Master's Thesis

Topic identification and submission
Master's theses at the Chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial Practice are agreed upon personally by the student with the chair holder in the preceding semester on the basis of a thematic proposal. The choice of topic is already part of the independent examination of a historical or a current issue in architecture and it is expected that the applicant has already developed her/his own ideas for processing in advance. The submission of a Master's thesis consists of a written paper, the length of which depends entirely on the chosen topic, but is generally not less than 50 pages of text (standard pages of 1800 characters each, plus illustrations, notes, bibliography, etc., if applicable). Pure design tasks are not accepted, but if a design proposal develops from a scientific question, the proportion must not exceed 20%. The preparation of explanatory models or similar is possible, but not mandatory.

Time frame: In the semester preceding the thesis, the choice of topic and the methodology for processing will be determined in discussion. For this purpose, the module AR30210-29: " Development of Research Issues" must be taken and successfully completed at the department. After official registration at the Studiendekanat, the processing period of 6 months begins. During this time, interim meetings with the supervisor must be arranged, which can take place at different intervals depending on the task and the processing status. Depending on the number of Master's theses accepted at the department, an internal Master's thesis colloquium may also be offered. After the timely submission of the written thesis, a presentation has to be prepared (PPT / PDF, max. 15 minutes, approx. 15-20 slides) and presented at the end during the general Master's thesis presentation in the presence of the other professors of the Faculty of Architecture/TUM (Tech) Core Facility Architecture. The evaluation results from the performance of the written work and the final presentation, basic elements for the evaluation are the mastery of scientific methodology, the development of own approaches and questions, as well as a critical judgment.




WiSe 2022/2023

Outstanding Universal Value: The Evolution of the German Nomination Strategy for UNESCO World Heritage in the Global Context of Expanding World Heritage Conception
Ella Neumeier

For fifty years, the World Heritage Convention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been dedicated to the protection of natural and cultural sites of “outstanding universal value”. Its primary instrument of protection, the World Heritage List, includes a steadily growing conglomeration of cultural sites that are considered to be of outstanding importance to a “global society”. Which cultural sites are considered to meet this standard has broadened considerably since the 1970s. The list indicates a paradigm shift in favor of a broader understanding of cultural value, which on the one hand displays parallels to national processes, and on the other hand is rooted in global discourses on participation and balanced representativeness of cultural diversity. Germany is one of the most consistently successful countries and serves as the basis of consideration for navigating this paradigm shift. The thesis pursues the argument that the German nomination strategy corresponds with the evolution of World Heritage conception, and that this analogy is the reason for Germany's success in the World Heritage arena. By analyzing six German nominations from 1978 to 2021, specific evolutionary steps of "conceptual expansion" are highlighted and contextualized within the dichotomy of national heritage valorization processes and the consideration of international interests. Finally, showing how entangled the European and German understanding of heritage is with the World Heritage Convention is intended to facilitate a discussion as to whether and to what extent the dynamic adaptability of states such as Germany opposes a truly representative, inclusive World Heritage List.



Evaluating Knowledge Exchange in CINVA’s rural project methods: Potentials and Obstacles for a Locally Defined Development
Marlene Schneider

In Latin America after World War I, the idea spread to solve a lack of housing through self-help and mutual help. In this approach, experts tried to empower local populations affected by the housing shortage, to improve their living conditions using their own resources and community strength. In 1952, the Colombian government partnered with the Pan-American Union and established the Inter-American Housing and Planning Center (abbr. CINVA) in Colombia to promote this model. CINVA served as a research and training center from 1952 until 1972 and provided practical and interdisciplinary training to selected young Latin American scholars. Rural and urban housing projects delivered practical experience and knowledge in order to improve the future housing situation in Latin America. The methodology applicated in the rural projects targeted to get an understanding of the social and spatial requirements of users' living environments and to make corresponding suggestions for improvement. To assess whether the active participation of the population in the rural projects and the experts’ academic approach were successful, the thesis focuses on a representative rural project realized in 1957 in Chambimbal (Colombia). With the analysis of interviews with some contemporary witnesses and primary literature of CINVA from the Central and Historical Archive in Bogotá the case study was retrospectively evaluated. The focus is on how the input of academic knowledge contributed by CINVA's experts in the project could be linked with the local knowledge of the Chambimbal residents in the individual improvement proposals of CINVA. The results of the study led to a critical reflection on CINVA's approach. It became clear that the experimental character of the project, as well as the academic research and training objectives inhibited the development of a project method in Chambimbal that exclusively addressed local needs. The work encourages equating academic knowledge, which is carried into projects through research and local knowledge in self-help projects in housing construction.