Heritage Design


Building within existing structures is coming more and more in the focus of the architect´s practical work. Whether in case of densification of growing existence cities influenced by a significant population inflow, or in case of increased magnetism of existing town and city centres within regions therefore affected by a great population outflow. The existing building stock represents not only a great potential in terms of resource-saving conversions but shapes our developing urban and rural habitats as well, creating a specific identity and a sense of familiarity. In this light, it is further important to relate to the qualities of our built environment and to reinforce the identity of a place. A comprehensive analysis of the venue, as well as the ability to design in a given context, are of great importance for the configuration of our built legacy. It is not only a matter of managing built structures of historical significance and those under protection as historic monuments, urban spaces as well as rural environments, in a responsible manner. It is also a matter of finding appropriate solutions for a great number of high-quality buildings of all generations

(LINK: www.heritagedesign.de).


In the course of the Master program “Heritage Design” expert knowledge and skills in the domain of planning and building within a built context are acquired, and existing ones are further developed and applied.

In the scope of the studies, high priority is attributed to the comprehensive analysis and evaluation of existing conditions, in terms of historical, structural, material, spatial as well as formal characteristics. At the same time, interpreting and understanding the context regarding historical, sociological and cultural circumstances are of great importance. Together they form theoretical grounds for any further planning or design and are to be performed on a scientific level. Different approaches to design in the existing conditions are illustrated and discussed in a complex design task. The theoretical grounds concerning the aforementioned topics are communicated in broadly laid-out interdisciplinary cross-related lectures. Independent preparation of a Master thesis together with the elaboration of complex design and a scientific, analytical, written assignment, supported by thematic block seminars, excursions and workshops round up the studies.

Study program

Conservation, renovation, and expansion as interdisciplinary processes

  • Analysis and assessment of existing building stock and its context
  • Dealing with historical ensembles, urban spaces and rural structures with concern for their constructive and structural characteristics
  • Advanced knowledge of conceptual architectural strategies and approaches in dealing with the existing building structures
  • Advanced knowledge of building techniques and structures
  • Advanced knowledge of materials and reconstruction technologies
  • Structural analysis and upgrading, energy efficiency and building physics
  • Theory and basics of the preservation of historical monuments
  • Advanced knowledge of history and architectural theory
  • Dealing with regulatory conditions and funding opportunities
  • Advanced knowledge of project and planning management

Study goals

Master students should, on one hand, obtain awareness concerning the preservation of high-quality building structures and building culture. On the other hand, a strategy of adequately dealing with these topics in regard to conversion, appendage or expansion should also be communicated to the students.

Learning and developing skills of scientific work, from research to writing, take an important part of the studies. One of the main objectives of the educational program is to obtain one’s own responsible approach regarding the delicate managing of the existing building stock, based on the achieved knowledge and experience.