stevenpl24
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Could anyone here tell me if the AA is any good for architecture? And is like more creative than most, how is it such a well-renowned name?? ++ how does it compare to The Bartlett at UCL? Much appreciated!
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evolvingarch
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Hello, whilst I didn't personally study there, I have a few friends that do.
Generally, the AA got its reputation through the architects that have come from there (Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaus, Peter cook, Tschumi, David Chipperfield etc), they are all very big Architects at the moment (though most are 50+).
It is very good at architecture, although I would argue that it heavily rides on its past alumni (who are the people mentioned earlier) to keep it well regarded.

They have very good facilities and I know of a few of the tutors and they are very good, the approach to architecture is very exploratory and experimental (again, depending on personal tastes that can be too much for some). Whilst you get more than what most architecture courses provide, you are paying a massive premium(£22,000 per year, maybe more for international).

From what I understand there isn't too much of a difference between AA and UCL, I studied a bit at UCL so I know that the teaching methods are slightly different (felt very dictatorship-like) and studio culture is different (more toxic and competitive in UCL) as well as UCL being a much larger course.
Both have equally good reputations and the works that come out are also of an incredibly high standard, so not many are disappointed with the courses.

For graduate shows, UCL's is by far the most popular (the location and new building help massively) so whilst you are almost guaranteed a job after graduating at both uni's, UCL edges it in terms of gaining recognition from employers.

If you are picking between these two universities, I would suggest looking at the work output (through instagram, online exhibitions, flickr etc) to see if you like what is there. If you like the work created, then you will most likely enjoy your time there. But make sure to research what it's like from a students perspective.

I hope that helps and gives some perspective!
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stevenpl24
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(Original post by evolvingarch)
Hello, whilst I didn't personally study there, I have a few friends that do.
Generally, the AA got its reputation through the architects that have come from there (Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaus, Peter cook, Tschumi, David Chipperfield etc), they are all very big Architects at the moment (though most are 50+).
It is very good at architecture, although I would argue that it heavily rides on its past alumni (who are the people mentioned earlier) to keep it well regarded.

They have very good facilities and I know of a few of the tutors and they are very good, the approach to architecture is very exploratory and experimental (again, depending on personal tastes that can be too much for some). Whilst you get more than what most architecture courses provide, you are paying a massive premium(£22,000 per year, maybe more for international).

From what I understand there isn't too much of a difference between AA and UCL, I studied a bit at UCL so I know that the teaching methods are slightly different (felt very dictatorship-like) and studio culture is different (more toxic and competitive in UCL) as well as UCL being a much larger course.
Both have equally good reputations and the works that come out are also of an incredibly high standard, so not many are disappointed with the courses.

For graduate shows, UCL's is by far the most popular (the location and new building help massively) so whilst you are almost guaranteed a job after graduating at both uni's, UCL edges it in terms of gaining recognition from employers.

If you are picking between these two universities, I would suggest looking at the work output (through instagram, online exhibitions, flickr etc) to see if you like what is there. If you like the work created, then you will most likely enjoy your time there. But make sure to research what it's like from a students perspective.

I hope that helps and gives some perspective!
Wow, I can't thank you enough!

This really is an eye-opener, I did not know that the AA would be that expensive to study at, where did you come across these figures I would love to take a further look, I can't seem to find much on their website. In terms of their end of year shows, I just love the idea as a whole; it's amazing to work on a project and have the chance to present it to people who are also in the field, family, and friends too! Could you possibly further expand on how the studio culture is more toxic and competitive? I love good competition as fuel for motivation but not if it's negatively affecting everyone!
If it's not too much to ask, is there any way for me to contact you/your friends via e-mail, for example, I would love to hear more about their journey towards studying architecture

I am currently contemplating on whether or not to do an Art Foundation Year as I am fearful that my portfolio won't be sufficient by the end of this year as I have not done Art for GCSE or A' Level but I love to do art as a hobby and a way to express myself in ways words cannot. Perhaps one of your friends was in a similar position and could advise me to or not , again, thank you ever so much!
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evolvingarch
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(Original post by stevenpl24)
Wow, I can't thank you enough!

