The AA Visiting School provides an opportunity for visiting students, young architects, recent graduates and other creative individuals to participate in the AA in a form that emulates the school’s famed ‘unit system’ – that is, through a highly-focused short course pursuing a shared agenda of collaborative design, study, research and performance on subjects at the forefront of architectural discourse. In more than two dozen cities or local settings on five continents, the AA Visiting School offers unparalleled learning opportunities, working with a brilliant group of collaborators and partner institutions to generate exciting cultural programmes and some of the most unexpected architectural events anywhere in the world. We have created these workshops as part of the AA’s ongoing commitment to actively participate in the shaping of global architectural culture and develop its belief in a fundamentally experimental approach to architectural education by engaging individual participants, collaborators and partner institutions in discussion, debate, exchange and, above all, further learning in architecture today. The AA’s Visiting School also offers a new dimension to the AA’s existing make-up as the world’s most international school of architecture: one able to enhance the flow of architectural ideas, knowledge and talent – outward from, and not only into, our historic London home.
The AA established its Visiting School in Dubai in 2008 to make more two-directional the kinds of global movement and exchange that the AA has for decades taken for granted as the basis for its own identity as a school. The Visiting School furthers our experience, beliefs and vision for the future of architecture through the ways in which it encourages our own teachers, students and others to work with and learn alongside others in new settings, venues and formats. In these early years of the twenty-first century architecture is changing in ways that are transforming the nature of schools, education and practice. Never before have architectural and design cultures been as collaborative, as distributed or as fast changing as they are today. The AA Visiting School seeks to invent a new, elastic twenty-first-century educational infrastructure able to quickly realign and reconfigure partnerships, location and focus. By doing so, the AA School is growing its ability to rapidly adjust to the fast-changing, unpredictable realities and challenges confronting global architectural and design cultures today. To join in and experience one or more of these short courses is to glimpse and experience the future of architecture, in a world of learning as elastic, as malleable and as fast-changing as the one it seeks to create.