Sight to Site


The AA Foundation course is a one-year introduction to an art- and design-based education. It allows students to develop their conceptual ideas through experiments with a wide range of media and creative disciplines in an intimate studio-based environment. The course seeks to develop the intellectual and process-based abilities of each individual while simultaneously introducing each individual to themselves: their own interests, passions, aspirations and inspirations. Once confident and articulate about their particular approach, students can readily galvanise their own critique, drive and skills to more successfully pursue education in various creative disciplines. Drawing on a number of pedagogical practices, experienced tutors and visiting practitioners, the Foundation offers a unique cross-disciplinary education within the context of an architectural school.

We identified 1:1 sites across the school, made sketch surveys, drawings and models of complex junctions, cast them and extracted the fragments for further examination. We occupied modernist apartments in central London over periods of 24 hours, measured their volumes, made speculative filmic narratives about fictional events, documented views and bore witness to the shift of light across these volumes as night fell and in turn as darkness was consumed by dawn. In Lugo we found the Madonna and child suspended in the modernist grid of a reflected bank, and in Villa Saraceno we processed along axes, examined volume and material and documented how the building leaked light as it was consumed by the fall of a misty autumn night. We absorbed the architecture biennale and basked in the coloured facades of the island of Burano.

We carved out routes through London and identified buildings with intriguing histories. We knitted in Fitzrovian workhouses and explored histories of unrest in Brixton. We made physical both the horrors of war and pleasures of dance. We filmed in the footsteps of famous twentieth-century figures, recreating their shadows against walls that had regularly witnessed their wanderings. We made garments steeped with texts written in espresso and animated a ski trip across the hills of Hooke park. We cast bomb damage from the walls of buildings and explored the voids left by this violent energy bathed in white dust.

Khaled Al-bashir Anna Aleshkina
Nena Aru
Muqing Bai
Esther  Brizard
Won Ho Chi
Luke Decker
Katarzyna Dobrowolska
Tera Elabboud
Jia Long Feng
Oussama Garti
Jeremy Gaunt
Philip Gharios
Theodora Giovanazzi
Amalia-Anastasia Gisca-Chitac
Kwang Yi Goh
Liam Hayes
Amaya Hernandez
Gaoqian Jiang
Lito Karamitsou
Jun Wei Koh
Katia Lechaczynski
Li Li
Leonard Liao-briere
Irina Elena Mania
Alexandru Mitea
Atiehsadat Naghavi
Dara Nerweyi
Jihane-may Slaoui
Shlok Soni
Zaina Sweidan
Maroussia Tasiaux
Ezgi Terzioglu
Taek Gyun Won
Sarochinee Wongchotsathit

Many thanks to our consultants and critics 

Eduardo Andreu Gonzalez
Daniel Ayat
Sue Barr
Andre Baugh                                       
Pascale Berthier                                              
Mark Campbell                                                                                                                       
Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange
Kleopatra Chelmi
Fenella Collingridge                                                                                                                
Charlie Corry Wright
Georgie Corry Wright
Alison Crawshaw  
Albane Duvillier                                                                                     
Trevor Flynn
Raluca Grada                                                                                                                    
Juliet Haysom                                                                                                 
Antoni Malinovski                                                                                                             
Clare Macdonald                                                                                                                
Flora McLean                                                                                                                    
Sara Muzio
Francesco Neri                                                                                                                               
Joel Newman      
Luca Nostri
Jessica Pappalardo                                                                                                            
Chris Pierce
Fearghus Raftery                                                                                                                             
Julian Roberts
Lewis Ronald
Matthew Rice
Heikki Salonen                                                                                                                                              
Brett Steele  
Terrence Taehyuk Kim    
Sylvie Taher                                                                                                                 
Trys Smith
Vere Van Gool

Unit Staff

Saskia Lewis has taught at the AA since 2001. She has practised in New York, Paris and London and has taught at many London schools of art and architecture. She is co-author and photographer of Architectural Voices: Listening to Old Buildings (2007).

Umberto Bellardi Ricci studied Social Anthropology and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies. After working in different fields, he completed his diploma at the AA and has worked for various architectural practices. He directs his own studio as well as the AA Visiting School in Las Pozas, Mexico.

Taneli Mansikkamäki worked in the fields of music, media art and new media before relocating from Helsinki to London. He graduated from the AA and after working for Future Systems, Amanda Levete Architects and Cecil Balmond, amongst others, he is currently directing the studio Mansikkamäki+JOY.