TU Delft, AA, Milan Polytechnic, KADK, IAAC, AHO any advice


Hello all, 

Any thoughts and experience will help a lot!  All my knowledge is from web, from books and from here) No friends, studying abroad, no architectural family, teachers know nothing((

I am doing my Bachelor degree in Moscow, and I want to get a degree/knowledge, that will lead to a good career opportunities all around the world. So the cheap price, the accommodation are not so important. So:

1. AA, EMTECH. I am still wondering, is this one better, than DRL, but it has individual projects, good technology base, strong community. And the name, of course. Bad - no chance to find a job and no accreditation

2. TU Delft  - WHY factory, good technology base, real-life projects, a lot of great teams around Netherlands. But maybe ordinary skills.

3. IAAC - great team and tutors from all around the world, 100% good area of education, the lab. But no accreditation, no chance to find a job

4. Polimi - the cheapest, international. My last choice by now.

I have acceptance letter also from AHO, and waiting for KADK CITA, UCL and Barlett. But I am not sure about these (and Bjarke made the KADK too popular with any reason, in my opinion).

If someone or a few of you could give me your thoughts or share experience on any of the schools listed, that would be great!   Thank you a lot.

May 12, 16 3:11 pm

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Hi! I can't say for sure, it is just my opinion and decision. I had an offer from AA EmTech, iAAc and UTokyo (Obuchi Lab).

But I had to take money into consideration (fees and accommodation) to think about life quality and ability to do projects. After all, imagine if I did not have money to pay materials for models and printing? Besides, I did not wanted to spend all my money + my family money since although education is really important, sometimes it is not worth getting yourself in debt.

If you really want AA, I've heard that it is better to do the Diploma Unit since it can lead to accreditation in UK. But I do not know the details. Also, do you want to work in Russia or anywhere? Think about this as well, and the problem related to work visas.

In the end my choice is Tokyo. The university is not as known as AA, but I enjoyed what they are designing there, the fees and life costs (they help with accommodation). Also the chance to life in a different atmosphere and life phylosophy (if does sound naive, but this is important for me). I know that I will have problems in Japan but hey, this is part of life.

Also about jobs, AA can help you since it's network is AMAZING. But see if the EmTech grduates work in areas you are interested about. I like designing and construction, going to the field and having to deal with problems related to making the project real, and I sensed that EmTech although have workshops related to this, this is not the focus of the course. In Japan I feel that there is experimentation and reality. (Sorry if I am writing in confuse terms hahaha). And they told me that I will able to find a job in a office there if I get serious about learning japanese, as well have some nice contacts.

Since my final objective is to return to Brazil to work on my own and help with my local university (where I live and where I am an accredit architect), I think that this experience will be better for me. I can still try working in Europe, or USA.

In the end it really depends of what you want to do. You want a job, but in which area in the office? With what do you want to work? Look for the projects these universities are developing, send e-mails asking about jobs prospects, search for ex students (not just the ones that are on those big name offices, the ones that went on different paths as well) and see what clicks with your decisions.

Just to finish this, I do not think you can chose wrong between these options. Maybe others will say that I am wrong and I might be... But well, that's life.

May 12, 16 3:33 pm  · 

Oh also, I've felt a bigger connection with UTokyo, as silly as this may seem. We had an skype interview, they asked about projects I did on my jobs and university, talked about the Uni and asked about myself. Everything I need they answer by e-mail almost on the same day... It is like, I feel that they are giving me value not because I can pay but because they liked me and what I have to offer. I did an AA visiting school, and I really enjoyed and the staff was amazing and helped me with everything I needed. It was just a personal thing.

Again, silly, but it was something that helped with my decision.

May 12, 16 3:46 pm  · 

Thank you a lot, nrotelli! You're my hero today). I don't know how to reply here, so I'll wright this way.

I have read all the academic topics here carefully, so I remember, that you've chosen the UTokio instead of AA) Unfortunately, I have strong restriction to choose only Europe for my education (my family decided so) and Tokio wasn't in my list, but all your points are clear.