This really is an eye-opener, I did not know that the AA would be that expensive to study at, where did you come across these figures I would love to take a further look, I can't seem to find much on their website. In terms of their end of year shows, I just love the idea as a whole; it's amazing to work on a project and have the chance to present it to people who are also in the field, family, and friends too! Could you possibly further expand on how the studio culture is more toxic and competitive? I love good competition as fuel for motivation but not if it's negatively affecting everyone!
If it's not too much to ask, is there any way for me to contact you/your friends via e-mail, for example, I would love to hear more about their journey towards studying architecture

I am currently contemplating on whether or not to do an Art Foundation Year as I am fearful that my portfolio won't be sufficient by the end of this year as I have not done Art for GCSE or A' Level but I love to do art as a hobby and a way to express myself in ways words cannot. Perhaps one of your friends was in a similar position and could advise me to or not , again, thank you ever so much!
The fees are on their website- https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/APPLY/FIN...D/overview.php

I think the toxicity and competitiveness are subjective, but I've been told by friends at UCL that they have to look over their shoulder as a lot of people hide their work from others to try and one-up them later on. There was one story of someone damaging a model (but I would take that with a pinch of salt). From my experience with the tutors, they absolutely hate it if you don't do what they tell you to do (I almost got kicked off the course I was on for it), I've heard a few stories of students being failed/ low passing marks purely because they didn't do what the tutor wanted.
Again, some people have enjoyed their time there too.

Unfortunately, they are in the middle of submitting their final projects and would also need their permission. However, if you trace AA students through the AA's official Instagram page, I'm sure some will be able to give pointers.

I highly recommend an Art Foundation, I took one (even though I had accepted a place then subsequently deferred my place at that uni) and was one of the best decisions I made. It taught me a lot of skills that helped make my time at uni a lot easier. It also makes it a lot easier to go to the top universities.

It used to be free in my time there but I've seen some universities add a fee (roughly between £1,000 and £3,000 tuition).
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stevenpl24
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(Original post by evolvingarch)
The fees are on their website- https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/APPLY/FIN...D/overview.php

I think the toxicity and competitiveness are subjective, but I've been told by friends at UCL that they have to look over their shoulder as a lot of people hide their work from others to try and one-up them later on. There was one story of someone damaging a model (but I would take that with a pinch of salt). From my experience with the tutors, they absolutely hate it if you don't do what they tell you to do (I almost got kicked off the course I was on for it), I've heard a few stories of students being failed/ low passing marks purely because they didn't do what the tutor wanted.
Again, some people have enjoyed their time there too.

Unfortunately, they are in the middle of submitting their final projects and would also need their permission. However, if you trace AA students through the AA's official Instagram page, I'm sure some will be able to give pointers.

I highly recommend an Art Foundation, I took one (even though I had accepted a place then subsequently deferred my place at that uni) and was one of the best decisions I made. It taught me a lot of skills that helped make my time at uni a lot easier. It also makes it a lot easier to go to the top universities.

It used to be free in my time there but I've seen some universities add a fee (roughly between £1,000 and £3,000 tuition).
Again, so grateful that you replied, and thank you for all your wisdom!

I really hope that story about destroying another person's model isn't true, that sounds horrible! Where did you take your foundation year? I would love to take mine in France in order to practice my French of course, but also because it's a beautiful country! It is however around £5500 which I'm not sure if that's like an okay amount, it does include free weekly French lessons aha! Do you recommend any places to do my Art Foundation Year, and do you know if unis like UCL like that sort of thing or not?

Also, I'm not sure if I will be accepted to any unis at the moment as I just feel like my portfolio won't be completed and/or up-to-standard in time. With that in consideration, would you suggest that I still try and apply this year anyway, and then if I get accepted, defer as you did... Or should I just re-apply next year with a much stronger portfolio thanks to my foundation year?

Again, how could I ever repay you!

Drop here!
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stevenpl24
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Sorry again, another Q:
Is it £22,000 per year!?!? (To study Architecture at the AA)
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evolvingarch
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"Foundation: (New students) £22,000

Experimental (BA Hons) and Diploma (MArch) Programmes £22,000" - AA Fees (per academic year)

All Universities love an Art Foundation, it basically teaches you first year (and more) before doing the first year and teaches you the correct developmental process for a project.

I studied Art and Design Foundation at Oxford Brookes, they have a very good architecture department and course so you can just focus on Architecture during your time there, I highly recommend it.

There is no harm in applying, gives a good gauge of things, obviously, you can reapply and bonus if they accept you anyway.
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autumnmomiji
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Hi evolvingarch, how did you find your 1 yr RIBA Foundation course offered by Oxford Brookes? I am keen to find out more from those who has done it. Thanks in advance
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xxx0xxxo
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Firstly, many architecture schools have a toxic competitive culture, unfortunately this an industry problem, as another user highlighted at the AA, the idea of starchitects, individuals, etc. All top architecture schools that market themselves as progressive are likely to have something similar. Just my view.

