Starting in September 2017, the University of Luxembourg launches a two-year, English-taught Master program on Architecture, European Urbanization, and Globalization. The program is situated within an interdisciplinary environment, where the design studio as the core of the study program will be constantly fed by surrounding fields, such as geography and geospatial analysis, regional and urban development, circular economy, sustainable transport systems, energy performance of built environments, and other themes. The new master program aims to train professional architects equipped with disciplinary tools as well as with interdisciplinary knowledge. Within this context, design is interwoven with research, and the principle of the master program highlights the dialectical relationship between “design by research” and “research by design.”
The program is aware of the fact that the world is becoming more and more urbanized and that this condition is not always a consciously planned phenomenon but something that needs to be analyzed and shaped within its changing dynamics. Architecture is not conceived as a static discipline, but as a profession within which a multitude of interrelated actors constantly have to adapt to shifting demographic, political, social, environmental, cultural, or technological contexts.
The primary focus of the program is Architectural Design, as a creative discipline and major agent in the production of space, including its technical, constructive, social, political and artistic aspects. Architecture stands not just for the design of buildings, but also for urban and regional design and planning.
Crucial to this expanded understanding of Architecture is the second focus point on European Urbanization. Without suggesting a territorial limitation, the program focuses on architecture and urbanism within a specific European tradition, which is characterized, among others, by a certain relationship between historical substance and new interventions, as well as an intense relationship with communal and regional policies, administrative regimes, public housing, and a typological approach to urban planning and design. The versatile European urbanization landscapes and practices cannot be interpreted in isolation from each other, but also from rest of the world.
Thus, the third focus point of the program is Globalization. Global developments have an increasing impact on the shaping of cities and regions, but also on the practice of architecture. The continuous restructuring of an increasingly integrated world economy, and the associated reconfiguration of social and spatial divisions of labor, positions architecture within the broader process of the production of active forms of territorial organization. As processes of creative destruction of the built environment become more and more central to the conditions of social production and reproduction, architecture is highlighted as a potential catalyst between geopolitical, social, economic and ecological tensions across scales.
The program is organized around a rather unconventional, experimental structure: Unlike traditional architectural curriculums, which proceed from smaller to larger design scales and contexts, the program suggests an inverted pathway, starting from design research at the global and European scale, and moving down to the regional, urban and building scales. The curriculum is organized around two-year thematic cycles, which start every September together with every new generation of students. The themes are intended as intellectual and projective anchors that define and link the direction of studio work, seminar discussions and thesis projects across all four semesters. By the conclusion of every two-year cycle and student generation, research and student work on each theme will result in a publication. During the first cycle (2017 – 2019), the program will be structured around the relation between Architecture and Economy.
The rapidly growing, international and multilingual University of Luxembourg offers a modern and fully equipped environment. Situated within the faculty of Humanities, the educational environment of the program reflects an effort to cut across inherited disciplinary and spatial categories, bringing them into a dialectical relationship: On the one hand, by engaging with multiple disciplines, from design, to social sciences, to engineering; and on the other hand, by operating across diverse physical landscapes, connecting the post-industrial cluster of Belval, which hosts the main University campus, to the ‘rural’ satellite town of Schengen, which hosts the dedicated studio and event space.
To learn more about this Master program, visit www.masterarchitecture.lu