Housed within the unique institutional framework of the Städelschule, SAC is an exclusive offer among the postgraduate architectural training programmes worldwide. Situated in one half of an early 20th-century townhouse next to the main building of the Städelschule, SAC provides its members with a near domestic setting for the social and academic lives. Additional studios are within a short walking distance from the Städelschule campus. The locations offer ample space for students to work within an atmospheric milieu.

Given its small size yet truly international profile, SAC pursues excellence in architectural research and design while offering its students an intimate, challenging and ambitious academic environment where attention is given to each student’s personal development.

Being part of one of the world’s leading art schools, SAC engages in an intense experimental approach to the architectural discipline, exploring its boundaries and opportunities for continuously contributing to its development. Seminars, studio meetings, coffee breaks and individual consultancy provide the setting for a lively discourse which bring the theoretical speculations to the practical work and ceaseless experiments at SAC.

FACTS

  • Städelschule is a world-renown, international art academy and was founded in 1817.
  • Städelschule has currently 203 students, 65 of which are students at SAC; around 60 % of the Städelschule students come from abroad. At SAC the international rate is more than 90%.
  • SAC has four full-time employees and five guest-professors. Städelschule has ten professors teaching in the arts.
  • SAC received its official accreditation for its Master programme in 2006. In 2010 the programme introduced its thematic specialisations in the second year.

DAILY LIFE AT SAC

Daily life at SAC consists of bustling studio activities interspersed with numerous events taking place on a weekly basis. Städelschule has an ongoing lecture series with invited guests throughout the academic year. In the summer semester, SAC hosts its series which features 8-12 guests drawn from the international architectural scene and related fields. The series is of outstanding quality and has received international attention. Visiting lecturers and other guests frequently drop in on the studios, and some of the most memorable visits have included planned or improvised discussions with these guests about the ongoing work at SAC. Discussions typically stay very close to the ongoing research and the work of the respective students, and the informality of the setting allows for the work to be reviewed in an incisive yet friendly manner.

All these things make SAC different to other, comparable programmes. Unique research, experiments and project work are undertaken in an environment that caters to and thrives on individual contributions and collective efforts. Needless to say, SAC members spend a vast amount of time in their respective studios and SAC’s main building. Life in the programme has a vibrant pulse that often runs late into the evenings and over weekends.

In addition to the academic work, SAC offers an additional dimension to its pedagogical agenda: It presents an ultimate personal setting for motivated students who, based on individual talents and abilities, can develop and excel in relation to current, international concerns in architecture. The informal setting with its many conversations that take place throughout the building and in the Städelschule at any odd time contribute to this. Or, in the words of SAC's former leader, Sir Peter Cook: ‘The Städelschule Architecture Class (is) small, perfectly formed, concentrated and genuinely international." This ‘perfect’ form revolves first of all around the personal relations that are made at SAC - between students, between students and teachers as much as between students and visitors.

ACTIVITIES AND LOCATION

SAC's activities and programme are part of the larger programme of the Städelschule. In addition to the lectures and events series in the arts and architecture, this includes various workshops, seminars as well as an art exhibition programme. The latter centres on the world-famous gallery, Portikus, which is located in a separate building on an island in the river, Main, a ten minute walk from the school. The Portikus is directed by Städelschule’s dean.

SAC’s research, projects and and student work are frequently presented to the public. At times this takes the form of projects in public spaces and, more frequently, in exhibitions in Frankfurt or elsewhere. Städelschule’s Open House Exhibition, Rundgang, which usually takes place over three days in mid-February, is one major occasion for the school and its students to present their work to the public. Typically, more than 10.000 people visit Rundgang, and SAC shows its work in both the Städelschule’s main building and in its own studios.

The small Städelschule campus is adjacent to the Städel Museum, one of Germany's most important art history museums, and only three hundred meters away from the picturesque Main riverside. The area on the south-side of the river hosts a large range of museums, including, not the least, the German Architectural Museum which provides a substantial lecture and exhibition programme supplementing that of SAC. Normally, SAC hosts its End-of-Year Reviews in the lecture hall at the German Architectural Museum and, in October 2015, also its graduation ceremony took place there.

Frankfurt’s impressive line-up of museums and cultural centres, such as Mousonturm, constantly offer very attractive shows and bestow the city with a vital cultural life. The enormous Frankfurt Fair with its world-renown Book Fair and Car Show also contribute to this. Frankfurt, with its almost 700.000 people and an influx of 300.000 commuters on work days, is one of Germany's central cities. Its history, which goes back centuries, establishes it as one of Europe's most important trade and infrastructural nodes. For this reason, the city combines its modest size with an intense, international flair and supplies the Städelschule and SAC with a fertile local context for research and work.

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