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  • Locations: Berlin, Germany; Dessau, Germany; Hamburg, Germany
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Director: Passe, Ulrike Housing Options: Apartment/Flat
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.3 Language of Instruction: English, German
Host Country Language: German Online Course Catalog Available: No
Sponsor: Iowa State ISU Course: ARCH 576
Program Description:

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Summer Academy Berlin

In collaboration with faculty and students from Berlin and other US architecture programs, this summer academy will build upon the summer 2010-2016 programs and continue the exploration of possibilities to design an urban architectural environment for a low carbon lifestyle. This intense design program will investigate technical requirements and architectural opportunities. In addition to ISU faculty, leading Berlin professionals will work with groups of students on ideas and potentials. Sunlight is energy, but it is the source that makes form legible. The obvious architectural issue will be paired with concepts to minimize the loss of energy throughout the winter and strategies to prevent overheating in the summer. The summer academy Berlin is considered a laboratory to investigate in shaping forms that contribute to the goals of sustainability. Designing buildings, which do not work for only one functional setting will be a major aspect of the architects’ work. Creating the form draws from a dialogue with the urban context, the circulation, the construction system and the energy performance of the skin and the spatial composition. Energy performance software will be integrated into the design process. Due to the construction needs after the reunification of Germany, Berlin has become a field laboratory for energy efficient design in many new residential, commercial and governmental constructions. Thus, field trips to energy efficient buildings and visit to professional offices in Berlin, and its vicinity will complement the course outline.

The 2018 summer academy will continue participating in the ongoing challenge: providing affordable housing within the inner city limits.  In the last years economically driven interest started to develop most of the empty sites, which allowed for straight forward design approaches. What is left are infill situations which ask for innovative design approaches. The summer academy will focus on those sites.  In addition to the changing scenario of the cities profile, short term housing is needed for refugees who come to Berlin. Instead of addressing this urgent need with temporary housing, the focus of the summer academy is to investigate design approaches which allow satisfying the immediate challenges and future needs of the city.

We therefore will explore the possibility of typological approaches, dealing with structure,  circulation,  the building envelope and last not least changing program. Adaptability to change will be the main principle for design decisions. This is not only the case in terms of space arrangements to accommodate different users but also with regard to sustainability issues.  Mitigation and adaptation to a changing climate have a major impact on how the build environment eventually will perform as buildings need to achieve more with less. The result can be seen as a balance between social, economic, environmental und individual needs.
The inherent quality of a building type allows for adaptation or not. Considering this potential we aim to explore the possibility to develop a design strategy which allows a building to perform as well under different climate conditions, to be more precise the one today and the one of the future. As Stephane Hallegatte, a French meteorologist outlined, it is no longer the question to build for one climate zone, instead, with the lifespan of buildings in mind, they need to be able to adapt and relate to two climate conditions: current and future.
This summer academy aims to detect those architectural elements in building typology, which have proven to withstand the continuous challenges of dynamic societies. While architecture magazines elaborate on zero carbon building standards, the public attention starts to address the challenges of global warming and an increasing world population. Attempting to adapt to a rapidly changing climate, architecture as a profession is more than ever challenged to create spaces, which cater to those constantly changing conditions. Demographic changes provide further challenges demanding reuse and reprogramming of building structures.  The summer academy will look into developing design strategies which will meet short terms need as well as long term goals. The result will be on exhibit to the public opening with a reception.


Associate Professor of Architecture Ulrike Passe will serve as the program leader and accompany the students to Germany for the five-week experience. Prior to international travel students are required to participate in an orientation program. 

Students interested in this program should enroll in Arch 576 section DE (4 credits) in summer 2018.

Tentative 2018 Itinerary

June 7 Departure from the US
June 8 Arrival date in Berlin I Move in housing
June 9 Start of program 
June 10 First symposium I site visit I city walks
June 11 Workshop #1: Urban workshop: Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 12 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 13 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 14 Free day to explore Berlin or optional Berlin building tours
June 15 Free day to explore Berlin or optional Berlin building tours
June 16 Workshop #2 Urban Daylight: Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 17 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 18 Visit to city model I Students work in studio in groups with their peers 
June 19 Students work in studio in groups with their German peers
June 20 Students work in studio in groups with their peers, evening talk and panel discussion
June 21 Hamburg field trip
June 22 Hamburg field trip
June 23 Workshop #3: urban natural ventilation: work in studio in groups with their peers
June 24 visit to Eberswalde (highest rated German sustainable building)
June 25 Second symposium with invited guest speakers I
June 26 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 27 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
June 28 Free day for individual travel or continued project work
June 29 Free day for individual travel or continued project work
June 30 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
July 1 Dessau fieldtrip to Bauhaus and environmental protection agency
July 2 Final project: Students work in studio in groups with their peers
July 3 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
July 4 Students work in studio in groups with their peers
July 5 Free day for individual travel or continued project work
July 7 I Departure

Housing: Students can organize their own housing or may be accommodated in apartments on campus at Beuth Hochschule !Or Technik Berlin Contact at Beuth Hochschule !Or Technik:  Robert Demel, 10 Luxemburger Sir., 13 353 Berlin, Germany


Participants in all College of Design international programs must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Accepted into departmental program of study
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.3
  • Clear academic record including no status of academic warning or probation in the semester prior to or the semester of international program participation
  • Course prerequisites as listed in the ISU Catalog
The College of Design may check a participant's current GPA and/or academic status at any time. Failure to maintain the required GPA of 2.3 or the failure to maintain a clear academic record may affect participation in an international program.


All participants in this program will be automatically enrolled in CISI, an international health insurance and emergency service plan. This insurance plan is required for all undergraduate and graduate students participating in ISU study abroad programs. The cost of the plan is $1.31 per day, and it has been built into the cost of the program fee. More information is available at the links below:

CISI Participant FAQ
International Insurance 101
CISI Policy Information

Costs and Financial Assistance

In addition to tuition, students are required to pay a program fee to participate in this program. Students sign a financial agreement prior to studying abroad, and there are certain financial penalties for withdrawing from the program after the financial agreement has been signed.

Participants can apply their financial aid packages to study on this program and should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. The college offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships specifically for students studying abroad.

Budget information for the 2018 program is available here.

The program fee will be charged to the U-bill at the end of May, and it will be due in full on June 20.  ISU tuition and fees may be applied at different times and have different due dates.

Withdrawal Penalties

The application deadline for the 2018 program is January 29  2018. All students who are accepted to participate must either commit to or decline their offer in the ISUAbroad online application system no later than April 25, 2017. Those students who commit their offer are officially part of the program and will be responsible for the entire program fee even if withdrawal occurs. The withdrawal penalty will be applied to the U-bill and will be due in full on May 20, 2018. In addition to withdrawal penalties, the participant is also responsible for all program payments the college is obligated to make on his or her behalf. 


Withdrawal Penalty

After committing to participate in ISUAbroad and before April 25, 2018:


On or after April 26, 2018 and before May 30, 2018:  

50% of program fee

On or after May 30, 2018:

Full program fee

Contact and Additional Information

Questions about Summer Academy Berlin should be directed to Ulrike Passe.

This program is currently not accepting applications.