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Participation in the academic life of the AA is not
limited to full-time enrolment. Several shorter Visiting
School Programmes attract those who want to
participate in and contribute to the AA’s lively
architectural culture. Each school has a programme
tailored to a different length of study, topic and focus,
offering a full range of academic and professional
possibilities for experiencing the AA School both in
London and abroad.
The One-Year Visiting Students Programme in the
AA’s Undergraduate School units and Complementary
Studies courses offers the equivalent of a full year of
academic credit while the Spring Visiting Students
Programme attracts architecture students who wish to
pursue a semester-long course of study. The Summer
Architecture School is a three-week programme for
those who are contemplating a career in architecture
or a change from existing careers; the Winter
Architecture School in Dubai is a ten-day intensive
design workshop organised in collaboration with The
Third Line and the American University of Sharjah.
The Summer D-Lab is designed to attract advanced
students and mid-career professionals looking for an
intensive immersion in today’s most advanced design
software, hardware and production systems. Running
throughout next spring and summer will also be a
series of shorter workshops introducing design
projects and the AA’s teaching methodology to cities
across the world. A summer Visiting Teachers
programme welcomes groups of teachers sent by their
universities for a short course exposing them to the
full academic life of the AA; and finally, AA Abroad
Workshops offer overseas schools the opportunity to
arrange events featuring AA students and staff, where
they can experience AA teaching and learning within
their own venues.
VISITING SCHOOL.qxd:Layout 1 20/9/07 15:12 Page 109
In collaboration with The Third Line
and the American University of Sharjah
4 January to 13 January 2008
Learning From Dubai
The recycling of the Disney fatwa says more
about the stagnation of Western critical
imagination than it does about the Gulf cities.
Rem Koolhaas, Al Manakh
This year, for the first time, the AA is offering a
nine-day international visiting programme in
Dubai. Combining the AA’s unit system with local
intelligence, it will run a design-based curriculum
that unites radical criticism with the rigorous
production of ideas. Each tutor-led unit will
investigate different aspects of the emerging spatial
realities of the Gulf region, from workers’ housing
to urban infrastructure, with a local focus on Dubai.
Based on a relentless belief in architecture as a
tool for modernisation, the spatial ambitions of
Dubai are unprecedented. The city is constantly
churning out superlatives, ranging from the world’s
tallest structure to the largest shopping mall. Large-
scale developments such as Business Bay or the
Dubai Waterfront (which will be seven times the
size of Manhattan) are some of the many sites
targeted to attract international investment, high-
end labour-migration and package-tourism. But
what are the (often hidden) infrastructures that
enable such change?
There is an urgent need to understand the Gulf’s
transformation in a different light; not with the
goggles of pessimism, but to take seriously what is
often being ridiculed. Rather than delivering a mere
critique, we will start a critical practice of
involvement. We will not pretend to deliver
expertise from the outside, but will strategically
unite key practitioners and theorists from the wider
region. We understand practice as a means of
critical engagement: to be political outside the
realm of politics or – as curator Anselm Franke
says – ‘to break the image while expanding the
The workshop will take place at The Third
Line, the Emirates’ most prominent contemporary
art gallery. Tutors will include some of the most
challenging practitioners in architecture, urbanism,
criticism and curatorial practices. Lecturers will
include Rem Koolhaas (OMA), George Katodrytis
(American University of Sharjah), Antonia Carver
(Bidoun magazine), Shumon Basar (AA) and Sunny
Rahbar (The Third Line).
The course is an intensive studio-based
programme and requires full-time participation.
The deadline for applications is 31 November
2007, although late applications will be considered
if space is available. An AA certificate will be
awarded upon completion of this programme. Fees
for the 2008 workshop will be £695. A one-day
trip prior to the start of the workshop will visit
some of Dubai’s major sites of change as well as the
nearby Hajjar Mountains. A package deal with a
major hotel-chain and a number of accommodation
alternatives will be offered to those who do not
have local accommodation available.
For further information please contact:
t. +44 (0)207 887 4014
f. +44 (0)207 414 0782
Markus Miessen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a London-based
architect, researcher, and writer, editor of The Violence of
Participation (Sternberg Press, forthcoming), co-editor of
With/Without (Bidoun, with Basar and Carver) and Did Someone
Say Participate (MIT/Revolver, with Basar), and co-author of
Spaces of Uncertainty (Müller+Busmann, with Cupers). As a
spatial consultant, he works with the European Kunsthalle and the
Serpentine Gallery’s Public Programmes. At the AA, he teaches as
Unit Master of Intermediate 7 with Matthew Murphy. He has
been a visiting lecturer at Columbia University, Cooper Union and
the Royal College of Art, and is currently working on the setting
up of a cultural institution in the Middle East.
Photo Markus Miessen
VISITING SCHOOL.qxd:Layout 1 20/9/07 15:12 Page 113
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