AA São Paulo Visiting School

2010 – 2014





For the first time in Brazil, architects from the computation department, CO|DE of Zaha Hadid Architects, Shajay e Vishu Bhooshan, who are also professors of architecture in the Digital Research Laboratory (DR_L) of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, will teach how to program and use robots for the fabrication of architecture, for the 10-day design workshop of the Architectural Association Visiting School São Paulo, which will take place at the Fab Lab of the Escola de Bela Artes School of Architecture, from the 4th to the 13th of July, 2016.

This School intends to explore Computer Aided Design (CAD) as a means to enable architectural creativity whilst still responding to complex spatial and material performance constraints. The workshop will focus on the relations between contemporary design techniques, creative expression, software technology and its manifestation using Robotic Fabrication. It also seeks to use production-proven design methods and software platforms in a judicious mix with innovative research.

 We aim to continue both the exploration and streamlining of the multi-stage process of concept to physical manifestation and the agenda of exploring physics-based design methods, integration of form and structure, computational methods of optimisation for Robotic Fabrication and adaptation to local means, methods and craft.
We aim to design-build a sizeable prototype as part of the primary objective: ‘learning-by-doing’. The participants will be exposed to the same design tools, techniques and analysis methods as the ones used to design and build the prototype.






Raffles City, Hangzhou ©UNStudio

The city of São Paulo is characterized by an endless horizon of monolithic and non-descript towers. A newly instated City Master Plan promotes further vertical development by allowing for higher skyline and construction areas along public transportation corridors. Up until now, neighborhoods once characterized by two-story houses, gardens and ground- floor open shopfront programs, have been completely transformed by the introduction of fortressed monolithic residential and office towers, which lack any sort of urban street life.
The new master-plan, however, now requires buildings to have an open street façade to accommodate multiple programs.  Led by tutors from UNStudio (www.unstudio.com), the AA Visiting School São Paulo will address the changes being prescribed by the new masterplan through the redefinition of the tower typology in the extending of the ground of street culture, green landscapes and ecological mediation along the vertical axis of these buildings. For this, the workshop will teach advanced digital design, including Rhino and Grasshopper, and fabrication techniques, using the laser cutter and 3d printer,  to explore a series of novel differentiating structural and environmental organizations in the redefinition of the São Paulo skyscraper.  For any queries, please email:  brazilvisitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk

                                                                                                                                     su11 Changeling

São Paulo, Brazil, South America

July 22nd -31st, 2014

During the intense ten-day workshop of the AA São Paulo Visiting School 2014, advanced computational design and digital fabrication will be used to generate speculative new architecture models in the creation of a ‘liquid design’ that can mediate multiple-scale flows. The workshop will explore the redevelopment of a bordering territory along the Marginal Rivers of São Paulo, where in the 1960’s, much of the water-system was disastrously canalized, causing problematic flooding and the creation of ill-conceived residual post-industrial riverbanks that are inhabited by monolithic, large-scale programs such as sports centers, distribution centers, mega-stores and a convention center.   The Visiting School São Paulo will work on bringing a new urban life for these sites by redefining the existing macro-architectural typologies along the river with micro-scale interventions that can introduce new flows of urban street culture. Specifically, the workshop will focus on the reinvention of the large-scale market distribution center, CEAGESP (Companhia de Entrepostos e Armazéns Gerais de São Paulo), to introduce programs and structures that could mediate a new movement of people, commerce, and environmental forces using parametric design and fabrication.  Students can choose to work either at the larger architectural scale or at the scale of the shop-front display, bringing a new contemporary interface between agricultural production and consumption.

AA São Paulo Visiting School

“Liquid Urbanism”
July 16th – July 25th, 2013
FILE – International Festival of Electronic Language

The premise of the 2013 São Paulo Visiting School is to re-define urban architecture through creating a symbiotic fusion between landscape, infrastructure and building design.  Workshops, lectures and seminars will challenge the environmentally destructive urban planning of the 1960’s local government of São Paulo, which destroyed major water systems to build a network of macro-scaled roadways and zoning divisions, which has caused flooding, pollution and urban decay.  Instead, the Visiting School promotes an intricate integration of natural eco-systems within new multi-modal interfaces connecting urban transport and building infrastructures. This will be achieved through the use of advanced computational design incorporating parametric design and interactive media, to create highly responsive landscape-urban systems.

Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica – FILE at Instituto Cervantes
10-19 JULY 2012

The Barra Funda district of São Paulo was once characterised by a vibrant mix of small industrial, commercial and residential programmes, but over time, as economic policies have favoured agglomerated, larger production industries, numerous companies have abandoned the area and moved to the periphery or even abroad. In response to this decentralisation, the workshop proposes the creation of new types of smaller industries to produce a mix of both consumption and production within the centre, manifested through micro-manufacturing interventions that can co-exist alongside retail and housing. At its core will be the idea that computational design and digital fabrication can be used to help create these new micro-industries, which in turn will help empower local craftsman to produce and sell directly to consumers through micro-manufacturing, located in small urban workshops implanted within the centre district.

Bienal Internacional de Arquitetura de São Paulo
29/11/2011 – 02/12/2011

Extending the São Paulo High-Low Visiting School, this four-workshop programme will focus on the 1:1 fabrication design of an interactive pavilion for the 2012 International Festival of Electronic Language (F.I.L.E.). To be located along Avenida Paulista, the aim is to create an interactive and supple design, using recursive scripting, associative modelling, processing and Arduino with digital fabrication. Based on the Strings Pavilion design of the 2011 High-Low workshop, the pavilion will react to light sensors and human activity, so as to transform and create a range of different lighting and spatial effects, triggering further movement of the pavilion and producing an interactive feedback loop of behaviour and response.

Festival Internacional de Linguagem Eletrônica – FILE
12–21 JULY 2011

The aim of this programme is to rehabilitate environments, populations and materials through the use of innovative computational ecological design and digital fabrication processes. With these tactics we will define a new generation of digital design that employs both high-tech and low-tech strategies. Parametric design generation and digital fabrication techniques will be used to computationally redesign low-tech building strategies, mixing high-tech exper­tise with local labour knowledge. One objective of the workshop is to transform sustainable design strategies so as to bring to ecological design a new aesthetic and social agenda.

AA – NAi Design Workshop São Paulo
16 – 24 July 2010

The goal of the joint Architectural Association and Netherlands Institute of Architects (AA- NAi) Design Workshop in São Paulo is to explore the rehabilitation of otherwise obsolete, residual and overlooked urban environments, communities and physical materials, through critical urban analysis seminars, as well as through the use of innovative computational design and digital fabrication processes. With the impetus provided by the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, the organisers, sponsors and local micro-agencies seek ways in which sports culture can transform troubled urban environments. In response, so to encourage grassroots sports participation, this Workshop will design and produce prototypes for outdoor sports facilities under the viaducts in the impoverished and multi-ethnic Glicério neighbourhood of São Paulo.