Master of Advanced Studies in the History and Theory of Architecture

The Master of Advanced Studies programme on the History and Theory of Architecture (MAS ETH ARCH/HTA) is geared to developing and extending the students’ ability to reflect cultural connections and correlations. The historic contextuality of architecture is an essential aspect in the design work of every architect. Integrating the past into one’s own architectural thinking and knowledge of architecture in a vital and at the same time reflective process is a challenging proposition and informs the shape of actual buildings just as much as urban design factors cleverly taken into account. The MAS course initiates students into the working methods of architectural history and theory, based on selected problems, whilst teaching the basics of architectural and art history. Students are taught how to work academically on their own.

The preparations for an exhibition on the history of gta, which celebrates in 2017 its fiftieth anniversary, are at the centre of activities for 2017. Students are involved in the development of the academic groundwork as well as in the design and organisation of the exhibition. In close cooperation with the exhibitions department, the gta Archive and professors from the gta, students are delving into the role the institute has taken in international architectural discourse since 1967.

The Institute was established at a time of political, social and architectural upheaval. Philipp Felsch's thesis of the 'long summer of theory' aptly describes the importance which was then internationally attributed to penetrating into social issues with the use of theory. This is the context in which gta has its roots. Its importance is reflected not least in that key figures who have been instrumental to architecture since the 1960s – such as as Aldo Rossi, Bernhard Hoesli or Bruno Reichlin – were connected to the gta. Reflection on the significance of theory for social practice – and thus also on the relevance of university research to society – is also a key part of this exploration of the role of this institute in the international debate on architecture.

But this exhibition concept makes up only a part of the MAS curriculum. Teaching includes further individually guided term papers by the students and further teaching events. In the spring semester, students will be busy on the topic of the 'postmodernism in Switzerland' and a one-week study trip to Athene.