Focus summer semester 24: BEYOND SPECULATION

Teaching concept

Our department ARCHITECTURE CITIES ECONOMIES combines practices of designing with political economy: In our designs we focus on re-building, and question the economic relations of architecture and urban planning.

In doing so, we tie in with the history of the University of Kassel: in the sense of a critical inheritance of the reform approaches of the 1970s. However, in the context of today's challenges of platform urbanism, global financialization of real estate markets, and worldwide inequality concerning the distribution of space and wealth, entirely new questions have arisen that we want to address critically, feministically, and radically democratically.


For us, good teaching means:

  • Providing support, awakening interest, taking responsibility for quality teaching and knowledge transfer, pointing out options for action and awareness of alternatives in complex situations, and sharing practical experience.
  • Strengthening the ability to criticize: practicing self-criticism and constructive criticism in the sense of criticism as a dedication to a topic that is important to one.
  • Unlearning/learning: questioning practiced established practices and perspectives in the form of critical self-distancing and at the same time maximizing involvement
  • Teaching at eye level with students, open discussions, office hours, feedback loops
  • Reflection on teaching: publishing, opening discourse spaces for it
  • Further development of the course of studies, critique, and updating of the course of studies
  • Desire for research-based learning: translation of the above-mentioned research questions into course formats, exercise, and design questions

How and where do we define the role and agency of architects in relation to economics in architecture and urban planning? The subject-specific examination of the construction industry and project development requires a profound knowledge of classical and diverse economies as well as innovation potentials in construction forms, manufacturing methods, construction logistics, tendering and financing structures, and last but not least a critical questioning of the processes of planning. 


Teaching in the Bachelor degree program

In the Bachelor program, we provide fundamentals of the building economy in a socio ecological understanding of the term. We use a balanced ratio of basic teaching and experimental design testing to cover the contents of the course:

* History, theory and practice of the economics of building and land.

* Basic introduction to architectural project practice and an eco-social understanding of process and project costs: bidding, cost, scheduling, quality assurance processes.

* Knowledge of institutions, processes, dynamics of the construction and real estate industries.

* Basic theoretical knowledge is applied in the process of designing, and vice versa, new research questions are developed from experimentation in design.


Teaching in the Master degree program

In the master's program, our aim is to deepen the understanding of the economics of (re)construction projects in connection with more complex design tasks. We seek for for a holistic balance in handling the design parameters of the urban/spatial quality, environmental and resource conservation and economic efficiency.

* broad economic understanding of building: Conditions, context, actors involved.

* contexts and developments of the financialization of real estate and urbanity

* relation of the construction industry with urban planning instruments

* ownership, costs, interests, financing structures, etc.

* innovative contributions towards post-growth and socio-economic paradigm shifts

* theory and practice of planning, sharing and participation processes


Master's specialization in construction management and project development

The department offers the master's specialization "BW - Construction Industry and Project Development | ARCHITECTURE CITIES ECOCONOMIES". The master's specialization is an examination of socio-ecological construction management at the interface between the Clusters  for Environmentally Conscious Construction and Socio-Spatial Research. Students from all three fields of architecture, urban planning and landscape planning are addressed. A Forum for Socio-Economic Building Economics is planned, where results will be discussed.


Focus of the department

- Non-profit and climate-friendly housing–basic conditions, project development, new typologies based on historical municipal and cooperative concepts, as well as present-day perspectives of cooperative project development processes in housing.

- Cartography of the spatial consequences of financialization: critical examination of urban conflicts around land policy and the use and distribution of space, specifically related to Kassel.

- New Building Principles in the Post-Growth Society: historical analysis of the definition of subsistence and evaluation of minimum standards for and of today; with reference to Giancarlo De Carlo to contemporary commons- post-growth and de-growth perspectives.

- Participatory, collaborative, radical democratic project development incorporating current urban planning theories and critical perspectives.


Teaching methods

Studio projects, lectures, seminars, workshops, 1:1 interactions, case study discussions in the form of Oxford Debates (for an understanding of existing contradictions), measurement learning - in the dual sense of questioning existing methods of measurement and formulating new standards; conceptualization of practice and theory lectures, conferences, learning from each other, teamwork.