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


Courtesy of AA Athens Visiting School 2014 – Photo credits: Alice Mangoyan

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.


Courtesy of AA Athens Visiting School 2014 – Photo credits: Alice Mangoyan

On its’ third cycle, AA Athens Visiting School evolved and took upon the task to create a one-to-one scale architectural prototype which demonstrates connectivity, adjustability and interaction. After being Recharged in 2013, Cipher City got equipped to challenge once more the motionless, static built environment by implementing innovative design Revolutions.


Courtesy of AA Athens Visiting School 2014

Revolutions in design that can transform the inactive built space into an active environment, revolutions which generate atmospheric ambience through forms that are characterized by motion and real-time reaction to external stimuli. Revolving around interconnectivity on various levels, the program involved separate teams experimenting on different proposals for a kinetic/interactive pathway. After a series of design ideas, the AA Athens VS 2014 concluded with an interactive installation, named Kinetic Haze, which is expressive of a method that involves innovation and combinatory thinking.


This interactive prototype redefines the concept of the architectural pathway. Standing tall at 2.5 meters, 1.2 meters wide and 4.5 meters long, the structure includes a system that has the ability to detect movements. Made of fixed wooden frames and elastic strings that rotate and stretch, the prototype is wired with sensors and actuators. At first, the path appears to be obstructed by the net of strings that run from one side of the structure to the other. The patterning of the woven elastic cords is designed strategically in order to affect the visual perception of a person crossing through the model. Two different sets of panels comprise the final piece; interactive panels and pattern panels. While a person approaches the pathway, the system gets activated by the user’s presence. This acts as the external stimulus that sets the model in different states according to the movement of people. The life-like large-scale prototype bears the behaviour signature of that of primal organism. A complex sort of behaviour which arises out of a multiplicity of relatively simple rules; when there is only a single user the prototype is put in a hostile state, with its flexible muscle-type strings vibrating nervously, blocking the entrance.


Courtesy of AA Athens Visiting School 2014 – Photo credits: Alice Mangoyan

When a second user appears, the system is reset into a friendly mode allowing for the users to enter its space. The connections rotate and lift gently the elastic cords in order for the two users to walk in and meet. Time and light are also essential in the generation of the desired effects; the system designed to augment the user’s experience of its space. It is by time that the central brain of the structure activates a vivid flickering of lights, thus communicating with its’ users the need to move out. Kinetic Haze acts as an experimental architectural piece that promotes communication of the humans with the structure as well as communication of humans with other humans through the structure. It is the result of the collective work done in less than 5 days by the participants of AA Athens VS 2014. All teams presented their respective design proposals, the basic principles of which were applied in the design and make of the Kinetic Haze.


Courtesy of AA Athens Visiting School 2014 – Photo credits: Alice Mangoyan



Wednesday 03 – Friday 12 June 2015

In 2015, the AA Athens Visiting School initiates its’ agenda, in collaboration with AKTO, to challenge the phenomenon of perceptual constancy through the design of architectural prototypical families. In line with the basic principles of the Gestalt principles, a diversity of shapes and sizes models will be designed through means of digital computation. Various morphologies will be derived through a bottom-up approach via various coding techniques. To bridge the gap between the digital and physical aspect of the design iterations, AA Athens makes use of digital fabricating machines to produce its’ architectural prototypes and adds mechanics to amplify their communicative characteristics. A complete 1:1 scale structure will be constructed, enabling interaction via sight, hearing and touch as a result of a series of initial testing models. These proposals will be formulated through the combination of different design software.

The programme is organized in a two-stage process:

Stage 1: Participants gain an understanding of formation processes in nature, coupled with core concepts related to design 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 Athens VS will perform as a team-based programme promoting collaboration and research. Participants will be introduced to advanced fabrication techniques.

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

The design agenda of AA Athens is linked to the AA Istanbul Visiting School, thus directly creating feedback on one another, allowing participation in either one or both Programmes.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed:

  • Participants become 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 Athens includes but is not limited to Rhinoceros, Processing, and Grasshopper, as well as analysis software.
  • Participants gain access to digital fabrication tools such as 3-axis CNC router, laser-cutter, and 3d-printer.
  • Design seminars and lecture series support the key objectives of the programme, disseminating fundamental design techniques and relevant critical thinking methodologies.


The workshop is open to architecture and design students and professionals worldwide.

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 Athens and AA Istanbul 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 27 May 2015. No portfolio or CV, only requirement is the online application form and fees. The online application can be reached from:


Contact details

Alexandros Kallegias (AA Athens Visiting School Programme Director):

[email protected]

AA Visiting School Coordinator:

Email: [email protected]

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