current dissertations

"Your own four walls. Beautiful Living in the Economic Miracle (1960-1974)"

Jan Engelke, since 2019

Jan Engelke's dissertation project "Die Eigenen Vier Wände - Schöner Wohnen im Wirtschaftswunder 1960-'74" examines the architectural history of the home in the social and political context of the post-war period and thus gets to the bottom of its unbroken popularity while largely losing its significance for architectural practice. The magazine "Schöner Wohnen" reflects popular architectural discourses and the everyday context of the architectural production of this period - a perspective from which Jan places the ordinary at the center of his research.

Jan Engelke studied architecture at the ETH Zurich from 2010 to 2017 and at the Bauhaus University Weimar from 2012 to 2013. In his award-winning freelance diploma thesis "The Beauty of the Cadastral Plan", he postponed the cadastral plan of the city of Zurich in 2017 together with Lukas Fink. He then worked in Berlin on publications as well as architecture and exhibition projects. Since 2019, he has been working on his doctorate at the TUM under Prof. Benedikt Boucsein on the subject of "Home ownership in West German post-war history".

Great Reset - Innovations in Urban Planning, Crisis as Catalyst?

Elena Schirnding de Almeida, since 2020

Ongoing climate change and rapid urbanization worldwide have shifted the question about urban change processes to the center of political attention.  The adoption of the 2030 Agenda by the United Nations means that cities all over the world have committed themselves to the paradigm of Sustainable Development. Taking for granted this unifying principle, the research project asks the questions: How can cities get the job done on a local level? How do local, historic, political, and administrative circumstances determine the urgently needed urban change processes? How does innovation intersect with urban design practices? In 2020 one could observe rapid and unexpected changes in urban spaces, such as “Pop-Up Bike Lanes” and “Shani gardens” (sidewalk seating for restaurants) - projects that were discussed for years, but never realized. This is followed by the question of whether we can learn something from the current Covid-19 crisis that could serve as a profound strategy to design cities in the 21st century.

Elena Schirnding de Almeida is an Architect and Urban Planner, currently leading the Public Planning Lab at the Professorship of Urban Design at TUM. She started her research project in 2020 under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Benedikt Boucsein.


Reframing Mobility – Transition Design for the new everyday 

Marco Kellhammer, since 2020

The transition to sustainable mobility is necessary and already underway. Thanks to digital services, diverse mobility options are accessible, and accessibility in urban neighborhoods of the industrialized world is better than ever. However, to date, technologically driven innovations have not led to the required reduction in resource use and emissions associated with mobility. What new mobility and lifestyles are desirable and contribute to a livable city for everyone? Marco explores in his dissertation using the Transition Design approach (Irwin 2015) how systemic change at the neighborhood level can be successful. What relationships and interactions exist in the neighborhood, and how do they shape the way we think about mobility? What new design strategies support us in imagining and negotiating diverse futures to develop ecologically and socially sustainable mobility infrastructures that everyone can participate in? His goal is to generate system and process knowledge and elaborate on the role of design in the context of transformations. The BMBF research project MCube aqt serves as the case study and foundation for this doctoral project. Research with living labs is complemented by the collaborative development of futures. Science, administration, business, and civil society work together and influence the current framing of what is and what could be.

Marco studied Industrial Design at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück and spent one term abroad at the PUC Rio de Janeiro. After his Bachelor in 2012 he was working at the Institute of Design Research Vienna for more than three years focussing on research and design for socially and ecologically sustainable futures. Marco completed his M.Sc. in Industrial Design at TUM in 2018. He was a working student at Hans Sauer Stiftung and is co-founder of the social enterprise überkochen e.V. In 2019 he returned to TUM as a research and teaching associate at the Chair of Industrial Design and joined the team at the Professorship of Urban Design in 2020.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Benedikt Boucsein (TUM) and Prof. Dr. Eileen Mandir (Munich University of Applied Sciences)
Mentor: Dr.-Ing. Sandra Hirsch

“IN BETWEEN. Exploring hybrid planning for redeveloping informal settlements in the mumbai metropolis.”


Ayesha Müller-Wolfertshofer, since 2020

Informal settlements, slums, favelas, gecekondus, barrios or townships, part of cities across the globe, are an immediate response to the lack of affordable housing in them. Urbanization in the search for economic, social or political improvement has led to a densely populated urban fabric where the common man struggles to find a home in real-estate markets driven by neo-liberal policies. Citizens are forced to build tenements on vacant plots of land without authorisation, often lacking electricity and basic sanitation. These settlements become a base for the underprivileged and alienated, sheltering people In-Between regulations, jobs and housing, as they attempt to improve their status.

Mumbai is presented as a case study for understanding the context of informal settlements, where participatory planning methods will be studied to integrate top-down and bottom-up initiatives into the redevelopment process. Current ‘slum-redevelopment’ projects primarily take into consideration residential requirements of informal communities, without providing adequate spaces for economic or public services. This dissertation project explores mixed-use hybrid buildings as a means of combining Mumbai’s housing needs with the individual and community requirements of inhabitants.

