Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Architectural Theory and History

( 30 ECTS Credits )

Talk Show ‘Display on Display’ held as part of the ‘Wild Side Workshop’, 15 April 2015. Talkshow guests: Thordis Arrhenius, Donatella Bernardi, Maria Lind, Sven Olov Wallenstein, Axel Wieder. Moderators: Celine Condorelli and Peter Lang. Stage design: Celine Condorelli, ‘Frederick Kiesler: Visions at Work’, Tenstakonsthall.

Talk Show ‘Display on Display’ held as part of the ‘Wild Side Workshop’, 15 April 2015. Talkshow guests: Thordis Arrhenius, Donatella Bernardi, Maria Lind, Sven Olov Wallenstein, Axel Wieder. Moderators: Celine Condorelli and Peter Lang. Stage design: Celine Condorelli, ‘Frederick Kiesler: Visions at Work’, Tenstakonsthall.


Research-Lab 2016/17: Architecture/ Cities/ Utopias

The course is primarily designed for practitioners within the fields of architecture, design and the arts and who are interested in pursuing theory and practice based individual projects with a critical focus on urban and material culture. There are two components to the course: the first comprises regular lectures, group sessions and individual consultations with the professor designed to help advance each students’ individual research project. The second comprises a series of collective workshops designed to test concepts developed for institutional settings and public environments: this year the R-Lab institutional partner is Färgfabriken.


Level: Post-Master
Requirements: MA in art or architecture or equivalent knowledge
ECTS Credits: 30
Programme Length: 1 academic year, part-time, divided into coursework, individual research projects and workshops
Teaching Language: English

The course’s overall goal is to develop a singular study project focusing on today’s most urgent social, political and environmental issues. An important objective for the course is to transform individual research projects into display objects or media productions expressly developed for public presentation, through the making of models, objects and installations, the choreographing of performances, the use of alternative media—including  video, audio, and social media, the design and production of digital and experimental publications as well as mixed media constructs. Consideration should be also given to the spaces of exhibition and their relationship to the public/private realm.

Students are strongly encouraged to make full use of the RIA laboratories (wood, metals, multi-media, printmaking, 3D lab, mechanical) in the development of their final projects.

Find updates about the course on the 2016/17 Research-Lab blog.

The course is run by Professor Peter Lang

International Workshop

The R-Lab international workshop the Missing Europe: Baltic and Balkan has been developed specifically for R-Lab in partnership with Färgfabriken Stockholm.  This coming academic year’s focus will be on the study of cities divided by ethnicity, ideology and conflict.  The workshop will include an organized visit to Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina, coordinated with the Center for Architecture Dialogue And Art – (ADA) in Mostar. The projects developed in cooperation with the ADA  will be conducted in Mostar and will presented in Stockholm at the Färgfabriken. The project is a collective multi-disciplinary production bringing students, faculty, urban experts and other professional practitioners together to explore new forms of creative collaboration within the urban context.

Project presentation by Research-Lab Alumni Frida Bodström

Course Schedule

Classes will be scheduled for evening hours, appr. 17.00–19.30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays the first two weeks of every month. Due to limited enrolment, students need to apply and be accepted into RIA art and multi-media workshops, and attend training sessions as required. Access to these workshops are generally limited to daytime.

Finance, Fees and Accommodation

Admission and tuition fees apply for students from countries outside the EU/EEA. The tuition fee at the Royal Institute of Art is 150 000 SEK per academic year 2016/2017 and the admission fee is 900 SEK. International students who have been accepted to a study programme in Sweden must show financial means of support during study time to the immigration authorities in order to obtain a study visa. Read more about fees

If you have problems in finding accommodation, you can get assistance through these sites, created by international students in Stockholm: Moving2Stockholm and Easy Rental (here you can download the Easy Rental android app).


Current Course 2015/16
Research-Lab: Architecture, Design and Media


Find the course flyer here

See the current course develop on the blog

Research-Lab: Architecture, Design and Media, (R-LAB) is conceived as a research platform for advanced research in architecture, design and media. No subject is off-limits for possible investigation as long as it is rigorously studied and methodically examined. This year the Autumn collective workshop will examine the work of Oskar Hansen for the exhibition developed with Index Gallery, the Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation.

