We believe that architecture is an intellectual construction of ideas tied to its socio-economic and political context. Architectural production needs to be alert and inquisitive, at the same time innovative, inventive and critical. Consequently we educate/encourage our students to experiment with ideas through research, test their credibility and viability through making and project their implementation in practice. If you are interested in architecture as a domain in which you exercise your intellectual capacity, where you tirelessly pursue arguing for a better world, where you insist on making a difference in how we inhabit the environment, and if you are interested in dialogue and debate, the IKA at the academy is the right choice. We are looking for the best students who are interested in investing in the future of architecture.
Architectural education at the Institute for Art and Architecture is based on five research platforms. They provide the foundation for a new type of architectural education, in which students and teachers alike can focus on a particular interest and yet connect to all of the other topics that are essential to understand the complexity of the discipline of architecture.
ADP Analogue Digital Production
CMT Construction Material Technology
ESC Ecology Sustainability Cultural Heritage
HTC History Theory Criticism
GLC Geography Landscapes Cities
Each platform constitutes a research and design laboratory exploring relevant contemporary issues within its respective field. Design projects are at the center of the education and are taught by a versatile faculty of practicing architects, historians, engineers on a one-on-one basis and through team-teaching.
In an increasingly “real” digital environment, the use of digital design and simulation tools cannot do justice to the potentials of an increasingly digital human being; therefore, we need more than mere "Analog and Digital Production", we need our entire sensorium, and we need all the means at our disposal. In order to go beyond the limits of "Analog and Digital Production", and to continually re-define them, we have to orient our teaching towards researching with "all our means", with algorithms and straws, with data sets floating free in time and space, with screwdrivers and matches, with analog, digital, and digitally fabricated models, with images, films, and language, sounds blowing with the wind.
In the course of the research and teaching done via the Platform, the mutual conditions and dependencies of humans, climate, and high-tech environment are made both visible and newly active. This interactivity is also reflected in the hidden power of spatial systems and used as a tool for developing projects with complex construction programs, and for celebrating this complexity. Furthermore, we investigate the question of how the design and the transformation of materials influence the form and gestalt of our constructed environment, and what new roles both old and new materials can assume.
The Platform ESC investigates the mediating and catalyzing function of architecture in the relationship between organisms and their environment. The increasingly critical conditions of these diverse environments and their different kinds of correlation require more specific, in-depth investigation that also takes into account the growing cultural and social aspects of a sustainability that needs to be newly defined. Similarly, cultural heritage is deemed part of these dynamically interdependent environments, and thus deemed an influential transformative practice in contrast to a duty of conservation.
Additionally to its teaching activities, the Platform HTC is also concerned with research, especially in the fields of the history, theory, and criticism of architecture, urban construction, and space. Therefore, the uniqueness of this Platform lies in its function as an interface: not only between research and teaching, but also between the theory and practice of architectural designing. This is clearly visible in the design studios, where, using a variety of experimental formats, students have the opportunity of “designing” research, and of “researching” design. Thus, students can utilize their visual and creative faculties for theoretical and historical work; they can write and design books, curate exhibitions, prepare and deliver presentations, or design abstract spatial concepts or theories. However, students also have the chance of acquiring the knowledge required for a scientific career, or for writing a doctoral thesis.
The Platform GLC conceives of cities and landscapes as social constructs, and as mental as well as physical, material entities. Both city and landscape are spatio-temporal structures, and their diversity is influenced by cultural, social and natural factors. Anything that exists does so in relation to this environment, and is therefore symbiotic and contextual per se. The platform explores and describes these complex dynamic systems, in the process developing architecture as an operational tool for lending physical reality to the concepts of landscapes and cities.
The Institute for Art and Architecture offers a three year Bachelor’s Program in Architecture (BArch) and a four-semester Master’s Program in Architecture (MArch), both addressing international students. The Academy of Fine Arts as a whole, with its institutes for Fine Arts, Education in the Arts and Cultural Studies, provides an exciting interdisciplinary environment full of synergies.
The first semester of the Bachelor Program is an introductory phase, in the following five semesters, the fields of knowledge and potentials pertaining to the five platforms are developed and discussed in detail. The sequence of foci and platforms is one of increasing project complexity and skills serving as a solid base for the Master Program where the focus will gradually shift from learning the tools of the profession to actively using them in research. The Master Program fosters open teaching based on the platforms' research fields. After an advanced introductory phase, students are largely free to select the focus of their design projects within the five platforms.
The doctoral study of technical sciences at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (Dr. techn.) focuses on theoretical, historical or experimental research questions that arise in the context of architecture, cities and art. There is no specific content or method given. Welcome are innovative scientific examinations of problems that are relevant in the context of contemporary debates, as well as works that deepen theoretically and experimentally the position of the architectural design process.