The quality of urban life is not measured by the scale of monuments, shopping malls, highways or top-down regulated activities, but by creating an environment, which is liveable, vibrant and sustainable.
In our course, Urban Planning and Architecture are taught equally. The program alternates between large scale and detail, between abstract and concrete, between theory and practice. In one sentence, we think that architecture is more than building houses and urban planning is more than deciding where to place them.
Both disciplines are contextual. Not only the use of a structure, but its context (e.g. landscape, infrastructure, social needs) determine the design. The question of the house of the future is closely connected with the question of the city of the future. Both questions need to be addressed from a social, spatial, ecological, and economic view.
The UPAD program is taught as a full-time program. The duration of the program is eight semesters/four years. The program is aligned with the program structures introduced in Europe after the Bologna reform.
The courses are differentiated into three categories: design, knowledge, and communication. The design studios focus on training a design-based approach to problem-solving in urban and architectural fields. Students are assisted to develop their own ideas for given tasks and thus experience how with growing complexity over the years – a design project is produced from analysis all the way to presentation.
In the first year, courses concentrate on basic knowledge in urban planning and architecture, and introduction to project design. Courses in visual communication are taught over the first two years, providing the students with the necessary tools to learn to express themselves graphically.
In the second year, students are introduced to courses in building technology that have a higher level of technical difficulty. Core urban design courses run parallel to building technology courses and provide the foundation for integrated projects in ‘City + Landscape’ and ‘Building + Construction’ respectively.
The third year focuses on the application of specific knowledge (e.g. economics, planning law). Greater importance is given to the design work of the integrated projects that are rewarded with 9 credit points. The knowledge that was acquired in recent courses is then implemented, especially in the project work.
In the fourth year, students are allowed to specialize in either Urban Planning or Architecture. This is done through elective courses; each student must complete two elective courses in either field. Furthermore, the integrated project must be done with a focus on either urban planning or architecture, depending on the specialization of the electives. An internship must be completed before the start of the Bachelor Thesis and provides practical training for the students. In the last semester, students must complete their Bachelor Thesis with which they are assisted by weekly consultations by a professor.
The degree program is taught in English, including written and oral tests seminars, exercises, papers, and the Bachelor thesis.
The Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning and Architectural Design provides an application-orientated education that qualifies graduates for various professions in the private and public sector. Urban planners and architects work in many different fields and play a major role in shaping our social lives with regards to the built environment.
The focus of later professional work is on all scales of tasks of planning and building: in administrative and institutional sections of municipal, administrative and government organizations as well as in private sector design and construction consultancies.
Graduates are well prepared to work in the local industry, mainly because of the many practice-relevant courses and the mandatory six-week internship in the last study year. In seminars, they learn academic research methods, and excellent students are participating in research projects in the department, e.g. the Eco House project in which two graduates worked full time for two years.
Opportunities for Further Studies
Students are well prepared to pursue an academic career and a number of graduates have gone on to MSc programs in Germany, the UK, and the US.