Firstly, I'm interested in new materials, robotics, fabrication and so on. That is the main reason to leave my home country - studying here is like learning how to ride a carriage when Musk is presenting new Tesla, you know :)  And I have not so much ambitions and experience to start my own practice after graduation. So about dream job - it is definitely abroad, in a big multicultural team (perfectly, haha), not so famous, maybe engineering, to gain a good experience (even I love my country so much and wonder to return later). I'm quite tired of Russian architects trying to to raise from the dead the corpse of Soviet Constructivism again and again). So, yes, my question was about the chances to find a job abroad after this unis generally. 

About AA, what do you mean by Diploma Unit? The 4th semester for the graduating project?  About the money - with the support I can afford it, feeling ashamed by spending it, but can) In addition, I don't know exactly how it looks like in Brazil, but for us not being in EU means that it is nearly impossible to get the scholarship and the Master's is very expensive anywhere. What's about the EMTECH course, I've chosen it instead of DRL exactly because I was afraid of good-looking parametric pics without any construction in it.

What's else about the unis in my list - of course, I've send plenty of emails to the universities, have spoken personally by skype and with the grads. But, honestly, no one of them can say something clear about the job - they are talking about the amaaazing career opportunities and send me a list with starchitects - grads. And it contains no real proposals in the end (I understand why - it depends on me and so on, but anyway). IAAC Russian grads have 2 tracks - some of them return to Russia and work not as an architect (one started 3d printing company or something like this, one makes robots), and other are working in IAAC as tutors (they organize IAAC summer school in Moscow). And it is the main reason not to go there for me by now. I know, that they have grads working for the Foster and Zaha, but what I see is quite different. KADK answers more about membership in Danish architectural association, but not about the contacts with somebody. So, I see it is more about  contacts and network, as you say.

AA seems sweet for me because it's hard. I can remember the girl, that was asked what she had learned in AA, and she answered "working hard". I felt in love with AA reading this) I don't believe in talent and believe in hard-working. The main question is worth it this money or it is just brand by now. And your own topic here was full of warnings not to go to AA, as you remember. 

Again, thank you a lot for your time and this reasonable opinion, and the time you spent . Excuse me for my not smooth and long answer. Oscar bless you)

May 12, 16 8:10 pm  · 

Hi! I think Brasil and Russia are quite similar, so I understand your struggle! I researched about AHO as well, but it seems that the Norway market is awful and quite hard to get in.

It is good that you also have a idea of your objectives! I am still strugling with this.

Oh, about the Diploma it is the last two years I believe, if you research better you can see the you leave with the Part 2, so it is better to get accreditation! The MsC/March is postprofessional, so it does not help with this. And Brazil is the same, I do not have scholarships nor anything, that's why I could still pay the fees BUT living in London would be an expense hard to deal with.

For me it seems that the AA is the best choice for you, the iAAc is good but it seems that the students have the same paths that the brazilians one I've met had: go back to Brazil. And I understand the questions about jobs, I was in the same boat, without concrete information.

I did two visiting schools from AA: Hook Park and other in London.They really work hard, and I enjoyed the school! They just don't have much space I think. Tokyo was just something that had a better connection with me right now. Maybe later I will go to do a MsC in the AA, who knows? As my parents who are helping me and giving me support said: there is no wrong choices with these universities. Unfortunately choosing means leaving the other options behind.

I do think that if you are able to pay the fees for the AA and live in London, you should go there. I do not think that it is just brand... although an ex-student said this about the Master programs, that the students just go there for the status and follow the agendas of the tutors.

Hahahah, I don't mind writing nor reading, specially because we are on the same place. If you want to talk more just to change info, just send me a message and we can trade e-mails!

May 12, 16 9:46 pm  · 

Thank you a lot again, nrotelli. I really feel, that you have the same problems and thoughts in general,  and you know, strange but sweet feeling, different continents, and so on) So your opinion appeals me, and AA is the first one for me now. if it will be not so cool, I have a chance to study a couple of weeks in CITA KADK or IAAC, as I know (they are friendly communities)

What's about the choice, that can't wrong - definitely you're right. I wish I could send my head to AA to learn, my arms to IAAC to print all this pretty stuff and my butt to KADK to sit there and to get this work permission, you know :)  

I've send you a message, of course, I'm interested)

Others, the ice of the first comment is broken, do not hesitate to write a couple of words.

