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The international workshop AA Visiting School “Form as Unknown (x)” will take place from 17 to 26 October in Rome, Italy. The event is arranged by the Architectural Association School (AA), London. The programme is directed by Lorenzo Vianello, architect at Foster and Partners, and Arturo Tedeschi, architect and independent researcher. The 10 day workshop will be held by the two directors with Lawrence Friesen, tutor at the AA, and Fulvio Wirz, lead architect at Zaha Hadid Architects. The debate will focus on the design of parametric structures and will involve cutting-edge theories and techniques. The latter will be redeveloped in continuity with the experiments of the past of Italian origin, with particular reference to the pioneering works by engineer Sergio Musmeci. The “Roman vocation” to minimum structure, confirmed by the structural masterpieces ranging from the Pantheon to Pierluigi Nervi’s works, will get investigated and reinterpreted.


The AA Rome Visiting School is a 10-day workshop that aims to investigate form-finding techniques and structural design through digital computation. Students will discuss the idea of “form as unknown” pursued by Sergio Musmeci. According to the design methodologies of the Roman engineer, the structural form is not derived from an articulation of geometries drawn according to the practice and intuition, but it is the result of a computational process: “Science must serve the invention and not the verification, it must lead to the discovery of the optimum geometry […] for a given system of external forces”. The purpose of the workshop is to develop strategies that can generate the parametric form in response to a “system of external forces” interpreted not only in static terms, but derived from local, environmental and space usability conditions. The workshop will be structured into three main stages with the aim of achieving innovative solutions to many design themes proposed by the tutors. The first phase includes a series of digital modeling and parametric design techniques alternated with lectures. In the second phase, based on the methods acquired, the students will develop in groups their projects, using analog and digital techniques. They will join experiments based on physical models to definition of advanced algorithmic tools. In the last phase, the digitally fabricated models will be tested to evaluate their real structural performance and tectonic articulation.


The workshop is open to architecture, engineering and design students and professionals worldwide. No previous experience in computational design and digital fabrication is needed; the workshop will offer both introductory instruction for beginners and advanced instruction for experienced users.


The deadline for entries is 3 October 2012.

The online application form can be found at the address: https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/STUDY/ONLINEAPPLICATION/visitingApplication.php?schoolID=139 Specific questions can be sent to: rome@aaschool.ac.uk

Please note that the number of seats is limited and applicants are encouraged to contact the AA in a short time to confirm their participation.


The AA Rome Visiting School requires a fee of £722 per participant payable at the Architectural Association School in the manner described at: https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/STUDY/ONLINEAPPLICATION/visitingApplication.php?schoolID=139. The registration fee includes £60 of Visiting Student Membership.

Programme directors

Lorenzo Vianello, architect, has been working at many International offices, including OMA, Studio Fuksas, UNStudio and currently Foster and Partners. From 2009 to 2011 he attended the AA DRL post-professional design programme with Patrik Schumacher.

Arturo Tedeschi, architect, complemented professional practice in Italy with a personal research on parametric design and form-finding techniques. In 2010 he published “Parametric Architecture with Grasshopper” and started teaching workshops on parametric design.

Programme directors: Lorenzo Vianello, Arturo Tedeschi E rome@aaschool.ac.uk

Web Sites http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/STUDY/VISITING/rome