WS 2020/21

Approaching Research Practice in Architecture 

Dr Meike Schalk, associate professor in Urban Design and Urban Theory, KTH School of Architecture, Stockholm / Anna Boyksen Fellow, TU München
Dr Torsten Lange, August-Wilhelm Scheer guest professor in Theory and History of Architecture, Art and Design, Dept of Architecture, TU München
Dr Andreas Putz, professor in Recent Building Heritage Conservation, Dept of Architecture, TU München
Dr Tijana Stevanovic, senior teaching fellow at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL/ postdoc at KTH School of Architecture 

This doctoral course is a collaboration between KTH School of Architecture in Stockholm and the TU Munich with the BauHow5 consortium and the Swedish Research School ResArc. It is open to doctoral candidates enrolled at other universities.

Length: 6 modules, Oct-Apr, followed by peer-review and publication of papers to appear Oct 2021
Effort: 25-30 hrs per month
Price: free of charge
Institution: the course is led by TUM and KTH
Subject: Architecture
Level: 3rd cycle
Language: English
Course type: Instructor-led on a course schedule
ECTS: 7,5 as applied in Sweden (corresponding to 200 hrs class including preparatory efforts); 2 SWS for doctoral students at TUM (1 ECTS credit per module + 1,5 ECTS credits for submitting a paper for peer-review)
On completion of the course, participants will receive a course certificate to register their ECTS credits at their home university according to their local credit system.

Theory and Methodology of Practice-oriented Research in Architecture

Course description
The course gives a perspective on theoretical and methodological trajectories of practice-oriented research in architecture. It provides an overview of how theory and methods are addressed concerning forms of knowledge in architecture, with a focus on explorative, reflexive, and critical research methods rooted in the humanities, social sciences, and STS. Notions of different scientific traditions, paradigmatic shifts, and inter- and transdisciplinary research are presented and discussed in ways that are particularly useful for enrolled and emergent doctoral researchers pursuing practice-oriented research. Course participants are provided with an understanding of selected key concepts and topics; the relationship between epistemology, ontology, and methodology, and the linkage between research questions, objectives, methods and outcomes, through lectures, literature seminars, workshops, collaborative and specific tasks. In emphasizing social complexity and experimentation, the course offers doctoral candidates insights into recent architectural thinking, innovative methods, and performative research practices. On completion of the course, participants will acquire tools to critically reflect on the epistemological and ethical challenges, inherent to their research practices.

How to apply
Participants of Module 1 International workshop, please send a statement of interest specifying the modules you wish to participate in to: Newcomers, add a short bio and an abstract describing your research project. The deadline for application is 15th of November 2020.

The course is organized in 6 intense modules of 2 days and requires 1-2 days of preparatory reading. Course activities include lectures, reading seminars, workshops, presentations of own work, and group work.

Module 1: International workshop
This two-day event takes as its point of departure the growing interest in practice-oriented research in the broadest sense, including expanding modes of work in well-established areas of architectural research such as architectural history and theory or urban and landscape studies as well as in art- and design-based studies. It offers a reflection upon the multitude and diversity of current research practices in architecture. This module brings together doctoral researchers, supervisors, and senior researchers in a two-day international workshop with presentations, panels, and roundtable discussions.

(what do I know through my practice and experience?)
This module deals with methodological issues in practice-oriented research focusing on interactions between theory, practice, and modes of knowledge production. It considers research as a craft, a form of skilled practice that ranges from scholarly and experimental writing practices such as site-writing, to building surveys and documentations, ethnographic studies, visual work, and other forms of performative research activities. In group work, participants will discuss methods in relation to research questions and also invent a method for their own research project to be explored and put to the test in the following course modules.

(what is known in my field?)
This module explores a history of practice-oriented research, including basic insights into relevant research methodologies stemming from historical studies. With a focus on the development of concepts and approaches that have guided practice-oriented research, this module aims at giving participants an understanding of the historical context of their contemporary practice taking into account the techno-social, cultural, political, material cultures and acts of production and consumption that have shaped them. In particular, this involves critical studies in how creative practice, in terms of both education and profession, has responded to the changing conditions of society.

(how do I/we know?)
This module focuses on the use of theory and ‘how we know’ in practice-oriented research. It emphasizes the integral role of theorization in knowledge production as inseparable from practice, whether it is reflective or speculative. The module addresses key concepts, theoretical, and philosophical works and corresponding spatial practices. The module aims at furthering the ability to locate, articulate, and develop theoretical issues in research.

(what would the effects of my research intervention be?)
The fifth module deals with the ethical and political implications of pursuing and constructing knowledge from positions of practice-oriented research. It considers a growing range of work on contemporary ethics from the fields of environmental humanities, risk ethics, ethics considering social and sexual difference, labour studies, feminist ethics of care, postcolonial theory, and critical race studies, to posthuman- and multispecies ethics in practice-oriented research. The module aims at reflecting upon and discussing the ethical challenges of one’s own research.

(what is the role of practice in the research performed and represented?)
The sixth module deals specifically with research within and about practice-oriented research. We will think about processes and formats, links between written and ‘critical spatial practice’, and tackle questions of production-representation in relation to practice-oriented research. The format of this module is designed as a creative practice module allowing researchers’ practice to come into a critical yet nurturing dialogue.


October 2020

Five Questions
International Online Graduate Conference

Organizers: Meike Schalk, KTH; Torsten Lange, TUM; Andreas Putz, TUM
Hosted by: TU Munich, KTH Stockholm, TU Delft

Thu, Oct 8, 2020




Welcome by the organizers



Breakfast address by Momoyo Kaijima (Atelier Bow Wow, ETHZ), Architectural Ethnography



Trajectories I (parallel sessions)



Embodied Practices chairs: Emma Nilsson, LTH; Barbara Penner, UCL

Urban Politics, Economies and Ecologies chairs: Tanja Herdt, TUD; Fredrik Torisson, LTH


Trajectories II (parallel sessions)



Pedagogies, Epistemologies and Practices of Design chairs: Monica Billger, CTH; Jonathan Hill, UCL

Memory and Preservation chairs: Carola Hein, TUD; Christina Pech, KTH





Lunch address by Isabelle Doucet (CTH), Thinking and Writing Through Practices



Trajectories III



Digital Tools, Data and Technologies chairs: Ulrika Karlsson, KTH; Amy Thomas, TUD



Afternoon address by Bryony Roberts (Bryony Roberts Studio, Columbia GSAPP), Expanding Modes of Practice


Fri, Oct 9, 2020




Welcome to day two by the organizers



Breakfast address by Jane Rendell (UCL), Practicing Ethics



Orientations I



Making mobilities tangible response: Catharina Gabrielsson, KTH moderation: Meike Schalk, KTH



Trajectories IV (parallel sessions)



Media and Representation chairs: Irina Davidovici, ETH; Dietrich Erben, TUM

Materiality and Sustainability chairs: Ute Besenecker, KTH; Hilde Remoy, TUD





Concluding Conversation with Ben Boucsein, TUM; Isabelle Doucet, CTH; Hannah Le Roux, Wits; Sophia Psarra, UCL






Roundtable on the building of a European research school

Separate registration required; please email Inge Meulenberg- Ammerlaan

Members of the Erasmus+ consortium «SABRE—Strengthening Architecture and Built Environment Research» from the BauHow5 alliance between TU Munich, TU Delft, Chalmers University of Technology, ETH Zurich, UCL