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Term 1: Cultures, Methods, and Instruments (30 ECTS)

During the first term, students will be introduced to methods of advanced critical thinking and research,
to historical and contemporary design instruments, and to emerging digital technologies and platforms
in order to establish a common language for use in future exploration. Students will engage in a broad
range of methods, tools, and topics that define the contemporary architectural project, examining the
relationship between architectural thought and practice to the cultures and contexts in which they exist
and which they must serve. Communication will be explored as a tool for education, research, design,
and visualization; in particular, students will explore how experimental curatorial and theoretical
practices may frame academic work for engagement to a broader public. Students will also participate in
fieldwork, visiting canonical and contemporary examples of architecture and urban design projects
across Europe.

The following is the curricular structure of the first term:

ARB101 Project (12 ECTS)
Three to four project-based studios will be offered, each composed of 8 to 12 students. Project topics
will be developed within the framework of the terms overall educational goals and objectives.

ARB102 Theory seminar (6 ECTS)
The seminar, consisting of 14 sessions (7 in the first quarter and 7 in the second quarter), will be framed
around the content and topics being pursued in the three to four project-based studios.
ARB103 Postgraduate Research Colloquium (8 ECTS)
This terms colloquium topic explores forms, methods, and instruments of inquiry, preparing students to
perform advanced academic work in architecture and urban design. The aim is to strengthen the
students background and refine their skills in research, historical interpretation, and critical analysis.
Students will analyze architecture-related literature from a critical perspective, perform independent
primary and secondary research, and present the results in written, visual, and oral forms.

ARB104 Design master class (4 ECTS)
An intensive two-week master class is led by a renowned architect, or professional from a related design
discipline, and is themed around a design assignment.


Term 2: Societies, Environments, and Economies (30 ECTS)
During the second term, students will articulate the common language defined in the previous term by
focusing on the impact of societal, environmental, and economic determinants on contemporary
architecture and urban design. Students will work on projects that take into account how design
considerations relate to these determinants. Fieldwork will be an integral part of the curriculum. In
addition, students will start to develop a thesis project to be completed in the third term of study.

The following is the curricular structure of the second term:

ARB201 Project (12 ECTS)
Three to four project-based studios will be offered composed of 8 to 12 students. Project topics will be
developed within the framework of the terms educational goals and objectives.

ARB202 Theory seminar (6 ECTS)
The seminar, consisting of 14 sessions (7 in the first quarter and 7 in the second quarter), will be framed
around the content and topics being pursued in the three to four project-based studios.

ARB203 Thesis preparation lecture series (4 ECTS)
This lecture-based course explores the phenomenon of contemporary architecture and urban design
within the broader development of Western thought and the forces shaping the built environment in
the twenty-first century. Students will use the course as the foundation for developing initial topics for
thesis work to be undertaken in the third term.

ARB204 Thesis preparation seminar (4 ECTS)
In this seminar, students conduct in-depth, self-guided research, developing a critical and theoretically
informed position on a topic within the fields of architecture and urban design. Students work closely
with educational staff to develop critical thinking skills and to identify appropriate resources for each
individual area of interest. Students will present and develop a series of graphic and written statements
and presentations throughout the term, work that will help articulate the thesis argument to be fully
explored in the third term of study.

ARB205 Theory master class (4 ECTS)
This terms intensive two-week master class is led by a leading scholar or thinker and will be themed
around a theoretical issue.


Term 3: Final Thesis (30 ECTS)
During this final term of study, students will develop a project in detail, demonstrating their capacity to
critically synthesize knowledge in a relevant format. Students will engage in primary archival or scholarly
research, conceptualize and shape content, and design and execute work in an innovative presentation
(which could take the form of a book, an application, an exhibition, or a movie, among other formats).
Students will be encouraged to perform fieldwork when applicable to their project.

ARB301 Thesis project (30 ECTS)

Program
The Berlage Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture and Urban Design offers an interdisciplinary
and international postgraduate master of science degree entitled The Berlage Master in Architecture
and Urban Design. This is a postgraduate program for architects and urban designers who have already
completed a masters degree in architecture or an equivalent five-year degree. It is a primarily privately
funded, one-and-a-half-year, English-language program. The program has been accredited by the Dutch-
Flemish accreditation organization.
The program is aimed at students who seek an intense educational setting in which to improve and
sharpen their scholarly and research skills as well as critical thinking abilities. The program focuses on
cross-cultural research and design; explores innovative architectural and urban models for a more
socially and culturally sustainable global future. It is taught by an international body of visiting renown
designers and scholars as well as select teaching staff from the Faculty of Architecture. Its approach is
focused on new forms of architectural thinking, alternative modes of defining a design project, and
innovative ways of practicing as a designer and a researcher. It is also tailored to educate students in the
formulation of integrated design knowledge, considering architecture and urban design a complex
connection between cultural, social, and economic factors, as well as of strategic, organizational, and
spatial considerations.