Ayesha Müller-Wolfertshofer completed her Bachelor in Architecture at Vidyavardhan’s IDEA, Institute of Design Environment and Architecture, in India between 2010 and 2015. At the Munich University of Applied Sciences she completed her M.A. in Architecture with a specialization in Urban Planning from 2015 to 2017. Ayesha has worked in various architectural and urban planning firms since she began her studies and is an architect under the Bayerische Architektenkammer since June 2020. In July 2020 she officially began her thesis at the Technical University Munich under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Benedikt Boucsein and in collaboration with her Mentor, Hussain Indorewala, from the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies in Mumbai.

New Pathways: A Study of European Railway Stations from the Perspective of Sustainable Development.


Alice Lunardon, since 2020.

Alice Lunardon’s dissertation project "New Pathways: A Study of European Railway Stations from the Perspective of Sustainable Development" investigates causes and effects of the current development of stations and their relationship with cities’ sustainable development. The connection between the railway and the city is the railway station. In this key position, the station has two roles: it is a node but also a place. As a node, it is a point of access to trains and, increasingly, to other transportation networks. As a place, it is a specific section of the city with a concentration of infrastructure and a diversified collection of buildings and open spaces (Bertolini, 1998). Moreover, in the last decade new different forms of urban mobility have emerged (sharing mobility, micro-mobility, etc.), but even if they are accessible, low-cost, and green, they are not yet fully integrated into stations’ mobility offer. The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the knowledge about sustainable cities by focusing on the role of railway stations as infrastructures with the potential of contributing to their development. The research aims to look at different aspects of the topic, such as the urbanistic and architectural aspect, the policy and city governance aspect and the relationships between its stakeholders, the economic aspect focusing on the analysis of the station’s business model and its link with the sustainable or un-sustainable development of the city, and the engineering aspect treating the station as a unique infrastructure in the city with a huge potential in the integration of circular economy.

Alice Lunardon studied Architecture in Rome, Italy, at Università La Sapienza, Facoltà di Architettura “Valle Giulia” (2004-2011), and she graduated with honours with a thesis about hospitals treating the topic with a holistic approach, as she aims to do with the PhD thesis. During her studies, she spent one year in Valencia, Spain, at the UPV University and in Paris, France, at the ENSAV University. Also, she spent 3 months in Paraguay for her Master’s thesis. Successively, she started working in France and she took two Executive Masters in 2018 and 2019, one in Environmental Governance and Policy Making at the IHEID of Geneva, Switzerland, and the other in Sustainable Business at the University of Cambridge, UK. During that period, Alice started developing the research about railway stations as she was also working in the French railways (SNCF), and she had the opportunity to present that research to the European Parliament, and to several international conferences.

Democratization of urban public space-

A case study of Turkey‘s „Nation Gardens“


Deniz Köse, since 2021

The doctoral research of Deniz Köse (she/her) investigates democratisation of urban public space through the lens of feminist environmental posthumanities. The research will examine and analyse different approaches in urban public space design as well as explore feminist design strategies within the patriarchal structures of the architectural profession.

This thesis will focus on parks as inherently democratic public green spaces and use Turkey’s rapidly built and spatially immense “Nation Garden” projects as a case study.

Deniz Köse graduated with a Dipl. Ing. from the Technical University of Darmstadt in 2014 and later worked at the Institute of Building Biology  Turkey. In 2017, she moved to Munich for work and became a freelancer in architecture. In May 2021, she started her PhD thesis at the Technical University of Munich under the tutelage of Prof. Benedikt Boucsein.


evolutionary geometry in urban landscapes - adaptation, synergies and optimization

Adrian Heinisch, since 2023

Advancing urbanisation is inevitably linked to the health of its inhabitants. In this partly high-density development, infrastructure as a core element of supply also stands as one of the biggest problem areas - it is the source of various significant environmental pollutants.
Infrastructural space is an unattractive, purely functional area for architects and urban planners - an area of short-livedness, but nevertheless irreplaceable. It is the task of today's architects and urban planners to make the urban world more liveable here, to develop decisive interventions and thus to protect health.

A. Heinisch's dissertation includes the development of component activations at various scales and concepts for the built environment near Munich airport. The geometries are partly based on examples from nature, which are adapted three-dimensionally. Strategies include the implementation of vibro-acoustic metamaterials, which are structurally active geometries that can eliminate noise emissions. All concepts are improved using various forms of optimization that reflect evolutionary competition.

A. Heinisch studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich as well as at the Politecnico di Milano. During his bachelor studies he worked as an assistant scientist at the chair of architectural informatics. Afterwards he graduated as Diplom-Ingenieur at the University of Innsbruck, where he specialized for several semesters in acoustics in architecture as well as noise in urban spaces. Within the framework of his project 4Life Buildings he received an award from the Tallinn Biennial. Here he investigated the formation of space by ice and vegetation and developed a structural concept that changes and adapts depending on seasons and climate. In his thesis, he analyzed the implementation of vegetation in combination with resonant geometries to return multi-sensory relevance to the built context. During and after successfully completing his studies, A. Heinisch worked in an architectural office and also engaged in start-up programs where he further developed the approach of his thesis. Since 2023, he has been working on his doctorate at the TU Munich.



If you are interested in working on a dissertation at our professorship, please contact Prof. Dr. Benedikt Boucsein