May 13, 16 4:23 am  · 

Hello all,

Even I am on the same boat. 

I have got acceptance from Royal College of Art, London and Aarhus School of Architecture for the MA in Architecture course. I am finding it very difficult to pick one of them!

It would be of great help if anyone could tell me more about the colleges.



May 14, 16 10:42 am  · 

Hello there, I got accepted from aadrl, iaac, sac. On a waiting list for ETH dfab and Kadk CITA (2016) I'm going to DRL for many reasons - job opportunitis (very important to me) - city has many things to experience and see. - it is surrounded with many creative universities such as UCL , RCA - So I have much more chance to see other sections of works in AA and other uni. - it is quite expensive but I have worked for 7 years (2 on my own) so I got some savings with support from family and I think it is once in a life time experience, I have to choose for what I really like to do. - great facilities , tutors , professors - there are courses for the software skills to get students well prepared (rhino,gh,Maya,coding,3dsmax,etc) (school like sac doesn't have it) - there are some chances to work in a school while studying - I worried about group work as well but I think it is OK to learn new things. Do what I am not good at or never do before. (IaaC is a group work too), try to be optimistic about it. - I reached out to many alumni from ETH, DRL, EMTECH, IaaC, Kadk, Sac and I think I got a conclusion for myself to go DRL. - it is more than one year course ( I would like to spend as much time as possible, one year is too short ) - ETH is number 2 choice, but comparing Zurich to london, I think London has much more to experience and there is cheap way to live in. 2 of ETH alumni said so themself. - Been to Barcelona, thinking it is great for travelling but London has much more to see. IaaC credit can't compared to AA in my opinion + job opportunity is so low in bcn. - Kadk CITA , is in a great city , facilities are also great , the course has only 10-15 students, hard to find job because I can't speak denish, and still not announcing the results. The tuition fees+living cost calculated to be almost as expensive as AA. Those are what I researched and my thoughts on schools, I hope they are useful and helps. Sorry for my bad english.

May 16, 16 4:33 am  · 

Awww my list are all collapsed from separated lines into one paragraph by the forum.

May 16, 16 4:46 am  · 

Thank you a lot, nibakung, for your answer to my question on Archinect. You're so so kind! Thank you for your time thousand times!

It is a quite urgent question, so I thought it will be better to send a mail to you. It is similar to this comment). What you've heard about EMTECH? Why it is worse than DRL, in your opinion? Cos as I was saying, I'm still nervous about my decision to choose EMTECH instead DRL.

And, it will be a stupidity-first-prize question, but have I a chance to change a studio, if EMTECH will be too...focused on the physics and mechanics? I'm worried about my portfolio as a result, cos, you know, sometimes catchy pics and conceptions are better, then mathematical models to get a job.

P.S. Do not worry about your English, we're all on the same boat) And if you're 2016 AA student, It will be a pleasure to meet you in real :)

May 16, 16 5:25 am  · 

You are very welcome. I'm glad that my comment could help you or anybody. Actually, I don't think EMTECH is better or worse than DRL, it is just the choice of your preference. ( me also had to decide on these 2 before ) (hard to decide ,of course). Most of my friends and ex bosse encouraged me to join DRL and that effected my decisions a lot. I don't know how you get a chance to change the course, as I read the rule I cannot , haha. It is a hard decision to choose the course and university but for these 2, I don't think you will make any mistake. They are both great in my opinion. And yes let have contact and let's meet you are going there if you decide to go to AA ! ( why my comments always collapsed into a single paragraph, haha ). I have friend in EMTECH too. May be I can give you contact of her as well. Let's PM to get email address. Cheers, which you finally find your decision !

May 16, 16 6:58 am  · 

I don't think your portfolio would come out wrong on EMTECH too. Just browse it on issuu find some example of EMT students to see and decide by yourself. Also if the work is great, the great people will know, don't worry about that. If they see your future great work in your future portfolio (this one is optimistic option if we could get out of the school great, haha) and they don't realise it, don't work for them. Cheers !