The program has been created to meet the challenges of globally oriented practice by expanding the
range of education architects receive and by redefining the methods, instruments, and approaches of
research and design practice. The program is framed around three main notions: cross-cultural,
reality based, and social and cultural sustainable:

Cross-cultural The program regards cross-culturalism both as a condition of practice and as an
educational principle. First, the curriculum is developed to qualify designers to operate in an
international and, thus, cross-cultural field. This implies developing specific research and design
instruments, methods, and approaches to act across cultural borders. The program is one of the first of
its kind to focus intensively on how the designer might be educated in an increasingly globalized world,
concentrating comparatively on the complex development of projects within different cultural settings.
Second, the program will use the cross-cultural character of its student and tutor population to
introduce a different level of debate and reflection within architectural education. Tutors and especially
students will be asked to bring the experience of their local cultural conditions to the educational
program, such that the development of new architectural instruments, methods, and approaches can be
immediately discussed and evaluated within a comparative cultural frame.

Reality based The program is also characterized by its firm embedment in a reality-based frame of
reference. The program is unique in that it educates students to develop new theoretical concepts (term
1); conceive of innovative definitions of the design project (term 2); and pose newfangled ways of
practicing (term 3) in close relation to, and with explicit feedback from, an interdisciplinary team of
stakeholders composed of public authorities, research organizations, corporations, real estate
developers, and municipal planners, as well as of scholars and professionals. This soundboard of various
reality-based actors will allow the development of innovative research and design conceptsmethods
and strategies that have a greater resonance within the complexity of global architectural practice, while
keeping a critical academic distance to them. The program is developed to educate reflective
practitioners (Schn); designers who are simultaneously capable of reflecting in action (through
actual research and design) and on action (through critical analysis and reflection).


Socially and culturally sustainable , The program explicitly engages with current interests in sustainable
global futures, while moving away from a dominant image of sustainability as a high-tech matter. It
instead focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of sustainability; on how the built environment
relates to changing lifestyles and life choices as populations age, grow, and become increasingly
embroiled in a global society. The goal is to ground a more structural reflection on the impact of these
global developments on architecture and urban design, while simultaneously measuring the social and
cultural aspects of the proposed organizational principles for the built environment. The program aims
for an understanding of social and cultural sustainability as integrated in the various dimensions of
architecture and thus embedded in concrete patterns, morphologies, and typologies.

The programs attention to cross-cultural, reality-based, and socially and culturally sustainable issues
requires a critical exploration and redefinition of how we understand a design projectincluding its
strategic, organizational, and spatial characteristics. Hence, in the first part of the program (term 1),
students will be educated to investigate the definitions, aspects, and constituents of a design project
building upon their academic and professional experience to achieve new disciplinary ends. The second
part of the program (term 2) will educate students in how to innovatively articulate a design project as a
complex and integrated system of spatial agency. In the programs third and final part (term 3), students
will learn to implement such an innovative design project as a way of intervening in a layered field of
spatial, social, cultural, and economic conditions and stakeholders.
Mission
The practice of architecture is becoming more and more global. The spread of professional skills and
new technologies around the world has expanded the market for design services in both developed and
developing countries. It is tempting to view architects and urban designers as members of a global,
cosmopolitan culture that transcends national boundaries and identities. Drawings, technologies,
clients, and even workforces seem to flow easily between continents and cultures.
Yet designers must still confront the stubborn, sometimes intractable characteristics of local cultures.
The organization of the construction industry varies widely from nation to nation, with profound
consequences for building design. National and local governments continue to define specific legal
frames with a large impact on building practice. And, significantly, value systems remain strongly bound
to culture: particular social and cultural norms continue to affect dwelling patterns, as well as models of
collective and public space.
How can a designer perform within this clash of cosmopolitanism and localism? Which design strategies
and which research approaches allow for mediation between international and local conditions? How
can a globally oriented designer engage with local mores and trades? Do practitioners who operate
internationally have an ethical duty to assist in the transfer of new skills to local architects? These
questions underscore the new reality of architectural practice: globalization affects every practitioner,
even those practitioners who never leave their home nations.
The Berlage program has been created to meet the challenges of globally oriented practice by expanding
the range of education architects receive and by redefining the methods, instruments, and approaches
of research and design practice. The program is framed around three main notions: cross-cultural,
reality based, and social and cultural sustainable.