The Design Research Laboratory (DRL) is a 16-month, post-professional design research programme that leads to a Master of Architecture and Urbanism (MArch) degree. Our world-renowned lab has been at the forefront of design experimentation for the past 20 years, pioneering advanced methods in design, computation and manufacturing, and is based on an evolving framework of three-year research cycles that interrogate architecture and urbanism from the city-scale to the nano-scale. Led by innovators in the fields of architecture, design and engineering, DRL pursues an interdisciplinary approach to design that extends beyond architecture, fostering collaboration with companies such as Ferrari, Festo, AKTII, Reider and Odico Robotics. The lab remains a space of cooperation and curiosity, and seeks to develop the next generation of architects who will actively engage with and influence the field. Distinguished graduates have gone on to found offices, lead advanced research groups and teach at schools worldwide.
Four terms of study are divided into two phases. Phase I, a three-term academic year beginning each autumn, introduces design techniques and topics through a combination of team-based studio work, workshops and seminar courses. In Phase II, which begins the following autumn, teams develop their Phase I work into a comprehensive design thesis project. At the end of January, these projects are presented to a panel of distinguished visiting critics. In the past, these have included Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Jeff Kipnis, Wolf Prix, Ali Rahim, Marta Male-Alemany, Alisa Andrasek, Michael Hansmeyer, John Frazer, Ben Van Berkel, David Ruy, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Tom Wiscombe, Caroline Bos, Mark Cousins, David Greene and Marcelo Spina, among many others.
PHASE I: DESIGN RESEARCH AGENDA: CONSTRUCTING AGENCY (V2)
Our current agenda, Constructing Agency, explores the broader relationships of architecture by considering the futures of living, work and culture. The aim of the research is to widen the field of possibilities by exploiting behaviour as a conceptual tool to synthesise the digital and material worlds. Advanced computational development is utilised in the pursuit of architectural systems that are adaptive, generative and behavioural. Using the latest developments in advanced printing, making and computing tools, the lab is fostering work that challenges contemporary design orthodoxies. Architectures that are mobile, transformative, kinetic and robotic are all part of the AA DRL agenda, which aims to expand the discipline itself and push the limits of design within the larger cultural and technological realm.
PHASE II: DESIGN RESEARCH AGENDA: CONSTRUCTING AGENCY
Theodore Spyropoulos’s studio explores how behaviour-based design methods can be used to reconsider cultural projects for today through the development of self-aware and self-structuring practices that see architecture as an infrastructure to address latency and change.
Agent-based Parametric Semiology, Patrik Schumacher’s studio, contributes to the ‘semiological project’, which promises to upgrade architecture’s communicative capacity in the working environments, thus enhancing the social functionality of the designed and built environment through designed architectural code that manifests itself via crowd-modelling of the agent’s behavioural rules.
Shajay Bhooshan’s studio, House.Occupant.Science.Tech.data (HOSTd), explores robotic fabrication while enabling mass-customisation strategies that can compete with contemporary co-living models in highly productive cities. The promise of mass-customisation, integrated into new models of housing, now allows for the generation of a vibrant community fabric.
How to Apply
Applicants to our postgraduate programmes must:
-complete the online application form;
-upload their passport scan, references, academic documents (and certified translations where the originals are not in English) and English language qualifications (if they are not exempt -from meeting the English language entry requirements);
-submit a digital portfolio (with the exception of applicants to the History and Critical Thinking MA programme and the PhD Programme unless applicable);
-pay the appropriate application fee depending on the timing of their application submission (£50 for early applications, £75 for late applications) before the deadlines stated to be considered for the 2022-23 academic year.
The AA is a private Higher Education Institution (HEI) and is the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK. The AA is not a member of UCAS and all applications are directly through the school. The procedure is the same for all prospective students.
All applicants to the 2022-23 academic year must be 18 years or older by Monday 19 September 2022 to be eligible for enrolment. Applications will be processed when the online application has been completed in full, and all required supporting documents and the digital portfolio (if applicable) have been provided.
Prior to completing the application form, applicants should carefully read the entry requirements for their chosen programme. Prospective students cannot change their programmes choice once an application has been received, assessed and a decision has been made.
APPLICANTS MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONE APPLICATION FOR ONE PROGRAMME IN AN ADMISSIONS CYCLE. Unsuccessful applicants are eligible to apply in a subsequent admissions cycle.
