Building Conservation, garden conservation, and environmental access. Since its foundation, the School has continued to draw its teaching staff from progressive international practices, and they are reappointed annually, allowing a continual renewal of the exploration of architecture.

The school also has its own bookshop, the AA Bookshop,[4] containing a comprehensive range of architectural books. The bookshop is also used as a platform for newly launch titles from AA Publications.[5] AA Publications has a long tradition of publishing architects, artists and theorists early in their careers, as well as occasionally publishing figures who have already gained notoriety in their field of expertise, such as Salman Rushdie. AA Publications also publishes the journal AA Files and the AA Book aka Projects Review, annually documenting the work undertaken by members of the school from Foundation to Graduate programmes. The school also has its own independent radio station.[6] The AA gallery also regularly exhibits work from emerging professionals, to exhibitions containing the work of more established architects and related professionals.

The school is notable as existing outside the state-funded university system, with tuition fees comparable to that of a private school, though some bursaries are available on merit and financial need. Since non-EU students are charged higher fees to attend state universities however, the AA is competitively priced by comparison; therefore the AA is notable for having a higher proportion of overseas students enrolled than many other UK architecture school.

It also exists outside the UCAS application system; even at undergraduate/first degree level direct application is the norm. It is therefore not included in many books which guide potential undergraduates to choose appropriate courses, indeed many are unaware of its existence until they are studying architecture elsewhere. This may also account for the lower count of home-students enrolled.

Notable former students

Former Chairmen[7]

Former teachers

Current teachers marked *

Current Teachers

See Architectural Association website for full list.[8]


  1. ^
  2. ^ landscape urbanism (LU)
  3. ^ design research lab (DRL)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ http://

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′07″N 0°07′52″W / 51.51861°N 0.13111°W / 51.51861; -0.13111



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