Preliminary Schedule of Program Dates* 2014-2015

Fall Semester: September 1 – December 15, 2014/ Spring Semester:  January 15 – April 30, 2015


Norwich University offers an exciting architecture program for students with different levels of experience in architectural design, from elementary to advanced. The Architecture/Pre-Architecture Program runs parallel to the Visual Culture track, offering students a unique blend of academic and cultural opportunities.

Berlin is the laboratory for design experimentation and acquaints students with the production of a wide range of contemporary and iconic modern architectures within the process of rebuilding in one of Europe’s key cities. In Berlin’s inspiring and fascinating context, students combine site analysis with their talent and intuition to experience and design. Berlin offers students a wide variety of spatial, visual and cultural encounters, from the collections of images housed in its numerous museums and galleries, to its breadth of architecture that has shaped Berlin’s identity. As the site of a number of movements in Arts and Architecture, from Expressionism to Dada, Modernism to Rationalism and photomontage to film propaganda, it is a perfect place to explore the role of architecture as a form of visual production in cultural understanding.

The Norwich University Architecture/Pre-Architecture program demands concentration and dedication, as students learn to negotiate between the experience of living in a foreign environment (as avid consumers of knowledge) and the time they spend in studio (as diligent producers of architectural design). Students must show an open attitude towards learning in a new environment and a special commitment to producing rigorous academic work. Students pursue their independent self-designed project with a faculty member, professional, artist, architect or other mentor who serves as advisor for the project,

The Architecture/ Pre-Architecture program provides an overview of the urban spaces, buildings, architects, and theories that have shaped Berlin’s identity. The classes are organized with coordinated site visits that familiarize students with the historical background of the city and help them develop a critical and personal approach to looking at architecture. The buildings and urban spaces we visit have been selected for their architectural significance as well as their reflection of the different periods of Berlin’s complex history.

Today’s technologies allow architects to design for building sites they may never visit. What does it mean for an architect to propose a building or to rethink an urban situation in a foreign culture? How do architects develop an appropriate understanding of a place, its history and architecture, in the design process? In Berlin’s turbulent context, students combine site analysis with their talent and intuition to design locally relevant solutions.

Norwich University’s Architecture Program mixes studio work, lectures, workshops, language training, and site-visits, where students explore architecture, galleries, and museums while sampling Berlin’s rich public culture Students embrace learning in a new environment as they pursue rigorous academic work.

Semester Curriculum (15 weeks)

STUDIO                  – Architectural Design (elementary through advanced)

SEMINAR               – History and Theory: The Architecture and Urbanism of Berlin

WORKSHOP          – Urban Landscape: Public and Open Space in Berlin

LANGUAGE             – German (elementary through advanced)

Academic Year Curriculum (additional 15 weeks)

STUDIO                  – Architectural Design (elementary through advanced)

ELECTIVE I                  – Independent Project, Visual Culture or GASC Seminar

ELECTIVE II                  – Workshop, Studio Art, or Special Topics

INTERNSHIP                  – Practical Training at a local office (where available)

LANGUAGE                  – German (elementary through advanced)


The Norwich University Berlin Studio is located in Schöneberg, a friendly neighborhood filled with galleries, cafes, specialty shops, and music stores. An updated loft in a fin-de-siecle building, it offers classroom and studio space, reading area, projection equipment, and WLAN. The building houses architecture and design offices, dance and gymnastics studios, artists and galleries, flower shops, and a bakery. Potsdamer Platz is ten minutes away. Norwich University introduces students to Berlin’s rich public culture, including theater and concerts, open-air markets, outstanding parks and lakes. Our staff also promotes interaction with German scholars, architects, artists, and students and extracurricular activities.

Students live in shared furnished apartments, dorms, or family homestays within the inner urban ring. In single and double rooms, students share clean, safe accommodations, equipped with the essentials. Most families are long-term Berliners and offer students invaluable insights as a well as a chance to practice German and intercultural skills.


As part of the curriculum, students explore places in Germany and Europe of historical and architectural importance, led by Norwich University instructors or local experts (covered by the program fee).

Most trips are offered in conjunction with Norwich University’s other tracks, giving students the opportunity to share insights as they study the background of European culture. On some weekends and over the term break, students can travel independently. Each semester, students visit several of the following sites:

Dessau: Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus complex and Masters’ Houses; the Federal Environmental Agency by Sauerbruch and Hutton

Potsdam: Sanssouci parks and monuments by Karl F. Schinkel and Peter Lenné and Einstein tower by Erich Mendelsohn

Caputh: Einstein summer house by Konrad Wachsmann

Eisenhüttenstadt: socialist planned city restored to its original condition

Dresden: Zwinger Palace; rebuilt Frauenkirche; the new synagogue by Wandel, Hoefer, Lorch

Bernau: Trade Union School by Hannes Meyer

Weimar: birthplace of the Bauhaus, Bauhaus building by Henry van de Velde, Weimar classicism

Each semester, students also undertake a joint inquiry into issues key to Central Europe. In this area of shifting borders and identities, transnational histories, and a shared future in the European Union, we consider the cultural politics inherent in the nation and citizenship, art and architecture. In the spring, students travel to Budapest as a starting point for a trip through.