It's worth noting the recent news, i know the director of AA was recently fired for not performing to a certain standard.

I'm at the Bartlett and have friends at the AA, the work is of a similar standard. I always viewed AA as overpriced and relies on its private education status and past alumni too much, like a brand school. Students are drawn to the legacy of these schools as much as the current academic standards. I do feel like there is a bit more room for playfulness and colour in concepts at the Bartlett which i really like.

Bartlett was also listed at number 2 after MIT for architecture globally on one of the 2021 rankings.

My biased view maybe!
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evolvingarch
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(Original post by autumnmomiji)
Hi evolvingarch, how did you find your 1 yr RIBA Foundation course offered by Oxford Brookes? I am keen to find out more from those who has done it. Thanks in advance
Amazing! Great caring and comitted tutors (this was many years back). They were (to me and everyone else I knew) incredibly open minded and really helped them decide what route and university they wanted to go down.
I mentioned it further up the page, so I think that covers it! It's a shame it's not free anymore 😕 but I would still say very much worth it regardless!
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autumnmomiji
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Thank you evolvingarch for sharing your experience with them. They now charge £3000/year but I felt welcome by their response so far as a mature student with children. "Open mind" is exactly the air I too felt. Did you take RIBA Foundation with them then moved onto Part 1 elsewhere transferring the certificate obtained to more UCAS unis/AA alike? Thanks again
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evolvingarch
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(Original post by autumnmomiji)
Thank you evolvingarch for sharing your experience with them. They now charge £3000/year but I felt welcome by their response so far as a mature student with children. "Open mind" is exactly the air I too felt. Did you take RIBA Foundation with them then moved onto Part 1 elsewhere transferring the certificate obtained to more UCAS unis/AA alike? Thanks again
No, I simply took their Art and Design Foundation. In terms of skills etc, I would recommend that over an RIBA accredited course. You will learn everything you need at University.
The massive advantage you will get through art foundation is allowing yourself to experiment and explore different media and techniques (I'm talking retrospectively here).
When I was there they had a few mature students, it's perfectly normal and everyone is treated equally (as long as you are socially engaging ofcourse).
£3,000 is definitely worth it imo, the only hurdle beyond that is accommodation. I only had two choices which were Crescent Hall (cheap option, not great) and the other hall further down the road which was too expensive (£170 ish pw). If you have an alternative option, I would personally recommend that 😉
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autumnmomiji
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(Original post by evolvingarch)
No, I simply took their Art and Design Foundation. In terms of skills etc, I would recommend that over an RIBA accredited course. You will learn everything you need at University.
The massive advantage you will get through art foundation is allowing yourself to experiment and explore different media and techniques (I'm talking retrospectively here).
When I was there they had a few mature students, it's perfectly normal and everyone is treated equally (as long as you are socially engaging ofcourse).
£3,000 is definitely worth it imo, the only hurdle beyond that is accommodation. I only had two choices which were Crescent Hall (cheap option, not great) and the other hall further down the road which was too expensive (£170 ish pw). If you have an alternative option, I would personally recommend that 😉
Thanks evolvingarch for your insight. I am really beginning to see the importance of taking up the Foundation and really have a go at experimenting with many variety of media, exploring and most importantly have fun getting your creativity going and learning the way to communicate your ideas before going on to further study architecture at undergraduate level.

I found your response encouraging and I am very grateful for that.
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autumnmomiji
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(Original post by xxx0xxxo)
Firstly, many architecture schools have a toxic competitive culture, unfortunately this an industry problem, as another user highlighted at the AA, the idea of starchitects, individuals, etc. All top architecture schools that market themselves as progressive are likely to have something similar. Just my view.

It's worth noting the recent news, i know the director of AA was recently fired for not performing to a certain standard.

I'm at the Bartlett and have friends at the AA, the work is of a similar standard. I always viewed AA as overpriced and relies on its private education status and past alumni too much, like a brand school. Students are drawn to the legacy of these schools as much as the current academic standards. I do feel like there is a bit more room for playfulness and colour in concepts at the Bartlett which i really like.

Bartlett was also listed at number 2 after MIT for architecture globally on one of the 2021 rankings.

My biased view maybe!
Thank you for sharing your views that only comes directly from your experience and time at Bartlett, xxx0xxxo!
I particularly found it interesting when you said that at Bartlett there is more room for playfulness/colour in concepts. I am always very impressed with the work on social media from Bartlett. How high standard it seems and also very diverse and fun! On that note, I will be plugging in to Online Virtual Open Day at Bartlett now. Thank you again!
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