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.

CURRICULUM (17 credits):

Architecture Studio (AP 312 Architectural Design IV: 5 credits)

Berlin: Inventing the Modern City (FA 308 History / Theory of Architecture III: 3 credits)

Urban Landscape: Public and Open Space in Berlin (AP 434 Architecture Seminar: 3 credits)

German Language (GR 150 Topics in German: 3 credits)

Architecture Seminar Elective (AP 403 Architecture Seminar: 3 credits)

See below for course descriptions, elective options, and the Norwich University Architecture Program accreditation details.

  • Architecture Studio

    This comprehensive, problem-oriented design studio is intended to address design challenges 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. Open to Architecture students only. Read More
  • Berlin: Inventing the Modern City

    This course provides a historical overview of events, politics, and visual culture that have shaped Berlin’s identity over the last two centuries. Classes are coordinated with site visits to locations 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 course begins with the emergence of Berlin as a modern European city at the beginning of the 19th century and examines developments through the destruction brought about by the Second World War. Students then compare the efforts on both sides of the Wall to rebuild according to economic and ideological principles determined by the Cold War and explore how reunification offered Berlin a chance to reinvent itself as a contemporary capital and vibrant, cosmopolitan world city.

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  • Urban Landscape: Public and Open Space in Berlin

    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. In this hands-on workshop, students discuss issues of open space in Berlin with its diverse public life and design, and create at the scale of the human being in an urban context.

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  • German Language

    This introductory course will give students the practical knowledge of basic German that will enable them to engage directly with the city and its people. The course is comprehensive enough to allow for continued study of German upon return to the Northfield campus, if desired. Intermediate or advanced speakers of German will have an opportunity to take language courses suited to their level of knowledge.


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  • Architecture Seminar Elective

  • – Architecture Program 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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