Research-Lab: Architecture, Urban Artefacts, Collective Representation

R-Lab focuses on the role of public memory and its symbolic relationship to architecture, monuments, and landscapes. Students will pursue long-term individual research projects and participate in international workshops producing new and experimental practices that engage with contested public sites in the Baltic and in the Balkans. The course is open to architects, designers, artists and urban practitioners.


Scope of the Course

30 credits, part time, one academic year.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the course are a MA in art or architecture, a MA in another relevant field or the equivalent knowledge.



A selection is made based on the applicant’s work samples, CV and motivating letter that form the application.



The course is on an advanced level, fristående kurs  (“fristående kurs” means it is not part of a program leading to a degree)



The course is given in English.
Course Content

The course is primarily committed to the development of individual advanced research projects: course participants are encouraged to explore ideas and concepts that can be transformed through critical studies and experimental practices.


This year’s overarching strategy, and that will guide the work developed during the collective travel workshops, focuses on the role of architecture, monuments, and artefacts in determining collective forms of representation.


R-Lab will collaborate directly with the Skissernas Museum in Lund to assess how public monuments impact on social memory. The museum’s very significant collection of public art in public spaces, its extensive archive and contemporary commissions provide a wealth of precedents and ongoing examples to examine, and interact with. Course participants will take part in a two-day workshop at the Skissernas related to their upcoming exhibition, Monuments and Memory.


An investigative and interactive travel workshop to Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina to take place in October 2017 will complement research undertaken at the Skissernas Museum. We will be looking specifically at historic and contemporary monuments and memorials that were either central to the city’s pre-war cosmopolitan society or that mark specific war-time events.


A second investigative and interactive travel workshop will be planned for March 2018 in Vilnius Lithuania. Here many of the city’s landmarks, monuments and significant buildings have been altered, removed, over-layered or re-interpreted to reflect the changing social attitudes during the more recent shifts in the country’s history.


While individual research projects are not necessarily linked to the travel workshops, many tactics that will emerge from these experiences in Sarajevo and Vilnius could help determine the kind of observations, discussions and proposals used to inform each of the individual student’s working procedures. R-Lab’s core methodology is otherwise derived from a theoretically informed, research based hands-on practice.



Expected Learning Outcomes

After the completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • develop a research based project within the field of architecture, design, and cities
  • diagram, map and/or otherwise visually organize critical concepts in a knowledgeable manner
  • mediate and communicate critical research concepts as well as research processes in different formats and media to a larger audience

Course Structure

The fall semester covers historiographical and theoretical methods examining working practices in architecture, design, and media. The semester presents critical methodologies intended to guide the first phase of research and documentation. R-lab introduces course participants to a set of theory based strategies to help critically structure the parameters of the individual’s research project. These strategies include developing critical research skills drawn from multi-disciplinary sources: visual analytical methods encompassing mapping and diagramming, digital graphics and multi-media documentation, as well as tactics for public engagement and discourse.


The spring semester is dedicated to advancing individual research projects, as well as developing innovative research practices, including digital media, audio and visual media, event based performances, print and internet, and material based projects.


Teaching will take the form of course lessons and seminars on theory, methodology and practice (average four course meetings per month), tutoring/individual advising (average one meeting per month), individual student enrolment in material workshops and media laboratories, and collective travel workshops and public seminars.


Students must themselves defray the travelling costs to get to Sarajevo and Vilnius. Those students who will not be able to participate in the study trip(s) will be given an assignment.



The part-time course is divided into two parts during one academic year:

Research-Lab: Architecture, Urban Artefacts and Collective Representation I,
15 credits (Autumn Semester)


Research-Lab: Architecture, Urban Artefacts and Collective Representation II,
15 credits (Spring Semester)


NOTE: Students enrolled in R-Lab who live part-time or full-time in Italy may be granted permission to fulfill partial course requirements at the Swedish Institute in Rome. Those students will nonetheless be required to attend specified classes, travel workshops and complete their final exams and exhibition at the RIA in Stockholm.


Forms of Examination

The first part of the course is examined by the course instructor ensuring that the student has taken active part in the seminars and workshops.


The second part of student’s evaluation at the end of the academic year is an examination of the student’s research project in a material or visual medium of the student´s choice.


To pass the course active participation in the seminars is required, as well as to present a final project and to have performed all parts in a way that fulfills the expected learning outcomes. Students are also required to keep an individual running diary blog that will be linked to the R-Lab course webpage.


Outside examiners, consisting of related international experts and academics, will be invited during the final examination period to contribute non-binding evaluations on the student’s work.



Pass or fail



Professor in Architectural Theory and History


Course Literature and other Study Resources
A literature list will be presented at the start of the course.



The course syllabus has been decided in the Education and Research Council March, 21 2017 and is valid from the Autumn semester 2017.