AAR4515 - Urban Design and Architecture 1


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2024/2025

Course content

The city and urban landscape are the subject of the studio. Based on the context of a chosen site, we develop concepts, spatial structures, programmes, and design rules, and creatively integrate them into robust urban design and architectural proposals.

The leitmotif of the studio is to design the urban space as liveable, beautiful, and open. In an interdisciplinary dialogue with urban stakeholders and experts, we aim to reconcile the dynamic forces of urban transformation with architecture and planning in the form of an adaptable urban design. In this manner, high-quality urban spaces can be created that are responsive, yet specific to their context, contributing to a sustainable balance of our urban environment.

The studio topics are based on contemporary urban themes such as the design and densification of urban nodes and quarters, revitalization of former industrial and harbor areas, and the sustainable transformation of our city landscape.

Learning outcome

COMPETENCE: The students gain an advanced understanding on the inner logic of urban design and practical experience. This enables them to tackle complex urban challenges, and to synthesize their knowledge into a design project at the interface between planning, architecture and landscape architecture. The students are assigned to develop complex urban design and architectural projects, by critically reflecting and integrating relevant design criteria such as heritage, mobility, public space, landscape, urban structure, morphology, density, scale, building typology, materiality, program, and phased development.

KNOWLEDGE: The students will gain knowledge on contemporary urban transformation processes and context-based design methods. The learning objective is to analyse, comprehend, and design intricate urban environments. The insights gained are expressed through visionary and strategic thinking, concept development, and the design of urban spaces. The studio and integrated Urban Lab course (AAR4905) seek to provide a comprehensive package linking urban design, theory, research and practice.

SKILLS: The candidates will learn and apply urban design tools such as sketching, site analysis and mapping, model building, scenario development, master planning, and space programming. The course will improve their visualization, presentation and documentation techniques and learn to communicate with urban authorities, actors and experts.

Learning methods and activities

The studio is structured in six consecutive and interrelated phases:

1 ANALYSIS AND VISION: We investigate our site with field studies and mappings, and produce an analysis of its atmospheres, spatial structures, and activities. Based on this inventory, the students will propose visions and ideas for their projects.

2 CONCEPTS AND STRATEGIES: The visions will then be further developed into urban design concepts and strategies.

3 URBAN DESIGN: Based on these, urban design proposals are created in the form of master plans and physical models in a scale of 1:1000 to 1:500.

4 ARCHITECTURE AND OPEN SPACES: To test and show the main qualities of the urban design projects, characteristic areas are elaborated on an architectural and landscape architectural scale of 1:500 to 1:200.

5 DESIGN RULES: For the open spaces, buildings and their use, design rules and flexible development scenarios are created.

6 POSTERS AND DOCUMENTATION: For the final presentation and exhibition, all drawings and visualizations will be refined, exhibited on posters, and documented in a studio publication.

A lecture series provides a broader perspective on urban design and its relation to architecture and planning. It includes presentations on the studio themes and inputs from local partners and experts. Master plan and typology studies conducted in the integrated Urban Lab (AAR4905) serve as reference examples for the studio project.

Further on evaluation

The final project work forms the basis for the grading. All other submissions are compulsory and are apparised approved / not approved. At the regular exam, students are offered the opportunity to present the final project work orally to the examiner. The oral presentation itself is not part of the assessment. Deferred exams are normally added to the next exam period.

Specific conditions

Limited admission to classes. For more information:

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Architecture (MAAR)
Architecture (MAAR2)

Required previous knowledge

Completed three years bachelor studies in architecture or equivalent. Basic knowledge in architecture and urban design.

Course materials

Brief, assignments, instructions, lectures, reference projects, reading lists etc.

Working formats: sketches, collages, maps, plans, drawings, sections, elevations, perspectives, physical and digital models.

Main working scale: 1:1000 to 1:200.


Version: 1
Credits:  15.0 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Urban Design and Planning
  • Architecture
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Architecture and Planning


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