Budapest: Tour of Old Town and Castle District and tour of Jewish District and Synagogue. Osmanian/ Roman bathing culture. (Itineraries are subject to change.)


Since 2006 the Architecture Program has attracted over 70 students from 25 institutions in the US and Europe. Architecture students from the US have worked with their counterparts from Germany, Belgium, Japan, and Kosovo, as well as with the other Norwich University students in language classes, on excursions, and in the Norwich University Berlin Studio.

Students are divided into three levels of architectural design experience: advanced (students with 2-3 years of architecture, i.e., candidates for an MArch, BArch, or BA in architecture); intermediate (visual arts or liberal arts students with 1-2 semesters of design); and elementary (no design). Students also learn by collaborating across academic disciplines. Advanced students share their knowledge of visual representation, design methodology, and the verbal articulation of architectural concepts, for example, and benefit from the perspective of students trained in other fields. NU also opens the door to new friendships. We have welcomed students from the following schools:

Bennington College/ Bowdoin College/ Brown University / Bryn Mawr College/ Carleton College /Carnegie Mellon University/ Cornell University/ Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering/ Harvard University/ Knox College/ New York Institute of Technology/ New School of Architecture and Design/ Norwich University/ Oberlin College/ Pennsylvania State University/ Reed College/ Sint-Lukas Université, Brussels/ SUNY Binghamton/ Tufts University/ University of California at Berkeley / University of Cincinnati/ University of North Florida/ University of Vermont/ Washington State University/ Yale University


ARCHITECTURE/ PRE-ARCHITECTURE STUDIO (elementary, intermediate, advanced)

The studio is the focus for all students in the architecture program. The themes of the design assignments are linked to actual—and mostly unresolved—architectural and urban conditions in Berlin and its surroundings. Students thus explore questions tied to Berlin’s complicated history, politics, and culture, in particular how the issues of absence, closure, fragmentation, and partition key to Berlin influence more universal architectural concerns about scale, context, representation, structure, and propriety.

A new topic is chosen each semester based on contemporary urban debates or organized competitions held by the city government, state institutions, or private investors. At the beginning of the term students work together on Berlin-specific exercises involving site and precedent analyses before engaging in a project tailored to their level of architectural design skill and experience. Projects are drawn using the metric system.

Students meet two to three times a week with the studio instructors for desk-critiques and pin-ups, and present their projects to a jury with guest critics at the end of the term. NU provides desks with Maylines and lamps. Students supply their own drafting tools, cutting boards, and materials, as well as laptops and software.

Pre- Architecture (elementary; students without design background)

AP111, four semester credits

This course aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of design. In a studio fashion, students learn the basic principles of drafting, drawing, and model-making while addressing issues of program, site, and design methodology. Exercises include the measuring and drawing of an existing structure. The term concludes with a project for a small housing structure specific to the urban condition under investigation.

Architectural Design (intermediate)

AP211, five semester credits

In this level students with a basic acquaintance with architectural design practice deepen their understanding of abstract, three-dimensional thinking, and refine their graphic skills. Emphasis is given to the rigorous development of a design from a conceptual schema to an articulated project, while raising the student’s sensitivity to issues of the urban context. Assignments of site and program analysis are usually undertaken together with the advanced students, while requirements for the actual projects are adjusted to the complexity of elaboration expected of intermediate students.

Architecture Studio (advanced) AP411, AP412, five semester credits

The architecture studio addresses the needs of students experienced enough to work independently in all developmental phases of architectural design. Students are expected to formulate a convincing conceptual approach and a well-considered urban strategy to address the manifold challenges of the studio project descriptions listed below, and to produce a complete set of drawings and models illustrating their ideas. Site and precedent analysis help students establish the guidelines for their work, but they are encouraged to look for additional inspiration in their new study abroad context.


The Architecture and Urbanism of Berlin: Inventing the Modern City

AP403, Architectural Seminar in History/Theory (three semester credits)

The Architecture and Urbanism of Berlin: Inventing the Modern City (60 hours)

This course provides an overview of the buildings, architects, and theories that have shaped Berlin’s identity. The classes are coordinated with site visits to familiarize students with the historical background of the city and help them develop a critical and personal approach to looking at architecture. The buildings we visit have been selected for their architectural significance as well as their reflection of the different periods of Berlin’s complex history, with special emphasis on the last twenty years, after the Fall of the Wall.

The seminar covers Berlin’s architectural evolution over the last two centuries. Students discuss the emergence of Berlin as a modern European city at the beginning of the 19th century to the destruction of the Second World War. The course then compares the efforts on both sides of the Wall to rebuild according to ideological principles determined by the Cold War, and shows how reunification offered Berlin a chance to reinvent itself as a contemporary capital. Students also examine the lessons of post-1989 construction boom, and consider which architectural designs are appropriate to Berlin today, including such aspects as sustainability and urban planning.

