Symposium: DesignBuild Studio- New Ways in Architectural Education

international symposium for cross-cultural, practice-oriented projects in teaching and research, Berlin 2012

short film

The international symposium and exhibition took place at the Department of Architecture, TU Berlin from November 29th to December 1st, 2012. During these intense three days, more than 180 participants with over 60 speakers drawn from North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania met for the first time to discuss DesingBuild-Studios as a hands-on, learning by doing model to teaching architecture, as an alternative to expand the horizons of architectural research and design, as well as to develop socially engaged architecture projects with the cooperation of universities, architectural offices and governmental and non-governmental organisations from all around the world.

Through an analysis of a wide array of DesignBuild projects, obstacles, problems, solutions and best practices where discussed.  The first steps towards creating a platform that will explore and reinforce the productive synergies of the engaged parties had been made. Ideas, different perspectives, challenges, innovative solutions and the will and need to working together were exchanged during this three-day event that bubbled with enthusiasm.

The symposium was accompanied by an exhibition on DesignBuild projects and gave space to present posters and publications for groups and organisations related and interested in the topic. A publication on the symposium‘s presentations and discussions will be released in order to secure it‘s sustainable outcome.


Speakers and Participants
The symposium was addressed to organisers and participants of DesignBuild projects, architects, landscape architects, engineers, social scientists, representatives of schools of architecture, international development agencies, NGOs, governmental organisations working in the realm of cooperation and intercultural exchange, members of the building industry, interested students, academics, and people working in the cultural field.


Day 1
Panel 1: Presentation of key DesignBuild Studios
AA London; RTWH Aachen; TU Berlin; TU Wien; PUC Chile
Panel 2: Awarded projects and renowned best practices from architecture schools, non-for-profit organisations and foundations will be presented by their initiators.
Steve Badanes, Neighborhood Design Build Studio, Washington; Sergio Palleroni, BaSiC Iniciative/ Portland State University; Alfredo Brillembourg, Uran Think Tank. Eth Zürich Eike Roswag, ZRS Architekten Ingenieure, Berlin;
Exhibition opening

Day 2
Think Labs: Led by experienced architects, members of international cooperation organisations, NGOs, foundations and governmental organisations.
The purpose of these labs is to breakdown in detail the pros and cons, the challenges and chances of DesignBuild projects in relation to: Construction and Design, International Cooperation, and Architectural Educational Practices in the fields of research, teaching, and practice.
Panel discussion: Think Lab‘s final conclusion; Analysis of objectives, content, organisation, and transferability potential; DesignBuild future scenarios and pronunciation of symposium‘s final statement.

Day 3 Specially for DAAD alumni

Think Lab: network initiatives, fundraising, public relations. Initiation of networks, new projects, and research ideas.
Tour through contemporary vernacular architecture in Berlin.

Selection of comments on the symposium

“It has been a really interesting and useful experience for us… I feel it will push us forward”
“I have enjoyed every session and the tour, and I fell in love with Berlin. Professionally and academically, I have many ideas and inspirations to take my work… waiting to get involved with you in future endeavors”
“It has been a tremendously fruitful experience”
“It was really great to meet and hear from so many amazing people and projects”
“I hope this will be the first of many simposiums to come to improve the DBS and our own perspective!”
“I want to thank you for a great time and a fabulous conference. It was fantastic in every sense. I am still thinking about some of the ideas learned and responses. I am looking forward to hear about the ideas that emerge for the future and possible conferences. You can always count on my support”
“It was wonderful inspiring days in Berlin. Looking forward to keep in contact”



the keynote speakers who came for free or very little money and with huge enthusiasm: Andres Lepik, Steve Badanes, Alfredo Brillembourg, Sergio Palleroni, Eike Roswag
The Symposium and Exhibition Team: Valentina Rojas Loa: curator and organisation
The Seminar on Architecture Communication, TU Berlin for excellent graphics and design, exposition concept, design and execution, lovingly catering-, registration and wardrobe service, professional filmand audio recording: Madelaine Coline, Laura de Pedro, Natalia Deus, David Fontcuberta, David Freijeiro, Olivia Grandi, Alicia Gutiérrez, Malte Heinze, Paul Künzel, Stefan Liczkowski, Frithjof Meissner, Christof Sitzler
Strategic Support by: Sabine Konopka and team and Burkhardt Lüdtke for exhibition support; The people who supported the ‘Vernacular Aspiration’ tour and permitted us spectacular insights: Felix Rohde, Britta Bürger, Andy Wolf, Antje Rautenschlein, Marco Clausen, Jana Seifert
The film team: Fred Plassmann ‘offscreen / architecturclips‘ and ‘a prima vista‘
The host: TU Berlin for the space, equipment and facilities; The Habitat Unit, TU Berlin: Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle for his kind support
The financial support: DAAD; the STO Stiftung, Freunde der TU Berlin e.V.; Verein der Freunde der Studiengänge der Architektur VFFA and private donations
All wonderful speakers, moderators, discussion partners and exhibitors, who came to share their knowledge and passion, especially Prof. Ingrid Goetz because this event was the consequence of her work.