Zwei Architekturstudenten unter einem Kuppeldach (Image: Thilo Schmülgen/FH Köln)

Studying Architecture in Cologne: An investment for the future

The act of building a house is one of the oldest cultural techniques known to mankind and still used today. Architecture - just like clothing - is what one would call an 'essential good', a product of human culture, a means to survive.

As a consequence, we expect a lot from this 'essential good'. It must be stable and well-built, offer protection from the rigors of climate, it must fulfill both our desire for company and for solitude, it must be compatible with our environment, use resources responsibly and last but not least: it must be pleasant to the eye.

To succeed in such an endeavor, considerable knowledge is required. This is why an architect's field of work is not limited to designing buildings. Before this can be done, extensive preparations are necessary and the social, ecological and economic environment in which a building will be erected must be considered. All this influences and contributes to the design, and eventually this net of thoughts and considerations develops into a shape which surrounds all that is important to the owner of the building. And so the preparatory thoughts, the creative design and the physical, constructive and technical components of the construction ideally come together to form a cohesive architectural work of art.

However, the planning and design of a building is only the beginning of an architect's work. There is a constant interaction between his environment and his every action. The house has an impact on the people in the community: They may encounter it every day - it influences their impression of their way to work, the view of their neighbors or a guest's well-being in a particular place. Every space has an influence on the person within it - positive or negative. And a house shapes a landscape just as much as a hill, a valley or a tree does. So the architect does not only have a responsibility towards his client but also towards the society he builds for and the natural environment he builds in. This becomes ever clearer considering the depletion of finite resources, climate change and the social problems of the 21st century.

Good education that fosters awareness for the complexity of an architect's work

The complex interplay between knowledge and ability, between thinking and designing as well as the responsibility towards the owner, society and the environment is something that even the most talented architects need time to learn and master. However, the foundation is always the same: a good education that fosters awareness for the complexity of an architect's work.

Instructors at the Faculty of Architecture are well aware of their responsibility when training and educating young architects. This is why we can offer an education that is close to reality and promotes social responsibility. With our dual approach we equally focus on practical experience and theoretical immersion to lay a sound foundation for shaping personalities with an architectural way of thinking.

Over the course of their studies, students learn to find architectural and urban development solutions even for complex construction and planning tasks. They become well versed in methods of analysis and research, creative and artistic techniques, forms of expression and drafting methods, basics of scientific research and writing as well as communication techniques. Our university promotes the acquisition of knowledge in the fields of ethics, ecology, economy and aesthetics, which complement the broader interdisciplinary education of architects. At all times the focus is on a high creative standard with which architects can contribute to the prosperity of social life.

Preparing our students for the future

Our teaching approach aims at adequately preparing our students for the future and the changing demands that architects will be facing. This is why we also support our students in gaining technical skills: Equipped with computers, a light lab as well as several test chambers for building materials, our faculty provides a cutting-edge work environment.

These days, architects must possess strong oral and writing skills in order to effectively describe and explain design and planning processes to their clients. Therefore our institution offers courses to improve these particular skills.

Since international experience is also becoming more and more important, we continue to internationalize our teaching programs. This includes international study and research projects, inviting international visiting lecturers, for example for our lecture series 'Architectural Tuesday' and supporting incoming international students as well as our own students going abroad.

One of the broadest course selections

In all our endeavors the close relationship between students, professors and assistants is particularly important to us. Out of all Universities of Applied Sciences in Germany, Cologne's Faculty of Architecture offers one of the broadest course selections. As a result we are able to build a particularly strong relationship between our students and our teaching staff. Our experienced and engaging teaching staff offers our students excellent support - in small groups and individually - and helps them to achieve good results. In addition to the excellent knowledge transfer, the constant exchange during classes and beyond - at different festivities, during debates, exhibition openings and field trips - is another important asset.

Our curriculum offers a variety of choices so that students can specialize in the fields they are most interested in. We offer five specializations at graduate level which are in line with current trends in architecture and urban development. As consecutive programs they build on the skills and knowledge gained through the undergraduate program. Our concept works out very well: Many of our Bachelor's and Master's graduates have established themselves in self-employment or work for architectural design offices all over Germany and beyond.