The Architectural Association Visiting School in Istanbul is part of the AI research agenda, investigating design possibilities of architectural modelling via scripting and digital fabricating techniques at large scale models.

AA Athens | Istanbul Visiting School (AI) defines architecture as “an art of super-positioning ideas, architectural principles which are being performed repeatedly”. Its’ foundations lie on combining theory and practice and shared knowledge, with the goal of going beyond individuality and address today’s challenges via dialogue.

In its third year, the AA Istanbul Visiting School, Vertical Interventions, in collaboration with Istanbul Technical University, continued to rediscover verticality through novel generative design techniques and large-scale physical prototypes. The programme amplified the concept of verticality in a city which is continuously being populated by towers, altering its skyline and urban fabric.



Courtesy of AA Istanbul Visiting School

During AA Istanbul 2013, the concepts and techniques of how to generate a building envelope which can respond to interrelated design criteria were investigated. As such, the primary aim has been to create a multi-performance façade system, a transition between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’, by the precise implementation of advanced generative design and digital prototyping techniques. In this process, the correlations between separate sets of performance criteria and evaluation methods are analysed, leading to the generation of unified design alternatives for a facade system topology. In addition to the custom-made digital design and evaluation tools supporting the core methodology, Vertical Interventions also highlights the fabrication and assembly of large scale working prototypes realizing the performative characteristics of each proposal in examination. With digital computation as backbone, generative design approaches are the means to undertake these design tasks. The toolset of AA Istanbul 2013 has included Rhinoceros, Processing, and Grasshopper.


Courtesy of AA Istanbul Visiting School


Courtesy of AA Istanbul Visiting School

The sites for all student projects are situated in Taksim Square, located in the European part of Istanbul, which is a major transportation hub and popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The initial investigations of design teams have begun with analyzing their sites in Taksim Square by taking into consideration various functional, contextual, and environmental factors which the envelope is expected to respond to in order to differentiate its material and geometrical organization. The results of these analyses have served as design inputs for each design team’s façade system.



Courtesy of AA Istanbul Visiting School



Monday 15 – Wednesday 24 June 2015 

Continuing its expertise on generative design methodologies and large-scale prototyping techniques, the programme will investigate patterns of emergence, differentiation and complexity in natural formation processes which will be transformed to digital simulation platforms for design purposes. In contemporary architectural processes, a significant diversion from linear parametric tools towards generative design simulations is taking place. The design and analysis processes will reflect this shift by focusing on simulations, whereby attention will be kept on the process of design generation as opposed to the final form itself. The design agenda of the programme will revolve around the design and fabrication of a one-to-one scale pavilion.

The programme will be formulated as a two-phase process:

Stage 1: Participants will gain an understanding of formation processes in nature, coupled with core concepts related to complexity. During this stage, basic and advanced tutorials on generative design algorithms and analysis tools will be provided. Building on its core methodology from its previous versions, AA Istanbul VS will perform as a team-based workshop promoting collaboration and research. Participants will be introduced to advanced fabrication techniques.

Stage 2: Participants will propose design interventions based on the skills and knowledge gained during the first stage. Study models of various scales will be produced, finally followed by the fabrication and assembly of a full scale working prototype which unifies the design goals of the programme.

The design agendas of AA Athens and AA Istanbul Visiting Schools will directly create feedback on one another, allowing participation in either one or both Programmes.

Prominent features of the programme / skills developed:

  • Participants will be part of an active learning environment where the large tutor to student ratio (4:1) allows for personalized tutorials and debates.
  • The toolset of AA Istanbul includes but is not limited to Rhinoceros, Processing, and Grasshopper, as well as analysis software.
  • Participants will have access to digital fabrication tools such as 3-axis CNC router, laser-cutter, and 3d-printer.
  • Design seminars and lecture series will support the key objectives of the programme, disseminating fundamental design techniques and relevant critical thinking methodologies.



The workshop is open to current architecture and design students, PhD candidates and young professionals.


Participants receive the AA Visiting School Certificate with the completion of the Programme.


The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £600 per participant, which includes a £60 Visiting Membership fee. Discount options for groups or for those wishing to apply for both AA Istanbul and AA Athens Visiting Schools are available. Please contact the AA Visiting School Coordinator for more details. Alternatively, you can find more information on discounts from the link below:

The deadline for applications is 08 June 2015. No portfolio or CV, only requirement is the online application form and fees. The online application can be reached from:

Contact details

Elif Erdine (AA Istanbul Visiting School Programme Director)

Email: [email protected]

AA Visiting School Coordinator:

Email: [email protected]

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