Studying Architecture in Germany
An article by Madlen Ottenschläger. Cooperation from: Christian Heinrich
That is what it's about
Students learn to design and plan buildings, but also to supervise the construction process. Depending on the type of university and the degree course, they can choose a technical or an artistic focus.
Because rents are exploding, architects are increasingly experimenting with space-saving, low-cost construction methods. The topic of home offices, which has been brought into focus by Corona, is addressed, too, as is the alternative use of buildings, for example churches. Other topics include digitisation in construction planning and new forms of housing such as multi-generation houses. "There's construction going on everywhere. That's why the opportunities for graduates are extremely good," says Clemens Bonnen, Professor at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and Chairman of the Faculty Council for Architecture.
Anyone wishing to become a self-employed architect in Germany must be registered with a chamber of regional architects. For this, in addition to a degree - usually after five years of bachelor's and master's studies - two years of professional experience are required.
This is how the course runs
Architecture students develop their ideas as a sketch, model or three-dimensional computer representation. In some cases, they also draw by hand and build models of cardboard, plastic or wood. But a lot of work is done on the computer. The use of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) is compulsory and is taught early on in the degree course.
Art and building history as well as architectural theory are also part of the curriculum. In turn, structural engineering deals with how building components are connected. Building physics, which among other things deals with energy saving, as well as building law, urban planning and other ecological issues are also part of the course, as is construction management. There you learn how to plan and manage construction projects.
Students are often out and about. "If you're going to plan a museum, you naturally look at museums that have been built recently. But classics such as the Bauhaus architecture in Weimar or Dessau are also part of it," says Bernd Rudolf, professor at the Bauhaus University Weimar and president of the Dean's Conference for Architecture, Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture.
Typical questions raised within the subject
- What legal requirements must be observed in a building project?
- What new forms of housing are there and how can they be implemented architecturally?
- What effect do urbanisation processes have on architectural designs?
- How do you build in an ecologically sustainable way?
- How can knowledge about building history be transferred into a design?
- Which computer program do you choose for the presentation of a design?
The subject suits you,...
... you can think abstractly, have creativity, spatial imagination and technical understanding. You also need stamina in your professional life, because a building often takes many years from planning to completion. Team orientation and the ability not to take criticism of one's own designs personally and to learn from it are also required. Since you must deal with different people on the construction site or in the client's office, you need communication skills. "That's why it's important during your degree course to practice how to come across confidently and present something in an understandable way," Rudolf says. Good to know: Drawing programmes, sketchbooks, materials and study trips quickly add up to several hundred euros per semester. However, there are scholarships.
Is there a numerus clausus?
Around half of the courses have admission restrictions. It turns out very differently. The majority additionally select via aptitude procedures, for example they require portfolios with designs. Some require an internship in construction or in an architectural office before starting the degree course.