Landscape Urbanism is a Graduate Design Programme at the Architectural Association leading to a Masters of Architecture (MArch, 16 months) and to a Masters in Science (MSc, 12 months) in Landscape Urbanism.
The programme explores the role that design and designers (from architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planner’s perspective) can play when confronted with large scale territories (metropolitan areas, rural environments, infrastructural and productive landscapes, etc.) and planetary urbanisation. At these scales, territories are structured by sets of economic policies, law frameworks, political decisions, social and cultural contexts, and engineering solutions where design inputs are left out or put at the fringes. Landscape Urbanism at the AA explores design not only as the source of aesthetic and performative proposals necessary to offer alternatives to today’s acute urban/environmental problems, but also as a mechanism to orchestrate, choreograph and negotiate their implementation within political/economic frames at large scales over time.
The programme has been constantly evolving, critically integrating practices such as cartography and territorial journalism, new applications of technologies such as scripted simulations, GIS mapping and web apps, all of which are widely available in various other disciplines but relatively untapped within design disciplines engaged with planetary urbanisation.
AA Landscape Urbanism Modules:
Territorial Formations, Design studio, Term 1, 20 credits
The first term design studio provides an understanding of planetary urbanisation dynamics, geomorphological processes, environmental emergencies, and landscape techniques to form the methodology behind the Landscape Urbanism projects. Landscape Urbanism wants to reveal and expose the processes and dynamics behind current modes of planetary urbanisation to imagine, design and project unconventional forms of territorial organisation and offer alternative scenarios to current urbanisation models. These alternative models and scenarios will rely on the historic capacity of landscapes to host, resist and modulate the struggles and contradictions between physical/environmental and the socio-political forces existing in given territories.
Carto-Genesis, Design & Research studio, Term 2, 20 credits
The second term design studio aims to develop the basis for a research by design thesis. A research methodology will be provided and investigations of the potential topic of thesis will have to be align with the overall agenda of the year. The research will bring together geomorphological processes and social and territorial formations as the basis to formulate a Landscape Urbanism design thesis. The studio will use as a main tool, the exploration and exercise of historical and contemporary forms of cartographic representation in a broader sense which include but is not limited to maps, videos, simulations, dynamic cartographies, webapps, etc. This will serve as the basis from which to design and project an alternative form of territorial organisation and a detail design of various aspects such as landscape and architectural typologies, spatial policies, organizational territorial models, innovative regulatory plans and visual decision making tools that will be developed as part of the final dissertation.
Final Dissertation, Term 3 & 4, 100 credits
The final dissertation is developed during the last 2 terms of the programme. This section of the course will consist of the exploration of modes of documentation that extend beyond the idea of the fixity and stability of master planning, to operate protectively and subversively. Following the development of a research based of cartographic production (atlas, cartographies, interactive tools, digital simulations), the student will produce a design manual for territorial organisation follow by a details design development of a given scenario of the manual. The manual will describe the procedures and guidelines behind the project to extrapolate principles for similar, relevant locations across similar territories. The project scenarios will develop the specific outcomes and visions in a concrete context and time framework within the UK.
Models methods and concepts Seminar, Term 1, 10 credits
This lecture and seminar-based course is concerned with the ways in which the intersections and interactions of landscape and urbanism have been thought, modelled, designed and analysed. It is designed to introduce the student to a critical engagement with these matters that will inform an understanding of the potentials and problematics of Landscape Urbanism. This, in turn, is designed to support practice and development within the studios, workshops, field trips and other seminars.
The Rhetoric of mapping Seminar, Term 2, 10 credits
This seminar addresses key points and practices in the historical development of cartography as a representational device. Methods of mapping are explored in terms of their uses, implications and potential so as to critically inform the drafting of a cartogenetic manifesto and the writing of the final project thesis.
Design and the Green New Deal, Economics Seminar, Term 2, 10 credits
Given the climate and ecological emergency the world is facing, it is paramount importance that those involved in designing landscapes (whether architects, landscape architects, artists, planners, or engineers) support a socially just re-structuring of the world we inhabit. This effort should be intrinsically dependant on the health of the earth systems and trigger, in turn, a radical transformation of the role we can collectively play in developing design proposals, mitigation strategies, advocacy initiatives and activism. One way to achieve this is by learning and contributing to a Green New Deal (GND) – a viable initiative with the capacity to unite all of the best intentions, preoccupations and proposals of the design community at large. The series is based on the knowledge and expertise from Common-Wealth a UK think tank that offered lectures, seminar and tutorials on a variety of themes from which student work derive the overall design agenda and research.
Research Methods Seminar, Term 2, 10 credits
A seminar that explores different research methods used across the Post Graduate Programmes during 8 sessions.
Total credits: 180
Total hours: 1800
Prospective students must have the minimum academic requirements to apply.
Five-year professional architectural degree (BArch/Diploma equivalent) in architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, urban planning, geography, engineering or other relevant discipline from a United Kingdom university or a BArch degree plus diploma of equivalent professional standard from a recognised university or higher education institution from outside the UK.
The AA reserves the right to make conditional offers on the basis of candidates gaining a further English language qualification. English language qualification requirements are subject to frequent change, in line with Home Office/UKVI regulations. Candidates are responsible for keeping up to date with such changes, however the AA website will ensure that up-to-date English language requirements are published at the beginning of each application cycle.
The AA fully understands that applicants have been experiencing difficulty meeting the English language conditions of their offer due to the number of approved English language test centres that have been closed around the world as a result of COVID-19. In response, the AA has expanded its list of accepted tests significantly, in order to give applicants as many accessible options as possible.
