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Architectural Association

Our mission at the AA School isn’t to teach architecture as it is already known, but rather to create the conditions for new forms of teaching, working and above all thinking and learning that will ultimately transform architecture in ways not yet fully realised. This has long been the central ambition of the AA School, which for decades has been home to the world’s leaders in architecture.

The AA is a famously independent educational experiment: we are self-directed, self-motivated and self-funded. As the UK’s oldest and only remaining private school of architecture, it has grown up alongside – and to a very great degree helped shape – the architectural profession. It should be stressed that the AA School sits entirely outside the state funding of higher education in the UK, and as a private school – with a broad commitment to bringing issues of contemporary architecture, cities and the environment to a large public audience – we are deeply committed to realising the potential that our independence allows, by adapting intelligently to the changing conditions of architecture at a time when the profession is facing a spectacular range of challenges.

The AA’s independence also means that we are able to push boundaries, test new ideas and promote new ways of teaching and learning. As a small and independent school located at the heart of a multicultural city, the AA is unique in at least three important ways. First, we are by far the world’s most international school of architecture, with nearly 90 per cent of our full-time students and nearly as many of our teachers coming to the AA from abroad. Secondly, we are organised around two distinct kinds of activities, both of which are of immense value to our students and staff: our formal courses and our Public Programme of evening lectures, symposia, exhibitions and publication launches. Thirdly, there is the famous pedagogical basis for the school itself: our ‘unit’ system of teaching and learning in which, in various ways, all of our students participate as the foundation for the experimental forms of teaching that remain the hallmark of the AA.