4207830: Building Cultures

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Semester:WS 16/17
Scheduled in semester:1-2
Semester Hours per Week / Contact Hours:16.0 L / 12.0 h
Self-directed study time:48.0 h

Module coordination/Lecturers


Master's degree programme in Architecture (01.09.2014)


This module provides an overview and a comparative analysis of unique building cultures. It defines parameters forming a building culture, provides a historical overview and identifies definitions of building cultures and their role in contributing to the formation of identities. Building cultures are not only assessed according to their architectural output, but also analysed and understood within their social, economic and environmental context. Special attention is being paid to resources, materiality and construction as well as the vernacular.
What substantive consistency should characterize an architecture of an historical period and a physical context? What formal continuities and discrepancies are to be found between a building, a novel or a work of art of a peculiar society? How is architecture produced? What are its roots? What should it do?
Analogies and contradictions between theories, ideologies and knowledge, as well as points of contact and contrast with other disciplines will be discussed and deepened in order to bring them simultaneously in conjunction with multiple levels of knowledge. Architecture languages are thus experienced as part of a general cultural discourse. The course will encourage students to actively investigate the specificities of different cultures, positions and tools as necessary components for a conscious architectural attitude.
This Course will explore the complex and fruitful aspects of these questions.

Learning Outcomes

Professional competence

  • Differentiate between different building cultures, their historical development and their role and importance within society today
  • Explain competently, discuss and critique own work through oral presentations, writing or visual communication
  • Show confidence in analysing case studies and the ability to infer principles and motivations

Methodological competence
  • Identify key elements of problems and choose appropriate methods for their resolution in a considered manner

Social competence
  • Discuss and articulate ideas and information fluently
  • Demonstrate the ability to work with other students for assignments, exercises, experiments, presentations etc

Personal competence
  • Assess own work and put it into a historical, theoretical, cultural and social context.


Lectures Method

Lecture and seminar: case studies, discourse, writing


Augé M.: Place, Non Places
Fathy H.:Vernaculare Architecture
Habraken N.J.: The Structure of the Ordinary
Koolhaas R.: SMLXL
Lynch K.: The Image of the City
Norberg-Schulz C.: Genius Loci
Rudofsky B.: Architecture without Architects
Venturi R., Scott-Brown D., Izenour S.: Learning from Las Vegas

Exam Modalities

Paper, exercises, minimum 75% mandatory presence


  • PAR MA 14_Building Cultures (WS 16/17, in Planung)