Students on site, 2016, AA VS GRANADA

Irrigation Nation

Irrigation Nation is a two-week, experimental architecture course organised as a part of the Visiting School programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. The programme transports architectural design back to its origins, by tackling social-agricultural realities.



Climate change mitigation is the most critical human endeavour of the 21st century, widely agreed by scientists. Resisting the current predicted evolution of a dystopian future, involves reassessment and redesign of every aspect of civilisation. A mere 3% of the planet’s water is fresh, of which 60% is concealed in glaciers and unavailable locations. Only 1% is designated for human uses with over two thirds of that used up for agricultural and land uses (growing food and raising animals), also currently responsible for roughly a quarter of human emissions.

With climate change forecasts painting unforgiving landscapes, extreme weather conditions and temperature irregularities, we face an uncertain future, less fruitful in natural resources. Through necessity, we will return to a rural existence, forming communities of localised skills to provide a rich tapestry of future/ancient technologies, tools and methods. Each family will be required to adapt and re-invent how it provides shelter and sustenance, re-thinking its water usage, agricultural methods, materials, forms and structures to create more efficient, self-sustaining systems. To ensure our ecosystems thrive, architecture and infrastructure will need to evolve holistic design approaches, whilst farmers embrace more efficient methods such as silvopasture and permaculture to improve both yields and the environment simultaneously.

Designing and building for the dystopian family of 2030, this year’s students will propose new solutions for living architecture spaces, designing anything from a mushroom spore laboratory, microbrewery, bee hive sugar shack, meditation round house or a forest school lecture space. Borrowing from biomimicry principles, we will focus on studies of kinetic and responsive architecture, building/planting 1:1 scale prototypes.

Join us in 2019 for Irrigation Nation, Galicia, “the land of a thousand rivers” with lush vegetation and verdant forests, a continuation of Waterworks, AA VS Granada, to peel back architecture from the root up. Plant, grow and build your proposal, unearthing living architecture techniques. Burrow under the surface of ecosystems and bio-cycles, observing and absorbing the natural world, to inspire resourceful design.


2017 Granada Visiting School Experience


The Galicia Visiting School opens a platform for both local and international students to explore and interact with water management and innovative living architecture design solutions for the local inhabitants of Galicia at the micro scale and Europe as a nation at the macro scale.


The course is open to varying fields and occupations; we accept students from varying backgrounds such as; engineering, graphic – artistic design, architecture, scientists, horticulturalists. Collaboration is key and the course seeks to involve a dynamic array of fields at varying levels of professional development.