May 16, 16 7:04 am  · 

Hi again, nibakung. As I said, I've send email to you, so check it, if you're interested. I'm looking forward to meet you. You're so cool, firstly because you look in the same direction (schools you was considering are exactly the same as mine), and  because you've worked so hard (7 years! 7! oh dear) to make your dream come true.

I had exactly the same thoughts! (I considered IOA also because of its 3 year long course). And the work opportunities, yes, the main point. 

You know, the decision was so hard between these ones!  I've send my materials in 3 minutes by the deadline, cos I couldn't decide until then. I was so nervous when my docs was downloading to the web portal that when I come back home, I checked my head for some grey hair))

Of course, It's a choice between two brilliant ones, and it depends on me, what would happen next to my graduation) No one school can make you an excellent architect only because you pay for it)

Thank you a lot! One more opinion to AA, and the decision is becoming more and more clear. 

and for anisha_5693.

Just my thoughts. Aarhus is quite...traditional school (it means those danish minimalistic shapes, natural materials, lines and one well-established style). It doesn't means, that it is bad, but if you want new technologies, materials, parametric (in Denmark, haha), it is obvious not your choice.

What is good: they are good in aesthetic and theoretical basis of their projects. Also the school is smaller and not so popular as KADK (Bjarke and Copen life, yes), and for me it was a good point - the community is stronger, and tutors care more. The alumni is friendly, I talked to them). And after the graduation you will have the membership in Danish Architectural Association and Danish work permit.

What is bad: it is not easy to find a job after graduation. They have 3 strong architectural school (KADK,Aarhus and Aalborg) and a lot of smaller (Horsens polytechnic and so on) in their small country. The school is not international (have no strong connection with another architectural schools and small network). And, for the last, you will have to learn danish (cos even I've spoken to the international office, their English was poor even for me(( I can guess, it will be worse during the education). My opinion (just feeling) - it is prejudice about foreign students (cos only danish local  have "that" aesthetic feeling. Also they have a  lot of students, that continue their education Master's after Bachelor in the same school. So it will maybe hard to be in a strong old community as a new person. And the calmest city (If you're that guy, that sleep from 10 pm every day, you'd love it).

Resume - It worth it, if you adore Denmark and it's architecture and can't live without this country not a minute anymore (I know that feeling, I was like that :)

What's about Royal College of Art in London. Read all the points about London, that nibakung mentioned (a lot of schools around, vibrant city, a lot (really, for an every taste) architectural companies). It is true for your choice too. What I see - the school is well-known and open-minded, also have good network. What is not so cool - MA degree and their focus on conception and good-looking of the project (as a main pointt). But it is school about Art, so it is understandable, you know.

So, it worth it, if you have enough money (multiply by 1,5 or 2 your calculations, it will be like that), you want to work internationally after graduation, want more interesting contacts and are interesting in concept-making. If I was you, I'd pick London with all this mentioned.

Oh, and in Denmark there is a special list of professionals, that are welcome to move there. There is no an "architect" there, but an "engineer" and a "builder" are)

So,  anisha, I wish you well and let me know, if you'd have further questions. And others, please, join to the conversation!)

May 16, 16 9:21 am  · 

I have already sent you email, don't know if you got it or not. And hey anisha let's have contract as well if you decide to go to London , 3 of us.

May 16, 16 3:03 pm  · 

I was interested in IOA as well but I dropped it as 3 years is too long. I think 2 years in school and 1 year working is far more different for the same period of time spending. I chose the later. :)

May 16, 16 3:13 pm  · 

Same questions here, I have been accepted to KADK (free) and the AA (£££), and lately I heard a lot of negative comments about the AA which make me doubt about which school to choose

May 24, 16 4:07 am  · 

Hi, Armelle!

