The Competition of Competitions

September School
05. – 08.09.2024

We give students a voice!

Curators: Anastassia Smirnova-Berlin (IKA), Lisa Schmidt-Colinet (IKA), Baerbel Mueller (I oA), Ute Schneider (TU Urbanism)

Application deadline: 15.07.2024
Admission: Free
Prize for the winning team: Yes
Language: English
ECTS: 3 points (for the students of partnering institutions)
Location: Alte WU Vienna, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Who can apply: Master’s students in architecture, urban and landscape design, urban planning, social design, political science, sociology

APPLY: Send a Letter of motivation (300 words) and a Bio (150 words) to arch@​akbild.​ac.​at before 23.00 on 15.07.2024. Please, state your name/​surname, current program of studies, name of the institution. Only 30 applicants will be accepted as a result of the selection procedure.

For the first time in history, the three architecture schools of Vienna – the IKA, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the I oA, University of Applied Arts Vienna, and Institute of Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, Technical University Vienna, – organise a joint experimental September School. 

It will take the form of a competition between several multidisciplinary groups of student participants, each supported by a duo of professors/​teachers from our institutes. Every group is invited to create a full brief for an imagined international design contest for a specific site in Vienna. 

Over the span of four days, architecture master’s students along with the students from the departments of urban planning, social design, sociology and political science will be preparing a convincing conceptual rationale and programmatic guidelines for the future development of the chosen site (the why? and the what?), while also specifying the procedure and related protocols of the competition itself, including the phasing, the jury, and the selection criteria.

For this edition of September School we selected the highly charged site of the Alte Wirtschaftsuniversität (WU). The municipality of Vienna has already scheduled it for demolition: a new university campus – the largest in Austria! – is planned instead on the massive site of Alte WU.

Rarely does a site of such complexity and significance in the centre of the city become a subject of dramatic rethinking. Our joint project will give the younger generation of designers and researchers a voice in this critical discussion which was so far led mainly by the city’s authorities and a selected group of experts. Formulate a design assignment yourself, not just respond to briefs formulated by others!

In this case, participants are envisaged as proactive ideators with unique expertise rather than students. Group leads will take the roles of inspirational interlocutors and process moderators, not teachers, creating an inter-generational coalition with participants. The project will also prompt convergence between professional specialisations of three institutions, benefitting from their different educational curricula and teaching approaches.

The international committee of professionals is invited to revise all submitted briefs in the evening of September 8. After a collective discussion the jury will award one winning entry, which will be honoured with a prize during the public event on September 9.

The results will be broadly publicised and reflected upon in various social media and the press. Perhaps, some of the ideas developed in the course of this collective project could even inform the brief of the official architectural contest for the future university campus which will be announced by the municipality of Vienna in December 2024.