Benefitting from its unique setting in the art academy, Städelschule, SAC sees its experimental and speculative approach to architecture both as a privilege and disciplinary obligation. In its disciplinary pursuit, the programme situates architecture in a wider social and political context while problematising contemporary cultural problems. SAC’s master programme is highly international, reflected in both faculty and student profiles, and exclusively conducted in English. Over the last three years, more than sixty students from about 20 different countries have at any time pursued their studies in the two-year programme.

Based on the artistic platform supplied by the Städelschule and the rigorous methodology structuring contemporary architectural design, the programme is formulated as a new and innovative approach to the practice of architecture. Work at SAC pursues design problems within a small sub-set of thematic contexts which at any time are defined by the Master Thesis Studios. Each Master Thesis Studio is led by an appointed professor, guest professor or thesis advisor. Reflecting the overall programme of the school, these studios operate autonomously but reflect the culture of the art academy and SAC’s disciplinary concerns. The respective academic and experimental agendas of the Master Thesis Studios complement one another and contribute to a vital and dynamic educational programme. The complementarity of the studio programmes engenders a productive in-house exchange and discourse for the benefit of the students and the development of the experiments and projects undertaken.

While deeply rooted in the discipline of architecture, SAC benefits from the arts’ profound commitment to critical speculation and innovation. Drawing on the small school’s distinct qualities and dynamics, SAC is situated at the cusp between the critical and innovative forces of art and architecture. Through its experimental research and the excellence of its students and graduates, the programme continuously explores disciplinary specific problems and the status of architecture within contemporary society.

PROGRAMME & FacultY line-up 2019-20

SAC's academic programme for 2019-20 centres on the three Master Thesis Studios. Peter Trummer returns to lead Architecture and Urban Design; Ulrika Karlsson heads Advanced Architectural Design; and Johan Bettum continues to lead Architecture and Aesthetic Practice.

The three studios are supported by tutors and researchers, Yeon Joo Oh (SAC19) and Anna Arlyapova (SAC18). The two also provide the main teaching input for the introductory first semester where a design studio is accompanied by technical workshops and theory seminars. The artist Stefan Wieland provides support throughout the programme for model-making, presentations and exhibitions. 

Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley return to give history and theory seminars for students in their first year at SAC, and a series of other seminars and workshops will be provided for students at various times during the academic year, including seminars that Daniel Birnbaum offers in theory and philosophy to both architecture and art students.

Annika Etter joins Johan Bettum to give Master Thesis students an introduction to writing and the two lead a small series of seminars that guide students to their successful completion of the theory paper for their final degree.

SAC Journal

The SAC Journal is a periodical that documents and critically reviews projects and theoretical discussions within contemporary, architectural design culture. The projects and texts published relate to the ongoing interests and ambitions of SAC. The publication series attempts to contribute to the discipline of architecture on a critical and discursive level. Read More

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SAC Journal 5


All news
Jette cathrin hopp   photo pepe lange



16 June 2020

Snøhetta (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈsnøːˌhɛtɑ]) began as a collaborative architectural and landscape workshop, and has remained true to its trans-disciplinary way of thinking since its inception. Snøhetta’s work strives to enhance our sense of surroundings, identity and relationship to others and the physical spaces we inhabit, whether feral or human-made. Museums, products, reindeer observatories, graphics, landscapes and dollhouses get the same care and attention to purpose.

Jette Cathrin Hopp is part of the executive management of Snøhetta. She has extensive experience both  in complex Norwegian and international projects, leading major international project developments and competitions. She regularly lectures at architectural symposia, conferences and international institutions, sharing Snøhetta´s philosophy and design ideas. Jette Cathrin Hopp is also a jury member for several architecture competitions and prizes. She is regularly invited as a critic to international architecture universities.


Lytle Shaw

The Mollino Set

08 June 2020

The Mollino Set (forthcoming, 2020) is the third in a series of architecture-centered prose works that began with The Clifford Chadwick Clifford Collection (2011) and The Moiré Effect (2012).
Beyond this architecture series, Lytle Shaw’s books include two books of poetry—Cable Factory 20 (1999) and The Lobe (2002), two books documenting his collaboration with the artist J. Blachly—The Chadwick Family Papers: A Brief Public Glimpse (2008) and Selected Shipwrecks (2012), and three critical monographs: Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie (2006), Fieldworks: From Place to Site in Postwar Poetics (2013) and Narrowcast: Poetry and Audio Research (2018). Shaw is professor of English at New York University, and a contributing editor for Cabinet magazine.


03 June 2020
Photography by mikael olsson croped

Hélène Frichot

The question of affect

03 June 2020

This seminar will discuss the relationship between architecture and affect with an emphasis on infrastructure understood as distributed spatial support system. By reframing architecture as ‘organisation space’, to borrow a term from Keller Easterling, an account of the circulation of affect will lead the way to an understanding of architecture as always more than discrete, self-isolated and autonomous form, toward an apprehension of the complex entanglements architecture inevitably participates in, for better and worse.

Philip ursprung

Philip Ursprung

17 Volcanoes: Architecture & (Armchair) Travel

02 June 2020

Philip Ursprung is Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich and principal investigator of the research project “Tourism and Cultural Heritage” at Future Cities Laboratory of the Singapore-ETH Center in Singapore. He is editor of Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (2002) and Caruso St John: Almost Everything (2008). He is author of Die Kunst der Gegenwart: 1960 bis heute (2010), Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art (2013), and Der Wert der Oberfläche: Essays zu Kunst, Architektur und Ökonomie (2017).

Zeynep alexander

Zeynep Çelik Alexander


22 May 2020

Countless scholars have meticulously traced the emergence of the modern concept of “form" from Kantian aesthetics to twentieth-century modernism. But what if the concept’s salience in modernist discourses also had to do with more mundane—what might perhaps be called “technical”—concerns? Might such a technical history offer an account of concept that numerous others written in the disciplines of philosophy, intellectual history, or art and architectural history have not already? This talk excavates an alternative history of form from the late nineteenth century onwards, an history in which technologies of scanning and practices of reading play as important a role as familiar milestones of aesthetic modernity.

Tom wiscombe

Tom Wiscombe


13 May 2020
Tom Wiscombe Architecture (TWA) is an internationally recognized design practice, known for powerful massing, alluring graphic qualities, and tectonic inventiveness. Founder Tom Wiscombe, AIA is Creative Director of TWA, combining design expertise with a deep knowledge of construction and project delivery. He is a leading voice in design culture today. Wiscombe is Chair of the Bachelor of Architecture Program at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). He taught Advanced Research studios as Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania for 4 years; in 2012, held the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship at Yale University; and in 2005 was the U.C. Berkeley Esherick Chair. He has published texts on architectural theory in journals such as AD, Project, and LOG.
Marrikka trotter

Marrikka Trotter

The Other Shape: Architecture before Form

13 May 2020
Marrikka Trotter is a Los-Angeles-based architectural historian and theorist. She is co-editor of the contemporary architectural theory collection Architecture is All Over (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City: 2017), and her writing has appeared in publications such as Harvard Design Magazine, Log, AD, and AA Files. She holds a PhD in Architecture, Landscape and Urbanism from Harvard University, and her work has received funding from the Paul Mellon Centre, the Graham Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and Sir John Soane's Museum, among others. Recent projects include a fresh take on Giovanni Battista Piranesi's Diversi maniere d'adornare i cammini, an examination of the geological significance of Robert Adam's landscape watercolors and late 18th-century "castle style," and a discussion of the individuating potential of certain "discrete" architectures. Trotter teaches at SCI-Arc, where she heads the history and theory department.