For you, I suppose, the decision is between:

KADK, if you prefer traditional architecture (or just simple shapes e.t.c.), and you really like the city and the country. New language and lifestyle - why not (if you lived in a noisy city before). But, just to point, in my calculations the price of the education was only 1/3 of the whole sum, becouse Copen is slightly equally in life expenses to London. But you'll have the Denmark's work permit , and even the competition between graduates is high, it is lower, than in London. Also, Henning Larsen, Monstrum and so on have KADK students as interns (you can see videos and read on their websites). So smooth and calm path to graduation)

AA - if you're obsessed with global ideas, or technologies and like experimental architecture. It will be a great challenge to find a job in UK (it is even smaller, than Denmark). I've heard some negative reviews too, but it depends on what do you want to get from this education, because AA is outside-determinated (like a friend of mine said, you will know from the AA facebook more, than from the actually lecture). PR, yes. but it can give you a lot of useful contacts, if you're be remarkable. If you're this kind of person, than all the negative comments will turn to positive for you.

I have chosen AA between this 2, but for me the price was equally. Let me know about your decision, and maybe we'll met in AA this autumn. Good Luck

May 24, 16 4:58 am  · 

Hi lena_shilova !

Thanks for taking the time to answer me !

If I decide to go to the AA I will need to postpone to 2017 to be able to have the funding for it. That is an other reason that makes me hesitate. I liked the AA a lot when I went there to visit it. 

Hard choice !!

May 24, 16 6:49 am  · 

lena_shilova Thank you so much for your insights. 

As far as Aarhus being traditional, I would like to know if they are open to projects focusing outside Denmark.

I would like to focus on contextual projects using local materials etc., after reading the school's philosophy I felt it inclined with my interests.

Also, I would like to know how reputed is the school, for job oppertunities. 

May 24, 16 7:10 pm  · 

Hi there, 

I just found this topic and it is quite useful for me, especially as I came into such a hesitation.  


I was accepted by  

1, AA MArch of Housing and Urbanism  16 months

2, KADK Urbanism and Societal Change - 2 years

3, UCL - Bartlett RIBA part2 (6 months pre master course is needed)

4, AHO - MArch 2.5 years.

5, Royal College of Art - MA 2 years

6, Aarhus School of Architecture, MArch for 2 years.

7, Polimi as well....


As for my design and research direction, I would prefer those goes deeply with theoretical and historical perspective. Parametric, or we say digital, architecture actually is not one of my interests. Besides I have to take funding issue into consideration, 80k pounds is as much as I can afford (including loans)...So, UCL and RCA is much too expensive, Maybe I would make a decision between AA, KADK, AHO. There isn't so much info about the AHO, but it is tuition fee free which is quite attracting....


Thank you in advance for your reply.

May 25, 16 11:24 pm  · 

Foxy Even I am on the same boat. I was acceoted by Columbia, Aarhus and RCA, but RCA and Columbia were  turning out to be too expensive for me. Do you have any info on Aarhus.

May 26, 16 8:48 am  · 

Hello all,

Noone talks about IaaC, What is youguys opinion on the school ? 

Can it compared to AA, ETH ?

May 27, 16 1:49 pm  · 

Hi, Peeppeep!

I've pointed some things before, but:

My experience: I've missed the deadline to ETH, but if I had a chance and no love to AA (if you're deciding from 3 variants, equally good for you), than I would choose ETH (the price, network and really strong education). It is excellent quality school, in 2 words. It just can't be a mistake anyway.

If you want to risk and you like all the hangouts, chatting and cool pics making in addition to hard working (or you want to improve your social skills ,cos we live in half real-half media world now), than AA. Hard, fast (you have 0,5 year less), strong and bright. And yes, think about life expenses. Even Zurich is not a cheap city, 1100-1400 pounds for the room per month is....frightening :)

IAAC - good facilities, friendly staff and teachers, a lot of ambitions. Also, if you're interesting only in prototyping, printers it is the best one (they have the best facilities ever - huuuge lab, working all day-all night ) You would find there a really family-like relationships (if you like those). But if your gain is to find a cool job as an architect (to have knowledge & opportunities after graduation), than it will be the last one. It cant compare with AA and ETH, unfortunately. 

