The Summer Architecture School is an exciting opportunity for those interested in teaching within the AA environment. We welcome applications from a broad spectrum of disciplines, and encourage unexpected combinations from as little as two tutors per unit to a larger group consisting of varied expertise. The teaching is intensive, and you should assume that students will need to be met with every day for the duration of three weeks, though how you organize the time is a matter of choice and convenience for each team. All tutors are expected to attend the introduction days, a morning of induction courses, an interim presentation held on the second Tuesday, a half-day seminar and the final presentation.

If you are interested in teaching this year, please submit, either via email or by post, a proposal that is no more than three pages of A4 in length and includes your CV or bios. A suggested format is: 1 page to set your agenda, address the theme and suggest forms of output, 1 page for schedule and how you plan to structure the course over the 3 weeks, 1 page with additional references (books, films, precedents, etc) and your bio information. Examples of briefs from previous years can be found on this website when you click the units under the heading STUDENT WORK. Some of the important aspects to consider before applying are the following:

There will be up to eight ‘units’, with each unit consisting of between 10 — 16 students. They will have a uniquely diverse background, some having studied architecture for as much as 5 years, whilst others will be coming from completely different backgrounds. Ages range from 18-50, with as many as 35 nationalities from all over the world. As such, the horizon of teaching is not school level, undergraduate or post-graduate; rather it is a unique combination that requires elasticity in the brief to accommodate all levels.

The Summer School is a studio-based course that encourages a challenging interaction between ideas and making. Rather than encourage the cult of individual students, we push for group-based projects that exploit the special characteristics of the students’ backgrounds and characters. The AA has computing facilities, a wood/metal/plastic workshop, and audio/visual equipment available during the course, as well as possible access to the Digital Prototyping Lab. The working studios will be adjacent to these facilities, and are open from morning to evening five days of the week, plus a gradual opening over the weekend. The studios should be seen as a live-working environment to be taken over by the work of the students.

The culture of the Summer School is an inquisitive, experimental practice based on collaborations. Students come with various motives and means, each one as valid as the next. London is a brilliant setting against which ideas and experiments can be tested.

Each year we set an overall theme to guide the tutors and students. This allows everyone to find comparative means with which to judge their work in relation to others. We ask prospective tutors to respond to the brief and its theme. NOTE: PROPOSALS THAT DO NOT ADDRESS THE AGENDA WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.  

This title and theme for 2018 is:

Bits, Bytes, Fragments, Scraps, Shards, and Moments.

I guess I’m just hopelessly fascinated by the realities that you can assemble out of connected fragments.                                           Junot Diaz

It’s like this puzzle.  You spend ages putting things together – things that weren’t meant to fit together, disjointed things, things no one would ever think you could put together…It’s like you’re building your own little world.
Tom Rowlands (Chemical Brothers)

We consume bits of our friends’ lives as we scroll through social media pics on our mobile phones.  We hear snippets of conversations on the bus on the way into town, or in a restaurant, imagining the lives of the people surrounding us.  Ancient vases are reassembled from fragments found beneath the ground, while archaeologists and historians recreate the narratives of the people and culture that created it. A film stiches together a single and coherent narrative from hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of multi-second shots.

Our days and worlds are built around accumulated experiences, interactions, and the paraphernalia of daily life.  The only constant that stitches them all together is you and the measure of time.  This also means that the simple insertion of new or different elements can radically shift the narrative.  It enables all of us to be the director of our experience and the architect of our domain.

This summer we will look at London as though through a kaleidoscope.  Summer School 2018 will act as a Director, a Surgeon, a Detective, a Master Builder and a Storyteller.  The director will assemble a single continuity from isolated shots. The surgeon will cut, reassemble, stich and sew a new architectural body together.  The detective will examine real and fictional evidence and build hypotheses.  The master builder will assemble existing and invented materials while the storyteller assembles narratives from both real and fantastical inspiration.  Our design units will work through digital and physical models, filmmaking, drawing, animation and installations as we discover what it means to think, make and design through an endless rearrangement of fragments.

We will be looking for briefs that embrace this kind of ethos, whether as a working methodology, or a theoretical pursuit, a combination or both, or an entirely other interpretation.  

The Summer School will invent and work through Bits, Bytes, Fragments via compelling perspectives: spatial, social, economic, ecological, cultural and technological. It will use London as its primary experimental laboratory of ideas and actions. Individual and collective discoveries are encouraged as well as innovative, evocative proposals. The brief and intense course—based on the renowned AA Unit System—emphasises techniques of interpretation, recording, drawing, making and thinking through diverse media types, both analogue and digital.

We want to know in advance what kinds of methods of working the unit will be focusing on, and what kinds of products will emerge by the end of the programme. In the past, we have found that those with a narrower and specific media fascination – for example, installations, large-scale group models and drawings, video, information graphics, or magazines have been most successful. Each unit has a modest production budget to bring specialists in or to buy materials.

Upon receiving your application to teach, the Director of the programme will consider each one on its own merit. Evaluation criteria include interpretation of theme, originality of approach, methods/products envisaged, and innovative ways in which to motivate and instrumentalise the unit. Those chosen will then be contacted to go to the next stage, which may involve a meeting in person or an opportunity to develop the brief in more detail. At this point, the fee will also be discussed as well as any other queries.

We look forward to your responses, which should be sent in by 16 April 2018, to visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk. or posted to the AA main address care of the AA Summer School.  Early submissions are welcome!

Natasha Sandmeier
Director Summer School

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