Bauhaus Kolleg – An interdisciplinary course

From 1999 until 2012, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation run a postgraduate course in urban studies: the Bauhaus Kolleg. For emergent professionals working in architecture, art, design and the humanities, this unique international programme offered insight into the complex realities of contemporary cities. The one-year course equiped them with the knowledge and tools required for a creative approach to the subject.

The one-year Bauhaus Kolleg, which explored diverse thematic priorities, took up this Bauhaus tradition. Over two semesters, the course offered intensive one-to-one supervision within the scope of work on interdisciplinary projects, coupled with lectures by international experts, workshops and seminars.

In 2013, Bauhaus Kolleg was transformed into Bauhaus Lab.


T H E M E S

Every year, the programme put forward a thematic focus, which was explored in selected comparative case studies. The thematic parenthesis united the participants’ individual projects and forms the overall framework for both research and project work. Over the course of study, knowledge of the main theme was consolidated, and enhanced by case studies and experiences gathered on location. The Kolleg finished in the Bauhaus building with a public presentation of the course of study and its outcomes. In recent years, the Kolleg focused on the reformation of Europe in the programmes Bordercities and EU Urbanism, and on post-war urban Modernism in the programme CIAM Urbanism.


R E S E A R C H

Research was one of the cornerstones of the programme. The participants chose between two studios for the sites under investigation. Here, interdisciplinary methods of investigation (urban ethnography, visual anthropology) and visualisation (mapping, diagrams) were taught, and the knowledge gained was applied on location. Online research paved the way for excursions (supported by local cooperation partners) to the sites under investigation. The knowledge gained formed the basis for the projects.


T H E O R Y

The theoretical element of the programme offered a series of lectures and seminars on urban and architectural theoretical discourses and historical subjects. These were introduced from the perspective of urban research understood as an interdisciplinary concept. The basis was supplied by a "Reader", which gave the participants a synoptic overview of the areas of discourse – from the cultural, spatial and human sciences – investigated in the study programme. The objective was to mobilise the critical analysis of these theoretical and historic perspectives in order to develop one’s own stances on design.


I N T E R V E N T I O N S

Public interventions at the excursion sites served as test areas for the Kolleg’s study programmes. Whether in a performance, an installation, a public debate or an exhibition, the participants worked together to develop ideas for diverse projects, which were realised with local partners on location. Here, abstract hypotheses and scenarios developed beforehand were put to the test in an urban context. The interventions constituted an important link between research and project.


T O O L S   A N D   S T R A T E G I E S

The Kolleg’s objective was to convey an overview of contemporary planning and development strategies in urban design. Proceeding from this knowledge base, the participants were asked to critically reflect on and develop their own stance in relation to diverse approaches to design and to bring these to bear in their projects.


P R O J E C T S

The Bauhaus Kolleg’s projects put forward design concepts that may be applied to specific urban situations or problems. They are understood as problem-solving proposals, which aim, with diverse strategies, to impact on the physical, social, political and media worlds of the respective town or city. The jointly curated graduation exhibition in the Bauhaus building synthesised the knowledge gained in the one-year course from research, theoretical reflection, interventions and projects. Publications and websites present the outcomes of the programme to an international public.


A   Y E A R   A T   T H E   B A U H A U S

In Dessau, participants in the Kolleg became part of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation’s varied programme for a year. They worked in the iconic Bauhaus building, which is visited by over 100,000 guests from around the world every year. A range of exhibitions, the programme of events on the historic Bauhaus stage, international conferences and the Foundation’s projects offered the graduates the unique opportunity to update the Bauhaus architecture and the Bauhaus concept with their input.


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