R-LAB encourages the development of in-depth individual research projects working on architecture, design and media. Course participants will be introduced to a number of research methods and critical practices as well as a diversity of techniques in multi-media communications intended to engage a broader public audience. A combination of course lessons, course seminars and collective workshops will take place over the academic year. Art workshops and media lab facilities will be available to participants for the realisation of final individual projects.

The three components of the course are: historiographical and theoretical studies, individual long-term research projects as well as autumn and spring term collective work.

The intent of the course is to develop alternative multi-media platforms for presenting advanced critical research through the integration of history, critical theory and media studies, conceived, structured and synthesized over the academic year. The outcome of the course is practice based.

The first semester covers historiographical and theoretical methods examining working methods in architecture, design and media. The course will also survey methods in visual and graphical analyses including mapping, diagramming, and diverse multi-forms of media documentation. The second semester is dedicated to advancing individual research projects, as well as developing innovative research practices, including digital media, audio and visual media, event based performances, print and internet, and material based projects.

Research-Lab: Architecture, Design and Media (R-LAB) is specifically organized to identify, research and critically analyse recently emergent social trends that have not been clearly recognised or sufficiently studied. These nascent and often convoluted tendencies defy standard preconceived specialisations, and merit the creation of new forms of hybrid practices. As the fields of architecture, design and media become increasingly interrelated, the combined nature of these practices become ever more difficult to determine. R-LAB focuses on interdependent nature of today’s new breeds of architectural, design and media practices.

Pursuing new forms of research obliges one to rethink from the start familiar categories and definitions. This should be an obvious reaction already, when considering the very keywords used to describe this course: the terms architecture, design and media are all notoriously ambiguous.

Architecture is at best a generic term. It describes a historical practice later problematized by its associations with westernization and modernization. Now it has become one of the most flagrant symbols of what is worst about globalization. Can the practice be redefined again so as to reclaim its revolutionary role in the face of today’s most urgent global challenges?

Design is another one of these terms that is highly problematic. Is design about making 3 dimensional environments? Is design about conceptualizing objects? Who is served by design? The consumers who benefit from a constant succession of innovations or the manufacturers whose productions fuel obsolescence and waste? Can design be turned against itself? Is there still any meaning to the term ‘anti-design’?

The inclusion of media along with architecture and design is meant to emphasise their mutual interdependencies. We live in a mediatised world, and are shaped by the way communications and information networks configure in detail the living landscape around us. Buildings spring to life as fully formed luxury icons, kitchen appliances are part of the Internet of things, wired to the homeowner’s impulses streaming over vast networks. Significantly, the term media when combined with architectural and design strategies, suggests potentially new forms of advanced research and experimental practice for today’s rapidly changing society.

The R-LAB is an innovative and renewable platform: it is informed by a number of significant institutional and non-institutional precedents existing mostly outside mainstream educational programs. R-LAB references the experimental programs conducted at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG 1953-1968) in Ulm, more specifically when the school was under the tutelage of Tomas Maldonado, but also references the critical positions of the Situationists International (1957-1972) created in reaction to the founding of the Ulm School–the SI emerged initially as the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus (IMIB 1954-1957).

Superstudio, Supersurface, 1972. Still frame montage with ink and airbrush. Superstudio Archive, Florence

Superstudio, Supersurface, 1972. Still frame montage with ink and airbrush. Superstudio Archive, Florence


R-LAB also builds on the pioneering organization of the International Institute of Design (IID), the London based summer sessions developed by Alvin Boyarsky between 1970 and 1972, and whose experiments in international education over the three summers resulted in one of the most creative periods in the history of the AA when Boyarsky rose to its directorship. The lesser known Italian Radical school, Separate School for Expanded Conceptual Architecture (S-Space-1970-1971) held in the discotheque Space Electronic in Florence, and organized by the groups Superstudio and 9999, though short lived, funnelled a generation’s worth of experimentation. Other influential programs include Emilio Ambasz’s Universitas Project organized in 1971 and held at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, in New York, and Peter Eisenman’s Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS – 1967-1984) also in New York. These largely ephemeral programs were nonetheless incredibly influential, not so much for the positions they purportedly held, but for the breadth of subjects confronted, the brilliance of their debates, and the kind of future that they presented.