Quality and Innovation in Study Programmes
Vol. 16, No. 1, July 2011


__The Discussion
16 June 2011, Cottbus

  Video recording of the panel discussion


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F. Zimmermann, Ch. Edmaier,
A. Lederer, R. Schäfer

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H. Nagler, U. Poerschke

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E. Pahl-Weber, Ch. Keller

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The auditorium



On the occasion of the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus (BTU) in June 2011 the International Journal for Theory of Architecture “Wolkenkuckucksheim – Cloud-Cuckoo-Land – Воздушный замок” together with the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Urban Planning organized a panel discussion under the title: ‚architectura’. On quality and innovation in architectural study programmes. The presentations of ‘excellent’ and ‘innovative’ study programmes and new methodological approaches in the teaching of architecture, as collected in this issue of “Cloud-Cuckoo-Land”, were to be supplemented by means of a critical discourse.

Against this background Heinz Nagler, professor of Urban Design and dean of the Faculty 2 (BTU) and Eduard Heinrich Führ, professor em. for Theory of Architecture and publisher of “Cloud-Cuckoo-Land” issued an invitation to the following participants of the discussion: Elke Pahl-Weber, professor and director of The Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung – BBSR), Ute Poerschke, professor at Pennsylvania State University, Rudolf Schäfer, professor em. and president of the German Deans and Department Heads Conference for Architecture, Space Planning and Landscape Architecture (Deutsche Dekane- und Abteilungsleiterkonferenz für Architektur, Raumplanung und Landschaftsarchitektur – DARL), Angela Uttke, professor of Urban Planning and Urban Development at the Technical University Berlin, Frank Zimmermann, architect in Cottbus, Christine Edmaier, vice president of the Berlin Chamber of Architects, Jürgen Hasse, professor of Geography and Didactics of Geography at the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main, Christian Keller, architect in Cottbus and deputy state chairman of the BDA Brandenburg, Arno Lederer, professor of Public Buildings at the University of Stuttgart and dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning. The event was hosted by Claudia Schwartz, editor of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).

The initial question of the panel discussion was at first: What should students of architecture learn today? In the ensuing discussion this issue was discussed in the context of the Bologna reform, and the thus incurred Master’s degree programmes in Architecture, but also in light of the training situation at universities and Universities of Applied Sciences as well as the situation on the labour market. Two basic tendencies could be discerned in the opinions: for one, that the undisputed core competencies in the study of Architecture – designing and constructing skills – should be complemented and strengthened through the “systematic activation of interdisciplinary skills” (R. Schäfer), whereby new profiles, margins and fields of study as well as new job opportunities could be defined. On the other hand there were many voices advocating the understanding of architects as “generalists” and the differentiation in numerous Master courses was named as a possible “misunderstanding” (E. Pahl-Weber). As a proposition with perspective a position was introduced which called for the possibility and openness to indeed perceive Architecture as a training discipline, which however would not necessarily have to lead to the chamber compliant profession of architect (E. Führ).

Overall, the panel discussion has been conceived as an open project, through which questions were raised, probably without final answers, that should still be presented for further discussion.

The video recordings of the discussion are available under the following link:






Photos and video recordings: Multimedia Centre BTU Cottbus, 2011