After two decades of profound change, construction has slowed, a chance to pause and reflect. How have the many changes affected the character of Berlin, and to what extent is the city a model for urban development for other 21st century cities?

Urban Landscape: Public and Open Space in Berlin

AP455, Special Projects in Architecture (three semester credits)

In a hands-on Workshop, students have the chance to design and build at the scale of the human being in an urban context. Students discuss issues of open space in Berlin with its diverse public life. Berlin is covered by extensive green areas, both large planned parks and informal public spaces scattered across the urban fabric. Not all green spaces, however, resulted from innovative city planning, but rather from war, destruction, and division.

With the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, vast areas of what had been a dense urban fabric prior to WWII were razed into border zones. The fall of the Wall was the beginning of an exciting era of economic, cultural, and social change; it also revealed the scars left by a gruesome object brutally set into the cityscape. Though recent building has filled most open lots, the future of many remains unclear.

The Workshop focuses on one stretch of the former border zone formed by the Wall between East and West. Students investigate the possibilities of green public spaces in Berlin today as they create a small, temporary intervention in Berlin’s historic center. For several years, this “wasteland” has been under the protection of a group of artists, who have developed site-specific installations to address the social and historical ambiguity of the space.

The assignment is to design a green space that will ensure public access, a unique atmosphere, and an attractive urban character when everything around it is built up, privatized, and made denser. Students will develop a parti, by defining the shape and location, intelligent access solutions, and sustainable architectural concepts. They learn important tasks in the management of public culture, including realistic design concepts, timelines, resource allocation and cooperation. They are encouraged to work in groups and to build at a 1:1 scale. Projects should address issues of public and private, temporary and transitory, built and un-built, as they treat the condition of public space at the interface of the city and the natural landscape.


GR111, German I; GR112, German II; GR205, German III; GR206, German IV (six semester credits)

Students enroll in intensive German at Die Neue Schule, a progressive language school. Intensive instruction runs for five weeks, supplemented by discussions, films, cultural events, and field exercises. Classes are small (maximum twelve students) and are offered at twelve different levels. Evaluation is based on attendance, performance in class, and the results of assignments and exams. Students who want to continue German beyond the required period may attend evening classes according to merit and availability.


AP455/555, Special Projects in Architecture (one to three semester credits)

After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, architects from all over the world established practices in Berlin, contributing to a remarkably fertile work environment. Despite the economic slowdown, Berlin continues to support a spectrum of young and experienced architects producing built projects and competitions throughout Germany and Europe.

For students in their second semester with Norwich University, our staff uses their extensive contacts to locate (unpaid) internships at Berlin design firms. Unlike their US counterparts, Berlin’s architectural practices are small and informal; a 30-person office is considered large. Interns thus work closely with architects and gain an overview of the profession. In comparison to the US, the number of competitions architects take on in Germany is high, so interns have the opportunity to get involved in all design phases of a project.

Previous knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) is an advantage, but not a must, to ensure an interesting position. The most frequently used software include ArchiCAD (Graphisoft), AutoCAD, Vectorworks, Adobe Photoshop, and Indesign. A willingness to learn in a new environment is the best foundation for a successful internship. Norwich University makes every effort to meet internship requests, but placement is not guaranteed.


In addition to their broad experience in the academic and professional sectors of architecture, Norwich University’s faculty members are long-term residents of Berlin and know the city’s culture and history. All have benefited from their own experiences abroad, hence their commitment to immersive foreign education and cross-cultural learning.


NU is pleased to attract established local architects as guest lecturers and critics at the students’ mid-term and final presentations. The following architects amongst others have participated in or been invited to upcoming reviews:

Frank Barkow                   Principal, Barkow Leibinger Architekten, Berlin

Chris Burns                       Assistant Professor of Architecture, Technical University, Cottbus;

Principal, Abacarius + Burns Architekten, Berlin

José Marquez                   Professor of Architecture, Technical University, Cottbus;

Principal, Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten, Berlin

Gregor Langenbrinck     Principal, Urbanizers, Berlin


Transcripts are issued by Norwich University, whose architecture curriculum is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. Students need to contact their study abroad or appropriate office early on to ensure that they complete all requirements for credit transfer. For information about Norwich University’s accreditation, please see

All students must complete the Norwich University application. Those applying for the intermediate and advanced levels of the design studio also need to submit a portfolio (design or art), not to exceed an 8 1/2 x 11” or DIN A4 format. It should contain no originals and will not be returned. Students are encouraged to send portfolios online as PDF or JPEG files.

Students applying for Norwich University programs must have a minimum cumulative grade average of B– in their major field and should have sophomore standing or above by the time the program begins. For admissions information, please see the Norwich University application packet.


Fall Semester and Academic Year: March 31

Spring Semester: October 31

Norwich University reserves the right to make program changes if necessary. For more information and an application form, please contact:

Christian M. Dengler, Director Berlin Studio

mail: or


Cara Armstrong, Interim Director Norwich School of Architecture and Art


Apply to  Create a profile and then apply for Berlin program through Norwich (summer or fall/spring).

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