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CityLAB: Berlin

Explore your passion for architecture, art, history, political science, studies in war and peace, computer science, and German in one of Europe's most dynamic cities.

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@ CityLAB

Explore your passion for Architecture

Experience Berlin as a laboratory for design experimentation.

CityLAB: Berlin introduces beginning through advanced architecture and pre-architecture students to the language, history, art, architecture, politics, economics, and culture of Germany. A combination of studios, in-depth coursework, field trips, and cultural site visits will also help you examine Berlin in the larger context of Germany and Europe. Courses taught by practicing architects, urban designers, and graphic artists use the city as an urban laboratory for exploration. Design studios—augmented by field trips—focus on projects in historically charged sites and conditions. Meanwhile, history courses, theory seminars, workshops, and lectures encourage students to engage in analytical and visual thinking, direct study, and cultural interpretation.

The semester program includes numerous half-day and day-long study tours and a week-long excursion to Venice and beyond—an intense combination of academic and cultural exploration and experiences.

Explore Courses:

  • Architecture Studio

    AP 312 Architectural Design IV (5 Credits)

    This design studio continues the development of a comprehensive building design process with problems of complex but limited scope. Projects synthesize spatial, functional, and contextual concerns, as directly linked to the understanding and employment of building systems.

    AP 411 Architectural Design V (5 Credits)

    This is a comprehensive problem-oriented design studio offered to fourth-year students. Studio project extend comprehensive design to address problems of an expanded scope and large scale, including building complexes and urban design. Individual and group problems emphasize the complex relationships of environmental factors, human concerns, and architectural form. This studio may be considered the undergraduate capstone course in the undergraduate portion of the Architecture Program.

    AP 412 Architectural Design VI (5 Credits)

    This is a topical problem-oriented studio offered to fourth-year students. Like AP 411, this studio extends the comprehensive design process, expanding scope and development. Projects vary in size, but with the a goal of exploring a high level of development and detailing. Individual and group problems emphasize the complex interrelationships of environmental factors, human concerns, and architectural form.

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  • Architecture and Urbanism of Berlin—Inventing the Modern City

    AP 403 FS Architecture Seminar in History/Theory (3 credits) OR

    FA 309 FS Architecture History/Theory IV (3 credits)

    This course provides a historical overview of the buildings, architects, and theories that have shaped Berlin’s identity over the last two centuries. Classes are coordinated with site visits to buildings selected for both their architectural significance and their reflection of the different periods of Berlin’s complex history, with special emphasis on the last 25 years, after the fall of the Wall. The seminar begins with the emergence of Berlin as a modern European city at the beginning of the 19th century and examines developments through the destruction of the Second World War. Students then compare the efforts on both sides of the Wall to rebuild according to ideological principles determined by the Cold War and explore how reunification offered Berlin a chance to reinvent itself as a contemporary capital. We also examine the lessons of the post-1989 construction boom and consider which architectural designs are appropriate to Berlin today.

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  • Project Delivery and Documentation

    AP 436 FS Project Delivery and Documentation (4 credits)

    Prerequisite: instructorʹs approval

    Relationships between the formal methods of project delivery and the architectural office form the basic investigation of this course. The project delivery process and the methods of communication and the documentation involved provide a detail study of typical office procedures. Includes visits to architecture/design offices in and around Berlin.

    The laboratory component of this course provides practical experience of the typical project delivery process and students work in an actual architecture/design office in Berlin. Documentation is approached as the fundamental means of architectural communication. This communication is multilayered, acting as a foundation for the means of production of contemporary architecture. Various tools will be utilized ranging from computer-aided design to conceptual organization schema in both the practice of typical architectural project delivery and the development of new means of communication and production.

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  • Berlin Design Research

    AP 414 FS Arch Seminar in Design (3 credits)

    This seminar teaches a range of methods for engaging in sustained, original inquiry and sets the framework for developing either the Vertical Architecture Studio or the Visual Research Studio Workshop. By exploring the city’s history students are encouraged to examine and revise their ideas of German culture, and to question their own sense of self and to explore the cultural embeddedness of identities in general.

    Berlin offers students a myriad of visual and cultural encounters, through a series of visual and writing exercises, students explore language, visual skills, ethical issues and theorize about their experience while synthesizing their field knowledge into an original work and/or formal academic writing.

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  • Workshop: Urban Landscape—Public and Open Space in Berlin

    AP 434 FS Architecture Seminar in Process (3 credits)

    In a hands-on workshop, students have the chance to design and build at the scale of the human being in an urban context. Students discuss issues of open space in Berlin with its diverse public life. Berlin is covered by extensive green areas, both in large planned parks and informal public spaces scattered across the urban fabric. Not all green spaces, however, resulted from innovative city planning, but rather from war, destruction, and division. With the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, vast areas of what had been a dense urban fabric prior to WWII were razed into border zones. The fall of the Wall was the beginning of an exciting era of economic, cultural, and social change. It also revealed the scars left by a gruesome object brutally set into the cityscape. Though recent building has filled most open lots, the future of many remains unclear.

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  • Visual Research Studio Workshop

    SA 200 FS Intermediate Studio (3 credits) OR

    SA 300 FS Advanced Studio (3 credits)

    Students pursue an independent self-designed project with a faculty member, professional artist, architect, or other mentor who serves as advisor for the project. Advisors meet periodically with students to provide supervision and support. Students are encouraged to use their language skills and knowledge of the local culture and subject matter.

    The final product of the Visual Research Studio Workshop can take a variety of forms. It must express a rigorous, sustained inquiry into the chosen topic and demonstrate the student’s ability to engage with the resources in Berlin. Projects may range from a 20- to 25-page paper to a collection of short stories or personal essays. Students may also produce a body of work in the traditional arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture or in the contemporary arts with a focus on the media and performing arts, illustration, film/video and photography.

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  • Accreditation Details

    Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art is the only NAAB accredited architecture school in northern New England.

    In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

    Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

    Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art offers the following NAAB accredited degree: M. Arch. (pre-professional degree with 141 credits + 34 graduate credits) Next accreditation visit: 2017.

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