All applications to the AA School will be acknowledged by email. Applicants who need to meet external funding deadlines should submit their application as early as possible and email Admissions to notify them of the deadline date. The AA will make every effort to ensure that notification of a decision is provided as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: The Architectural Association School of Architecture (Inc.) reserves the right to vary or omit all or any of it facilities, tuition or activities for which students may have registered. Students will have no claim against the AA in respect of any alteration made to the course. The Student Protection Plan lays out the policy and procedures that the AA School will follow to ensure the continuation and quality of study for all students of the AA School in the case of any material change to the advertised provision.
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 submitted, 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.
The Postgraduate Programmes do not require interviews, with the exception of the PhD programme.
The interview is a two-way process. The panel is interested in your research proposal, your background and motivation, so it is important to spend time preparing. In turn, you have the opportunity to ask questions about the school, working spaces and facilities at the AA.
Deadlines and Open Days
Early applications close on Friday 28 January 2022 (applicants to the Postgraduate Programme seeking bursary funding support are required to submit their application and meet the English Language requirements by this deadline) and late applications close on Friday 11 March 2022. Applications received after this second date may be accepted at the discretion of the School, please email firstname.lastname@example.org before submitting an application after the late deadline. Applicants who wish to request to be assessed for a Postgraduate Bursary must apply and meet the English Language requirements by the early deadline.
Prospective students must achieve at least the minimum academic and English language requirements to apply for any of the taught postgraduate programmes on offer at the AA. These requirements vary according to the programme being undertaken.
(DRL) ARCHITECTURE & URBANISM MARCH – Five-year professional architectural degree (BArch/Diploma equivalent) from a United Kingdom university or a relevant five-year professional degree e.g. BEng in Architecture, or a BArch degree plus diploma of equivalent standard from a recognised university or higher education institution outside the UK.
To meet both the Postgraduate Programme AA Entry requirements and the Home Office/UKVI English language requirements, candidates must obtain one of the following language qualifications listed below.
-IELTS Academic (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.
-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
-PSI Skills for English (UKVI) (Upper Intermediate / PSI Test code 4SB2). A pass is required in each category.
In addition to the above, applicants joining courses at Experimental, Diploma and Postgraduate Programme level may also choose from one of the following English language test and qualification options:
– IELTS (Academic) and IELTS (Indicator): A score of 6.5 overall is required, with at least 6.0 in each category. Online exam can be taken if test centres are closed in your region.
– Pearson PTE (Academic): A score of 62 overall is required, with at least 59 in each category.
– LanguageCert International ESOL (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. Online exam can be taken if test centres are closed in your region.
– TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition: A score of 92 overall is required, with at least 24 in Reading and Writing, 20 in Speaking and Listening. Online exam can be taken if test centres are closed in your region.
– Cambridge C1 Advanced: A score of 176 overall is required, with at least 169 in each category
– GCSE/IGCSE English, IGCSE English (First Language) or English Language: Pass at 5 (or grade C) is required.
– A Level English Language or English Language and Literature or English Literature: Grade C or above is required.
– IB English A (SL) and IB English A (HL): Language and Literature or Literature: Grade 5 or above is required.
– IB English B (for non-native speakers) (SL): Grade 7 or above is required.
– IB English B (for non-native speakers) (HL): Grade 5 or above is required.
All applicants (with the exception of those applying to the History and Critical Thinking MA programme and the PhD Research programme) 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.
Applicants for the Design and Make Programme should reference the location of the Programme, Hooke Park, in their personal statement.
The digital portfolio of art and design work (drawings/project synopsis/samples of work) should emphasise an applicant’s skills. Applicants to any of the taught postgraduate programmes should include in this document a range of both their academic and professional work. It is also important that you demonstrate the process behind your work, for example, sketches or development drawings/models rather than just including final images.
There is no single way of preparing a portfolio and each will be different. The Programme Head will assess each submission. It is very important all applicants spend time preparing this document.
The portfolio should be a single a PDF document of 20-30 pages and must be no more than 40MB in size. It must be clearly labelled with your full name and the title of the AA programme/course to which you are applying (for example: Portfolio_Firstname_Surname_DRLProgramme).
By submitting 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, should they commit an act of plagiarism.
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 AA Admissions Team prior to making an application for the 2022-23 academic year at email@example.com if they have any questions.
Applicants whose original certificates and transcripts are not produced in the English language must also supply copies of those 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. PLEASE DO NOT POST them to the AA in hard copy.
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 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 email in PDF format (this must be a scan of a signed document) to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address including the applicant’s full name and the title of the AA programme/course of application. References should be emailed directly from referees’ official email addresses. Emails received from personal email addresses will not be accepted. PLEASE DO NOT POST reference letters to the AA in hard copy.