The Berlage post-master program is aimed at students who seek an intense educational setting in which to improve and sharpen their scholarly and research skills as well as critical thinking abilities. The program focuses on cross-cultural research and design; explores innovative architectural and urban models for a more socially and culturally sustainable global future. It is taught by an international body of visiting renowned designers and scholars as well as select teaching staff from the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Its approach is focused on new forms of architectural thinking, alternative modes of defining a design project, and innovative ways of practicing as a designer and a researcher. It is also tailored to educate students in the formulation of integrated design knowledge, considering architecture and urban design a complex connection between cultural, social, and economic factors, as well as of strategic, organizational, and spatial considerations. The program consists of three terms of intensive full-time study after which students receive a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design degree, accredited by Delft University of Technology.
Term 1: Cultures, Methods, and Instruments
During the first term, students will be introduced to methods of advanced critical thinking and research, to historical and contemporary design instruments, and to emerging digital technologies and platforms in order to establish a common language for use in future exploration. Students will engage in a broad range of methods, tools, and topics that define the contemporary architectural project, examining the relationship between architectural thought and practice to the cultures and contexts in which they exist and which they must serve. Communication will be explored as a tool for education, research, design, and visualization; in particular, students will explore how experimental curatorial and theoretical practices may frame academic work for engagement to a broader public. Students will also participate in fieldwork, visiting canonical and contemporary examples of architecture and urban design projects across Europe.
Term 2: Societies, Environments, and Economies
During the second term, students will articulate the common language defined in the previous term by focusing on the impact of societal, environmental, and economic determinants on contemporary architecture and urban design. Students will work on projects that take into account how design considerations relate to these determinants. Fieldwork will be an integral part of the curriculum. In addition, students will start to develop a thesis project to be completed in the third term of study.
Term 3: Arguments, Projections, and Reflections
During this final term of study, students will develop a project in detail, demonstrating their capacity to critically synthesize knowledge in a relevant format. Students will engage in primary archival or scholarly research, conceptualize and shape content, and design and execute work in an innovative presentation (which could take the form of a book, an application, an exhibition, or a movie, among other formats). Students will be encouraged to perform fieldwork when applicable to their project.
In conjunction with courses, each semester a public program fosters a climate of intellectual rigor and deliberate inquiry that challenges the traditionally conceived discipline of architecture. Recent lecturers include Barozzi Veiga, Bruther, Keller Easterling, Frida Escobedo, Tom Emerson, Grafton Architects, Rahul Mehrotra, Joan Ockman, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Carlo Ratti, Peter St John, Marina Tabassum, and Mark Wigley.