To meet both the AA and the Home Office/UKVI English language requirements, candidates must obtain one of the following language qualifications:
IELTS (UKVI): A score of 6.5 overall is required, with at least 6.0 in each category. IELTS reports have a two-year validity period. Certificates must therefore have been obtained within two years of the candidate’s visa application date.
Trinity College SELT Test (ISE II (B2) or ISE III (C1)): A pass is required in each category at minimum. Trinity reports have a two-year validity period. Please check Appendix O and the list of approved test centres issued by the UKVI to ensure that you book a test with an approved SELT provider.
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT (B2 Communicator): A score of High Pass is required for Written Exam (includes Reading, Writing and Listening) and Speaking Exam with no individual score below 33/50.
Pearson PTE (Academic UKVI): A score of 62 overall is required, with at least 59 in each category
English language exams vary in terms of how long they remain valid. If you passed one of these exams more than two years ago, please notify your Admissions Coordinator so they can check whether it can be accepted. Candidates should provide the Admissions Team with a scanned copy of their official test certificate and/or the TRF number from that certificate. The required scores must be achieved during a single sitting of the examination.
*For international qualifications to be eligible for an English Language Assessment, the degree must have been taught entirely in English.
All applicants must submit a digital sample portfolio of original art and design work in addition to the online application form, scanned transcripts and certificates (as required) and references, which can be sent to the school directly by referees.
The digital portfolio of art or design work should emphasise an applicant’s skills, interests, creativity and personality. Applicantsshould include in this document a range of both their academic and professional work. The portfolio should also show working processes (sketches, development drawings, models, etc) rather than just final images.
There is no single way of preparing a portfolio and each will be different. A panel will assess each submission, and, in the instance that an applicant is then selected to attend an interview at the school, the discussion will focus on their portfolio. It is therefore important all applicants spend time preparing this document.
The portfolio should be a single PDF document of 20–30 pages, and must be no more than 40MB in size. It must be clearly labelled with the full name of the applicant and the programme or course to which they are applying.
Upon signature of the application form, applicants certify that the work submitted is entirely their own. Plagiarism is unacceptable in the academic setting and students are subject to penalties, including dismissal from their programme or course, should they commit an act of plagiarism.
Applicants will need to register to gain access to the online application form. All sections of the form must be carefully completed. Applicants can save their progress as they proceed and revisit the in-progress form using their registration password.
Applications will not be processed until the online form has been completed and all required supporting documents have been provided. Those who submit incomplete applications will be contacted by email to request outstanding documentation. A maximum of two reminders will be sent. If no response is received, their application will be automatically withdrawn.
Transcripts and Certificates
All applicants must submit scanned copies of their academic records or transcripts that include a detailed list of subjects taken and marks attained.
Applicants who have completed their degrees must upload both their degree certificate and transcripts for all years of study. Those who have not yet completed their studies must include all of their university transcripts to date, and are encouraged to contact the admissions department prior to making an application for the 2020–21 academic year.
Overseas applicants must supply certificates and transcripts that have been officially translated into English. The AA can only accept official translations bearing the stamp and signature of a translator. Both original and translated documents should be uploaded.
Applicants should submit two references with their online application form: one related to work experience and the other academic. If an applicant has no work experience, two academic references are required. All references should be provided on official headed paper. They should bear the original (not jpeg format) signature of the referee and provide their contact details. No application will be considered before two references have been received.
Referees who would prefer to send their reference to the AA directly can do so by post, marked for the attention of the Admissions Team, or by email in PDF format (this must be a scan of a signed document). References should be emailed directly from referees’ official email addresses. Emails received from personal email addresses will not be accepted.
Entry conditions for international applicants from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland are governed by the Home Office/UKVI Tier 4 General Points Based System. Applicants who require a Visa must receive a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number from the AA before making a visa application.
Applicants with unconditional offers and who meet the Tier 4 eligibility criteria will be sponsored by the AA and supported in preparing for their visa application.
Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)
A CAS number will be issued once an applicant has received an unconditional offer, formally accepted their place, pay their deposit (if applicable) and submit the required documentation that confirms their eligibility for the Tier 4 visa. Details of the Tier 4 (General) Student visa and its eligibility criteria can be found on the gov.uk website.
The usual timing of the CAS process is under review as it will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic for 2020/21 entry. However, applicants should be assured that they will be guided through the process so that they are well informed and prepared when the time is right to submit their Tier 4 application.
As of 1 August 2019, the AA has secured ‘full privileges’, meaning that new students enrolled at the school will be able to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time and full time during the vacation period. Students enrolled on any of the Taught Postgraduate programmes are permitted to bring dependents.
If you have any questions about visa-related matters, please get in touch with the AA’s Compliance Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, the UK Council of International Student Affairs publishes helpful student immigration advice and information at www.ukcisa.org.uk
Tier 4 Visa Guide
The AA has published detailed and frequently asked questions and guidance documents for applicants. These are updated regularly as visa and immigration rules are amended in response to COVID-19. Please get in touch with your Admissions Coordinator if you have any questions about the Visa Guides.
Tier 4 Guidance for Applicants: Taught Postgraduate & PhD Programmes
Correcting Visa Errors
Applicants should carefully check their Visas, once receives, to ensure that there are no errors. Any Visa errors must be identified and corrected as soon as possible. Should a Visa error need to be corrected from outside the UK, please contact the relevant Visa application centre to request that the error is corrected before travelling to the UK. Should a correction need to be made from within the UK, please contact the AA Compliance personnel for advice and assistance. Visa applicants must not book any travel whilst they are waiting for errors to be corrected.
Fees and Financial Assistance
The AA offers bursaries to new students of the Taught Postgraduate students who demonstrate exceptional promise and financial need. All applicants are eligible regardless of age, nationality or background. Find out more about academic fees, the bursary application process and other sources of financial assistance.