Good luck with your decision. And all the mentioned is just my thoughts, of course)

May 28, 16 6:22 am  · 

int_app, for you. I have not so much about AArhus, but What i can recommend, speak to Jørgen Helstrup, he is their international coordinator, and he's the right person to speak with. And the school is good, and some people say, better quality, than even KADK.  And, in my opinion, between those 3 AArhus is a good choice. Career - you'd have the permission  to work in Denmark after graduation, and they have some boundaries with good companies. I bother it is not worldwide-famous school, but the job perspective are not dead-end.

And Foxy, long story short:

1, AA MArch of Housing and Urbanism, don't know much about this studio, but AA is always AA  :)

2, KADK Urbanism and Societal Change - Great city, permission  to work in Denmark. For your specialization, only my opinion, the best choice, they are so attentive to urban health of the city, to feeling of  history of the place, analysis, research! Look on their projects, they really care. 

3, UCL - Bartlett RIBA part2 (6 months pre master course is needed). AA beat it) Riba - cool, but not worth spending so much money.

4, AHO - MArch 2.5 years. As I see - the Cost of Living is Too High, and there is a problem with cheap students accommodation. Only for me, the projects looks...quite boring. They have strong landscape studio (Jenny from Snohetta had studied there), and maybe if you're interesting in it, it worth. 

5, Royal College of Art - MA 2 years. Good, but you have better opportunities. 

6, Aarhus School of Architecture, MArch for 2 years. Nice, but I'll choose KADK instead (city + career perspective- (internship in Henning Larsen is the common thing in KADK, just as an example)

7, Polimi as well.... No way)) Sorry, Polimi :)

May 28, 16 7:03 am  · 

Hello, everyone! how about Polimi(Piacenza campus) and KADK CITA studio for master study? Thanks a lot!

May 28, 16 8:46 am  · 

Hi there,

Anybody have some opinions about SAC Frankfurt and IOA Vienna?

May 28, 16 1:40 pm  · 

lena_shilova haha are you paid by the AA ;) ? So enthousiastic !

I checked the cost of living in Copenhaguen and London, and London is way over the top. 1000 pounds for a room not too far from the school... crazy ! It makes me doubt about it :(

May 29, 16 4:08 am  · 

Armelle, hahaha))

It will be so nice to AA to pay me a little. Hey, AA staff, if you read this, maybe we can strike a bargain somehow. Just a little money, you see, that guy says, I'm too good not to be payed :) 

It is simple - I've chosen AA instead Copen, so I'm more entuthiastic about AA, and less about KADK. I love Copen so much, but the area I'm interested in (computation) is there not the strongest one. The same thing about Aarhus. But they are strong schools, KADK is worldwide famous.

About the cost of is painful to calculate it, but I can afford it, so I'm in. If it would be a trouble, I'd never chosen AA.

jacckk, don't know much about SAC, but IOA is cool (Sejima studio is my favorite). 2 of my friends will start Rashid studio this year, and they are totally enamoured of it.

apollozdy, you're still choosing? of course KADK!

May 29, 16 10:33 am  · 

lena_shilova Thank you so much! 

And hope you have a great time at AA! 

May 30, 16 4:01 pm  · 
Featured Comment

This post is so intresting i have taken into account all the points and i get that most of the people here were in the same boat as i am right now i hope you guys can help me out:

I have been accepted at AA for MArch Housing Urbanism and Bartlett (UCL) for Msc Space syntax architecture and cities i need some valid pros and cons to decide upon the courses are similar, cost seems similar ucl is maybe just a bit easier on the pocket. Job options: no idea.

I have also got IAAC: city and technology but i am not considering that for now. The staff there is super sweet and helpful. 

Mar 14, 17 2:13 pm  · 

Hey guys!

I came across this blog and I know it has been quite a few years... This is my first time using this forum, I hope I'm using it the right way.
I am wondering if someone can give me any advice between the 

1.MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environment at the Bartlett (UCL)


2. MA Urbanism & Societal Change at KADK?

My interests are a bit similar to Foxy, more in designs based on theoretical, urban context, history, societal problems than parametrical design. 

Thanks everyone in advance!!

Apr 25, 22 9:35 am  · 

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