Students of architecture are concerned with the planning, design and execution of residential homes, public buildings, industrial facilities (civil engineering) as well as with complex urban development and redevelopment projects. These responsibilities take into consideration technical, design and economic aspects, as well as building regulation standards and the needs of the people living, learning, working and relaxing in these buildings and areas. Hence, artistic design, on the one hand, and technically mature engineering plus economic and business realisation, on the other, play an important role. Besides ecological aspects (energy, environment) that are increasingly coming to the fore, growing importance also attaches to the redevelopment and renovation of old and existing buildings and to the question of preserving historical monuments (built heritage), such as listed buildings. Architects often collaborate with civil engineers, above all in the planning and site management of complex projects. Architects must also coordinate with the authorities and building companies. To determine the art and design based aptitude of candidates, numerous institutions have established a special placement procedure that assesses student aptitude before admission to a degree programme.
The 3-year Bachelor's programme forms the basis for a subsequent, 2-year consecutive Master's programme which, together with generally 2 years of professional practical training, leads to enrolment in the Register of Architects and the right to bear the professional title of architect. In addition, studies in architecture are also offered in the form of an 8-semester Bachelor's programme. The degree awarded in combination with professional practical training also meets the standards set out in the EU architects directive.
Urban planning and development, including regional planning, addresses the direction and management of building and regional development projects in residential, community and municipal areas, including traffic and transport, utilities, services and waste disposal, land use regulation plus nature and landscape conservation. To meet these responsibilities, urban developers (urban planners) must be aware of and consider the interactions between political, social, economic and engineering aspects. As experts, they advise their clients and present various potential solutions, e.g. in the form of land usage and development plans, conversion and redevelopment concepts. Urban planning is generally studied as a core area within architecture, regional planning, civil engineering and surveying degree programmes, or is offered in conjunction with other disciplines. Specifically, the following options are available: independent programmes in urban planning with a focus on urban development; independent programmes in regional planning with a focus on urban development; extension and consolidation studies in urban development as part of a degree programme in architecture, civil engineering, surveying (geodesy) or landscape architecture, or an appropriate postgraduate course in these subjects. Those wishing to work in the field of landscape architecture can gain the appropriate qualifications by taking a degree programme in landscape conservation, landscape planning or landscape architecture.
Whether as an employee in an architectural office or in a freelance capacity, the focus of architectural work is on the designing, preliminary planning and management of the construction work of single buildings through to the planning of major urban development projects. Consultancy services for clients also represent part of the work. In the building industry, architects ensure that buildings are thoroughly planned, they calculate the costs and monitor the execution. Working in building corporations or major enterprises, such as Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail) or Deutsche Post AG (German Post), architects are either responsible for accompanying the project or for setting targets for and instructing the construction companies executing the work. This also applies to duties in public administration and the authorities, e.g. in urban development offices. In these areas, architects also take on urban planning responsibilities.
Lectures, exercises and practical courses in projective geometry, mapping and surveying, drawing and designing, principles of structural theory and design planning, building theory, building physics, building chemistry, building materials, cost-calculating for building projects, building and construction information systems, history of art and construction, facility engineering, building regulations and law, urban planning.
Extension and consolidation studies in all subjects, above all structural theory and design planning, with the production of major design and study projects, plus acquisition of basic economics, social sciences and law skills. Increasingly important extension and consolidation subjects include regional planning and landscape planning; important urban development areas include history of the built environment, basic ecological aspects, planning studies, local authority planning, regional/state planning, preservation of historical monuments (built heritage), traffic and transport, and law.
Depending on the school/vocational qualifications, students complete a pre-study internship of several weeks, for example in an architectural/planning office and/or a construction company. Practical phases of varying length completed during the studies.
Modules in creative design and projection (principles, projective geometry, architectural visualisation, drawing and CAD), design, (building theory, building design, urban planning and development), engineering, (load-bearing structures, structural engineering, structural theory, building physics and materials science, facility engineering, climate appropriate building, structural damage), history and theory (theory of architecture, history of art and buildings, preservation of historical monuments (build heritage), building mapping and surveying, planning and building operations (planning and building regulations law, planning management, fire safety), cultural principles (aesthetics, sociology, lifestyle and culture). Complementary cross-disciplinary courses and foreign languages. Great importance attaches to practical study projects.