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Institute of Architecture and Planning

The Institute of Architecture and Planning at the University of Liechtenstein can look back on a tradition of more than half a century.

 This means that the Institute benefits from continuity and from a multifarious global network, which is reflected in the international composition of the student body. In recent decades architectural teaching has undergone a radical shift from ‘mere’ building towards engagement with the economically, ecologically and socially relevant themes of sustainable building. The role of architecture today is increasingly seen in combination with the concept of planning. The term is associated with the totality of all the processes currently running in a given area, and their interaction with the environment. This entails a principal focus on the interface of spatial planning and sustainable economic and cultural effects.


Mission statement

We educate architects of the future, who

  • act, design and build with social, ecological, economic and cultural responsibility,
  • are regionally embedded yet globally active,
  • and unite theory and praxis within their practice.

This we pursue unconditionally within our teaching and research.


Context = Content

The context the Institute of Architecture and Planning is operating in extends beyond the national boundaries of Liechtenstein. The region it addresses, also known as the Alpine Rhine Valley, covers parts of eastern Switzerland, western Austria and southern Germany. It is defined by its alpine landscape and by its appreciation of high quality architecture sensitive to its geographic and cultural context. Successful architects work in the region (among them Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor, Gion A. Caminada, Valerio Olgiati, Bernardo Bader or Baumschlager Eberle) and well known initiatives have established architecture as a successful ambassador for entire regions (for example Holzbaukunst Vorarlberg, Austria). Craftsmanship, and with it a keen interest in sustainable construction processes are further qualities that are reflected in how the Institute of Architecture and Planning educates its students. We like to think that our context defines the content of what we teach and the values we aim to pass on to our students. It is this coherency that defines our school’s identity.

The Institute’s distinctive features

Small and personal: Currently there are just under 200 students studying at the Institute of Architecture and Planning. The faculty to student ratio in the design studios currently stands at 1 to 12.

Project based learning: Project based learning is at the core of our curriculum. In the design studios, students work intensively on an architectural project. All other classes are meant to provide input for work conducted in the design studio.

Interdisciplinary: Additionally, the design studios are co-taught by experts from other professional or academic fields, encouraging design proposals that are at their heart interdisciplinary.

Close to praxis: In the Bachelor’s degree programme, taught in German, professional practice is an essential element of the curriculum. The school has established a network of approximately 40 practices in the region where students conduct internships and whose principals participate in various forms of assessment. Teaching projects in scale 1:1 provide ideal learning and making environments.

International: The Master’s degree programme, taught in English, distinguishes itself through its international and multi-cultural student body. Currently, students from more than 30 nationalities study in the programme. The programme’s third semester is reserved for an exchange abroad, to one of our 40 partner Universities across the globe.

Focussed: The Doctoral degree programme, taught in English and German, enables students to investigate personal research interests on PhD level within three core competences of the school: architectural design and theory, sustainable design and spatial development. Students from this programme are actively part of research and teaching activities at the school, enabling a direct impact of research on teaching and vice versa.

The Institute’s three programmes

Workshop: We use the term “workshop” as a metaphor for the Bachelor’s degree programme, as it provides the place for students to learn and experience the regional praxis of architecture. The programme tries to answer the following question: How is sustainable architecture being produced in the Alpine Rhine Valley? Active knowledge of craftsmanship and a strong sense of responsibility for our environment and society characterise our students. Gaining a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Liechtenstein enables students to competently practice architecture in the Alpine Rhine Valley and beyond.

Laboratory: We consider our Master’s degree programme to be a “laboratory”. It builds upon the knowledge gained in the Bachelor’s degree programme and aims to put the expertise and practice of our region into a global context. Why is architecture being produced the way it is? And how should it be done in the future? Interdisciplinarity and internationality enable comparisons with other building cultures, sciences and methods. The programme uses research as a basis from which to develop experimental and visionary design proposals.

Forum: As an extension of our Master’s degree programme, the Doctoral degree programme aims to promote and develop researchers in the fields architectural design theory, sustainable design and spatial development. It is geared to international standards and criteria and students are embedded in interdisciplinary research projects and consortia, thus the programme becoming as much as a platform of exchange as a research programme; we consider it a “forum” for scientific endeavours.