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Architectural Association

Location: Central London Show on Map

Site: Principal site in Bloomsbury plus smaller site close by; satellite site in Dorset

Specialist architecture school.

Student Population

Total Students:500

Undergraduates

Male:55%
Female:45%
Full Time:100%
UK Students:10%

Teaching Staff

104 contracted staff plus consultants

Broad study areas

Architecture.

Freshers

Accommodation:No School accommodation

Institution

Founded:1847
Site:Single site in Bloomsbury; smaller site close by; also satellite site in Dorset.
How to get there:Tottenham Court Road underground station
Special features:International character. Offers a wide range of design options and teaching styles. Students recognised as individuals and expected to demonstrate a high level of self-motivation to benefit from programme (including seminars and tutorials with professional consultants and members of allied disciplines).

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Pastoral care and individual counselling available.
Amenities:International exhibition gallery, specialist bookshop, dining room, bar, audio-visual department, model workshops, digital prototyping lab, digital photo studio, electronic media studio, drawing materials shop. 350-acre woodland site in Dorset, with workshops and accommodation.
Accommodation:No accommodation  provided by the School. Accommodation office open for 3 weeks before each academic year. Most students live in shared self-catering accommodation, £95–£125 per week.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:30,000+ books, 100,000 images, 100 study places. IT and library services separate. 60 networked PCs/Macs with access to internet and so to library catalogue (ratio workstations to students 1:5), open 12 hours/day. IT support provided by four members of staff. Library and computer induction sessions in introduction week. Specialist collections: 1930s photographs by FR Yerbury
Study abroad:Study trips worldwide
Careers:Information and advice from practical training adviser

Money

Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £12,000 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by school.
Financial help:Limited number of scholarships and bursaries awarded annually (scholarships up to 100% of tuition fees, bursaries up to 50%). 
University tuition fees:Home and international students pay £16,821 pa (£15,180 for Foundation course).

Courses

Academic features:

1-year Foundation course offered to develop creative skills through intensive programme of studio work. 5-year RIBA/ARB recognised course in architecture has emphasis on developing personal creativity with strong self-directed tutorials.

Awarding body:

AA, RIBA/ARB.

Main undergraduate awards:

AA Diploma, AA Intermediate Examination (RIBA/ARB Part 1), AA Final Examination (RIBA/ARB Part 2).

Length of courses:

5 years; 1 year for Foundation

Main subjects offered:

  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture

Student view

Living

It’s a private school with affiliated professional association, the oldest and arguably number one architectural school in the world, located a stone’s throw away from the British Museum. Features a 5-year programme for RIBA parts I and II and AA Diploma, plus a range of postgraduate courses and a Foundation course. Choice of units ranging from conceptual to rigorously architectonic – all experimental, none aims to advocate any house-style. Throughout the year a series of juries take place, where a panel of internal and external professors, registered architects and professionals from other disciplines offer guidance and criticism based on a short presentation. Pass from year to year is based on your final oral presentation of unit work, also known as the Final Tables, and successful fulfilment of submissions from complementary course groups (general studies, technical studies and media studies). No traditional structure is imposed, but high standards are expected and academic excellence a must. Students are given a great deal of independence which requires more resilience to maintain one’s own standards without being spoon-fed; sometimes a mild shock to those arriving from A-level but the perfect opportunity to develop one’s interests. An intense, but often friendly competitive atmosphere prevails, diluted in the evenings as students and tutors collect themselves at the elegant school bar, aptly named the AA Bar. The school year consists of very intense work alongside exhibitions, lectures, workshops and other events specially coordinated to complement study (some quite provocative and diverse); several superb evening lecture series given by speakers from all over the world in many disciplines. A variety of student exhibitions throughout the year; end-of-year projects review in July – the highlight of the London architectural calendar, taking over all three Georgian buildings and gardens; a transformation to see. School not cheap, with full-costs fees but recently more bursaries and scholarships for local students. International mix of students, cosmopolitan environment, a variety of influences and dialogues. AA Student Forum is an independent organisation, run by students, that provides creative and financial support to any AA student or group of students who wish to make something happen – an exhibition, publication or social event alongside the AA radio. Well-stocked bookshop includes in-house publications and a slide library. Workshop for working with metal, wood, some plastics etc, now fitted with a CNC machine for computerised modelling; also mobile darkroom sessions conducted guerrilla style. If you really love the cutting edge of architecture, and you can’t wait to express your commitment and fascination without being stifled, then apply, but be prepared to take the initiative.

Summary

Housing: As varied as London itself – students prefer old factory buildings and loft spaces in Hackney and City. Good accommodation service at beginning of term; coordinators can advise house/flat shares. Look in Loot and watch school noticeboards. Eats: Charlotte Street has exciting options (pizza at ICO to Thai green curry at Thai Metro); Pollo Restaurant on Old Compton Street, Bar Italia on Frith Street. AA lunchtime restaurant/bar (meal for £3.50+). Drink: Own bar, no time for anything else! Nightlife: Christmas party, fireworks night and other impromptu events throughout the year, watch the school transform with themed parties. West End theatres and galleries (reduced rates). Locals: Very friendly. No local problem areas. Sports: None at AA; but ULU and YMCA facilities very close. Local Camden facilities open to students. Travel: Travel scholarships from AA, and other architectural institutes. STA Travel. Financial help: Some scholarships and bursaries available. Jobs: Working part-time within school or in practices possible during term-time. Informal name: AA, commonly mistaken for Alcoholics Anonymous. Best features: The ‘best architectural school’. And worst: Very expensive.

Past Students

Richard Rogers (Lloyd’s Building, Pompidou Centre etc), Mark Fisher (designer of Pink Floyd concerts), Ron Arad (furniture designer), Zaha Hadid (Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art, Phaeno Science Centre), Eileen Gray (architect, designer), Janet Street Porter (notorious), Nigel Coates (architect, designer), Nick Grimshaw (DJ and TV presenter), Michael Hopkins (Manchester Art Gallery, Westminster Underground Station).

More info?

Enquiries to AA Student Forum Co-ordinators, email aasf@aaschool.ac.uk.

Contact

Address:

Architectural Association School of Architecture
34-36 Bedford Square
London
WC1B 3ES

Tel:

020 7887 4000

Email:

undergraduateadmissions@aaschool.ac.uk

Website:

www.aaschool.ac.uk

Student enquiries:

Admissions Co-ordinator, Registrar’s Office

Application:

Direct

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