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Architecture (Brussels)

Course Description

This Master's programme "Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures" explores architecture from a research-by-design and design-by-research perspective. Students are educated and trained in a multicultural and international context. The programme combines an academic approach with a creative-experimental approach. It is characterised by a fully-integrated design methodology, providing students with solid skills in the contemporary discipline of architectural design and research.
The programme is organised at both of the faculty's campuses, though each campus offers a different orientation:

o Campus Brussels (established in 1887): Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures
o Campus Ghent (established in 1862): Architecture: Resilient and Sustainable Strategies

This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. The programme consists out of a minimum of four semesters.


"The intended academic quality, is the core of the program (architecture, urban planning), i.e. academically based 'professionalism'.

The broadening of the profile focuses on basic disciplines (architecture and urban planning), however without compromising the appropriate focus on the professional profile of the architect (in multiple forms).

In the profile of master, one should obtain extreme concentration and specificity (however, no specialisation).

On the one hand, the master focuses on the content and area-specific level of the bachelor phase, and on the other hand on the acquirement of access to the professional or doctoral field (advanced masters, PhD,...).

The core competences of the master are:

- the intellectual development and broadening of the competences acquired in the bachelor;

- a research attitude (for solutions);

- the specific, disciplinary knowledge (architecture, urban planning);

- the interdisciplinary skills (also as to recognize the limits of the own scientific discipline).

The master program should guarantee the acquirement of scientific depth. The offered frontier disciplines focus on the current state of research and development within the competence field. The technical qualification to be acquired, focuses on the high quality problem solving of complex tasks.

The master students are expected to position themselves in the state of the academic and practice debate.

Their curriculum (track) should therefore be internally consistent. The master's design projects and master dissertation project are the basis of this track. These projects span a wide range of possibilities within each master, from strong research-oriented and less design-oriented to less research-oriented and more design-oriented.

The current complex society requires architects to read, analyse and interpret the different layers of meaning that belong to our contemporary society, in a particular orientation involving the city and the landscape, interior and surroundings. Moreover, they should search the technical and practical products of human activity and herewith the changes in society with a specific design-orientation. The knowledge gained during the education, should have enough depth to enable the designer to make intelligent choices in collaboration with specialized counsellors.

This all should culminate in the learning of architectural designing, this is a syncretic activity which can bring together completely diverse and even contradictory and time-evolving factors into a concept.

To the domain of design, belong all aspects of the making process: from think-'image'/imaginative to initiative, to programming and situating, conceiving and designing, executing, maintaining and managing, reallocating and rehabilitating, to demolishing and/or replacing.

Primary, architecture is shaping objectives and values and the formal solution to needs and problems. But architecture also mainly is a societal art.

Compared to the old curriculum, the profile of the reformed Ba/ma program is shifting towards a more theoretical-scientific and research orientation."

Curriculum framework campus Brussels: Architecture: Urban Projects, Urban Cultures

In the field of Architecture and Urban Design, a global awareness is growing, questioning established development and settlement patterns regarding future societal needs and ensuing planning strategies and architectural interventions.
The current fast-forward global development increasingly strains the Western and European model, inducing a whole range of urban planning and architectural challenges to update the academic and professional practice.
Facing the consequences of a changing society and a post-industrial and knowledge-based economy, Western developments stand in stark contrast with rapidly developing economies and a still expanding population worldwide. Instigating important and unchartered societal shifts, our conception of urbanity and the city is fundamentally affected.
Traditional urban planning methods and architectural strategies might not offer the necessary tools to recognize and address these future challenges and therefore need to be reconsidered.
Within these changing context and transition processes, the Urban Projects, Urban Cultures Programme seeks to research, develop and teach alternative architectural and urban design tools, not so much aimed at reinventing urban landscapes, but as it were to edit the given condition from within.
A critical and coherent attitude towards recent urban phenomena is considered the base for research and design at different levels.

Apart from the theoretical courses, the program includes 3 design studios (during one semester) and 1 final master dissertation studio (during one year). Each semester, there is a focus on a specific attitude, related to the main theme of the programme. All studios are organised through a pool of studio groups (Academic Design Offices and Design Studios) where the teaching staff provides a series of specific themes, methods and intervention areas for the students to develop an architectural project:

Themes sem 1
multiple readings of the urban landscape
Themes sem 2 (specific focus on the city of Brussels)
learning from brussels
Themes sem 3
urban projects at the intermediate scale
Themes sem 4
urban projects at the intermediate scale
multiple readings of the urban landscape
learning from brussels

[[Career paths]]

* Graduates are trained to lead multidisciplinary teams of engineers, interior architects, landscape architects and artists.
* In addition to working as independent (self-employed) architects, our graduates also work as professionals in government agencies and international design firms.
* Some graduates go on to roles as researchers serving local or international governance bodies, NGOs or other institutes.

Entry Requirements

Bachelor of Architecture, Bridging programme architecture, Preparatory programme architecture. More information: www.kuleuven.be/admissions

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