Image: © Leon Klaßen
This post is part of a series of NBL How To’s and should make our processes more transparent for students, colleagues and cooperation partners.
We enjoy having a new team every semester and want to give as many people as possible the chance to take part in our studios, seminars and other courses. We are always happy to hear the motivation of people to study with us and develop our themes and formats with you. Generally speaking, we expect you to be motivated and self-organised. We will not tell you what to do and expect you to develop your own critical position by working in large groups on complex themes.
Design studios are the best place to get to know us, our themes and methods. We offer master design studios with about 20 places every semester and a bachelor design studio with 30 places in the winter semester.
Our studio projects are always based in a real context, almost always locally in Berlin Brandenburg, and take place in cooperation with actors from civil society groups or other institutions. This means that we generally use German as the working language in the studio, in presentations and with partners – this enables us to have meaningful interactions with all of our cooperation partners and work with them on the same level regardless of their language skills. We realise that IfA hosts a large number of exchange students each semester, and we can always accommodate this – that said, you will take a lot more away from the semester if you have a working knowledge of German. We sometimes offer English language studios, and this will be clearly indicated.
Currently, the IfA policy is that the chairs do not have an opportunity to choose who gets allocated places in their design studios. Information on how to apply through ISIS can be found in the KVV for the current semester. We also do not see which people have applied. We cannot always accommodate individual wishes, but if you have missed out more than once on a place in one of our studios, then email us directly and let us know – we will see what is possible.
We offer seminar courses for bachelor and master in the summer semester – sometimes, we do smaller seminars in winter. These courses are often very oversubscribed, and we always try to allocate places fairly. Sometimes, this is by randomly allocating places. In other cases, we have projects which have come out of a design studio or other course, that are being further developed in a seminar. In these cases, it is really important to have a certain degree of continuity; this means we will give some people who already worked on the project priority in some seminars. However, we will also always bring in some new people too.
What to Expect
Regardless of which format, there are a few things that you can expect from a semester with us:
- Projects based on real contexts, problems and cooperations – with all of the complexity that this entails. That said, we always try to make our teaching as fun, dynamic and surprising as possible!
- For every task, you will be working in a group, sometimes changing groups over the course of the semester. You will not necessarily just be working with people you know already.
- We are a large team and do not always have the same opinions. We will help you develop your own project and position, not tell you exactly what to do.
- We expect you to sit in the front row (if there is not space for a circle) during presentations, make the first comments and talk more than the NBL team does. There will always be a feedback group that leads the discussion.
- We value your time and our guests’ time just as much as ours. This means we start and finish presentations and studio meetings on time and will have strict timekeeping – so don’t be late!
- We expect a strong collective dynamic and culture of discussion between groups. Most importantly, we expect you to listen to each other and make the studio a space where everybody’s voice is heard and valued.
The best way to get an idea about our courses is to take some time to browse the extensive documentation on the NBL website!
As with many other creative disciplines, architecture will always be somewhat subjective and difficult to assess. We will always try to be transparent about our criteria to assess your work. All module assessment criteria are published in MOSES (for example masters studio and bachelor studio), which is our assessment’s basis. We want to place an emphasis on the process rather than the product of architecture and will always incorporate the tasks, mid-term and end presentations in our marking as well as factoring collaborative engagement over the course of the semester into the mark for the presentation. You will receive the same grade as rest of your group for each task.
If you have any questions get in touch with us via email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you in an NBL course soon! <3