Is the age of bigness over as the world scales back its architectural and urban ambitions? After years of what seemed like incessant growth taking place from Bahrain to Bangalore, a radical slowdown sets a new pace of activity. This year’s AA Summer Architecture School—MINICITY—turns its attention to a reinvigorated examination of the micro and the modest: diminutive buildings, tiny projects and mini-inserts in small spaces. Can the city be understood as the aggregation of miniature moments instead of the heroic account that highlights gigantic iconic projects? While human achievement in the 20th century seemed to privilege the intergalactic (remember the space-race?), the 21st century places its great hopes in the ‘nano-’, whether it is increasingly powerful microprocessors or urgent housing needs for disaster victims around the world. Big isn’t necessarily always the biggest idea. The brief, 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.

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