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Unliveable Berlin Studio (ABPL90297)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeABPL90297
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Unliveable Berlin is a University of Melbourne design studio, organised and run by Michael Roper (Director, Architecture Architecture). This studio will take a group of masters students from architecture, landscape and urban design to the ANCB Metropolitan Laboratory in Berlin where they will explore and develop ideas for experimental housing projects.


Berlin has undergone several periods of trauma and transformation. Growing out of two world wars, living through three decades of east-west division followed by re-unification, rebuilding and more recent bankruptcy, Berlin is riddled with the scars of its history. Politically caught between socialism and capitalism; physically, between the destruction of war and urban regrowth; culturally, between division and unity; this is a city coming to terms with its physical and cultural territories, revelling in the uncertainty of its future.


Berlin has a history of social exclusion and ideological seclusion. In this context we ask, how does a city express its hostilities and how, as architects, can we foster cities of inclusion? With Berlin as our lab rat, we will consider what it means to accommodate the excluded, and to redress cultural hostilities through architecture and urban thinking.


Berlin is the heartland of Baugruppen, a model for housing that empowers ordinary citizens to design and finance their own apartment buildings. In Melbourne, the Nightingale movement is a revolution in housing inspired by Baugruppen. Students will have the opportunity to study and visit the Baugruppen projects, along with Berlin’s other experimental housing movements from the 1950s (Hansaviertel) and 1980s (IBA).


Stripped of well-worn reference points, the travelling studio encourages students to see with fresh eyes. They come to sense a city’s unconscious – its undercurrents – developing instincts for the manifold cultural forces that drive a place. Through the travelling studio, we aim to foster broad, global-thinking problem solvers, versed in the physical mechanisms (infrastructural, geographical) and cultural forces (political and social) that underpin urban life.


ANCB is the headquarters for an extensive international network of institutions and universities, supporting research and knowledge transfer in an environment where architects, planners, economists, philosophers, scientists, artists, engineers and ecologists come together to tackle the issues facing globalised urban environments. At ANCB, students will engage with a range of academics, researchers and specialists relevant to the themes of the studio.


Students will be expected to cover the costs of their flights, accommodation and living expenses as well as any additional activities undertaken in Berlin. Students may wish to apply for Global Mobility Fund sponsorship. Approximate costs are as follows:

Flights: $3,000

Accommodation: $1,000 - shared accommodation

Living expenses (meals and incidentals): $1,500


Master of Architecture students can use this subject to replace ABPL90142 Master of Architecture Studio C, ABPL90143 Master of Architecture Studio D or ABPL90115 Master of Architecture Studio E OR to count toward either the Architecture elective or Multidisciplinary elective component of their course.

Master of Urban Design students can use this subject to count towards the elective component of their course.

Master of Landscape Architecture students can use this subject to count towards the Landscape Architecture elective or Multidisciplinary elective component of their course.

Please note: 2019 Travelling period is between Monday 12th – Friday 23rd August.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To provide students with an experience in international collaboration
  • To encourage students to identify and engage critically with specific cultural practices, industrial contexts and socio-technical traditions
  • To stimulate systematic/creative thinking and problem solving within students through their experiences of how local issues govern planning, design and construction processes in a particular location

Generic skills

  • Interdisciplinary teamwork
  • Understanding and navigating social and cultural difference
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Organisational collaboration
  • Managing risk

Last updated: 13 August 2019