Housing & Urbanism

Housing & Urbanism


The Housing and Urbanism (H&U) Programme engages architecture with the challenges of contemporary urban strategies. Metropolitan regions show great diversity and complexity, with significant recent global shifts in the patterns of urban growth and decline. Architecture has a central role to play in this dynamic context, developing spatial strategies as part of urban policies, and generating new urban clusters and types. Housing is explored both as a major critical aspect of urbanism and as a means to reflect upon changing ideas of living space and domesticity, identity and public space.

Offering a 12-month MA and a 16-month MArch, the programme engages with cross-disciplinary research as well as design application work. It combines design workshops, lectures and seminars, and a final MA thesis or MArch project. The programme explores the interplay between graphic tools and writing in order to develop ideas and research about the urban condition, and to develop skills for intervening as urbanists through spatial design. 
There are three current research themes of H&U work:

  • the role of urbanism in enhancing innovation environments and knowledge-based clusters;
  • the idea of living space and housing, and issues of mix, density and urban intensification in which architecture is viewed dynamically in relation to a process of urbanisation;
  • the exploration of an appropriate urbanism to address urban irregularity and informality and to engage with the interaction of spatial strategies and urban social policies.

This year’s design workshops explored several of London’s major redevelopment areas while also undertaking work in Recife, Brazil, in collaboration with the Federal University of Pernambuco. These workshops have addressed the processes of urban development related to knowledge-based economies and the potential for synergies between existing and new urban cultures. The programme’s work was complemented by a study visit to Sweden. As with previous years, the work of the H&U programme forms the foundation for international collaborations and publications.


Luiz Amorim
Jose de Souza Brandao
Alfredo Brillembourg
Ricky Burdet
Kathryn Firth
Ruurd Gietema
Sascha Haselmayer
Sam Jacoby
Jonathan Kendall
Evelyne Labanca
Jo McCafferty
Roberto Muniz
Alessandro Rizzo
Jonathan Rose
Junia Santa Rosa
Antje Saunders
Patrik Schumacher
Simon Smithson
Peter Thomas
Carlos Villanueva Brandt
Juliana Muniz Westcott
John Worthington

Unit Staff

Jorge Fiori is a sociologist and urban planner. He studied in Chile and has worked in academic institutions there and in Brazil and England. He lectures internationally and consults with numerous urban development agencies. He researches housing and urban development, focusing on the interplay of spatial strategies and urban social policy.

Hugo Hinsley is an architect with expertise in urban development projects, housing design and community-led co-developments. He has been a consultant to projects in Europe, Australia and the US. Research includes design and planning in Docklands and Spitalfields and urban policy and structure in European cities.

Lawrence Barth lectures on urbanism and political theory, and writes on politics and critical theory in relation to the urban. He is a consultant urbanist to architects, cities and governments on large-scale projects. He is also engaged in research on urban intensification, inno- vation environments and the transformation of workspace in the knowledge economy.

Abigail Batchelor is an architect and urban geographer. Having practised in Holland and UK, her specialism is the architectural, urban and socio-eco- nomic challenges of large-scale urban redevelopment. Recent projects include housing design guidance for Hackney Borough Council and Liveable London project with CPRE London.

Nicholas Bullock studied architecture at Cambridge University and completed a PhD under Leslie Martin. His research work includes issues of housing reform with a special interest in Germany, postwar housing design and policy, and the architecture and planning of reconstruction after the Second World War.

Florian Dirschedl is an architect and urban designer. After studying architecture and urban planning in Munich, Delft and the AA, he worked on a number of housing schemes and masterplans in Germany and has taught architecture and urbanism at the Technical University in Munich. He is currently project architect in an international design practice on projects in France and the UK.

Elad Eisenstein is Director at Arup and the leader for urban design and masterplanning for the UK, Middle East and Africa. He is an architect and an urban designer with an MA in Housing & Urbanism from the AA. He has experience in designing and delivering a wide range of projects with sustainable placemaking at their core, including new eco- cities, large-scale metropolitan centres, and complex city centre sites.

Dominic Papa is an architect and urban designer involved in practice, teaching and research. He is a founding partner of the practice s333 Studio for Architecture and Urbanism. He is a design review panel member for CABE and has been a jury member for a number of international competitions.

Anna Shapiro is an architect and urbanist, who studied architecture and urban planning at Tel Aviv University and completed an MA with distinction in Housing & Urbanism at the AA. She has worked for a range of architectural practices, and is currently an urban designer with Sheppard Robson Architects. She is part of Collective Formations, an international design research group.

Alex Warnock-Smith is an architect and urban designer, with experience in practice, teaching and research. He is cofounder of Urban Projects Bureau, a multidisciplinary practice working on architectural, urban and public realm projects. UPB were recently selected by the British Council as one of ten teams to exhibit at the British Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale 2012.

Naiara Vegara has an AA Diploma and is a registered architect. She is currently the Director of Fundation Metropoli "Design LAAB" London, working at the scales of Urban Design, Landscape and Architecture; and Director of the AA Visiting School Semester Programme in London. Naiara has been a Visiting Critic at many architecture schools, and has presented her research on Virtual Environments and the Design Process in Architecture at workshops at the Universities of Columbia, Princeton and Pennsylvania in the USA.