What type of projects are produced within the AA Landscape Urbanism programme?
A distinct feature of The AA Landscape Urbanism program is the production of a comprehensive yearlong Design/Research project which goes beyond short-term design studios and exercises. The project/research outcome is design based and has a multi-scalar scope, meaning that students develop design strategies and scenarios of large territorial projects at continental, regional, local and architectonic scale. As the programme operates within contemporary conditions and understands urban environments as interconnected and related territorial landscapes, the envisaged projects within the Master have far reaching implications at local (architectural) and global (territorial) scales and thus, the various design outcomes are very ambitious and challenging. Have a look at some examples of the type of design projects developed over the past years https://issuu.com/aalandscapeurbanism.
What is the difference between MArch and MSC degrees?
Both degrees share the main conceptual framework and design based platform for research during the first 3 terms. During this time, students learn the basic skills (principles, concepts, tools, critical thinking, etc.) and establish the framework for the yearlong research project. The MSc degree focuses on the development of projects through design guidelines, at strategic levels, that can be used as a design methodology to deploy transferable projects in similar territories with alike conditions. The MArch takes on board the design guidelines developed by the MSc degree to design and develop the tectonics of a specific project in a given context at a local and architectural scale. It includes the research of innovate building and landscape techniques to construct the project.
I don’t have a background in design—can I still apply?
The Landscape Urbanism program encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. The staff themselves come from a variety of backgrounds including architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering, spatial analysis, critical thinking and structural engineering. As a result, while the course is specifically geared towards advanced level research students in architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism, we encourage students from any related discipline such as engineering or geography.
What are some of the computer programs used within the course?
Students are encouraged to explore a range of different tools relevant to their project. Alongside some of the more common 3D modelling and drafting software such as Rhinoceros or CAD, we explore the potentials of GIS mapping techniques in addition to some scripted simulations using firstly Grasshopper and later moving into the Python programming language. We also explore the potential of videos, online maps and websites and the use of drones to collect and manipulate information. Another central part of the course is the use of physical modelling and fabrication techniques, making use of the AA’s excellent Digital Prototyping Lab.
I saw that a lot of the studio work done seems to require knowledge of computing software like GIS, Rhino, Grasshopper, etc. Are these taught as part of the programme or is prior knowledge necessary?
Students aren’t expected to have any prior experiencing using the software. Throughout the year, the computational support is provided by the technical tutors. In Term 1, workshops will be undertaken with the intent of bringing everyone to an equal base level. Of course, prior knowledge of the software is beneficial. Throughout term 1, on the weekends, the AA runs seminars in a variety of different software which are
open to the whole school.
What happens after Landscape Urbanism? Where do graduates typically find jobs?
The Landscape Urbanism studio is an internationally regarded laboratory for tools and mechanisms for landscape and territorial research. You will learn highly relevant technical skills along with an approach which fosters critical thinking, collaborative skills and above all the ability to consider issues and processes through time, something fundamental to the contemporary urban condition. Landscape Urbanism graduates have found employment around the world. Some have worked in established practices such as Groundlab, Plasma Studio, ARUP, AECOM, Heatherwick Studio, Foster and Partners, Gustafson and Porter, Marth Schwartz Partners, others have become involved in academia, and some have started their own practices: Groundlab, LyonBosch, Jorge Ayala, 24/7, among others.