Raumgestaltung und Entwerfen, raumgestaltung.tuwien.ac.at
TU Wien, Architektur und Entwerfen, Karlsplatz 13/253.3, 1040 Wien

Method to Madness

Seminar for PhD Students in Scientific Methodology
(including core aspects of PhD course, tutorials and presentations)

With: Dr Brendon Carlin and Dr Gili Merin

Mo, 6. Mar 2023 – Mo, 17. Jul 2023
09.00 – 18.30 Uhr

Seminar Series

Schedule: Every fortnight Monday (sometimes Tuesday) during semester 9:30 – 12:00 beggining with introduction at 11:00 on 10th October on zoom

After successful completion of the course students will be able to directly apply knowledge of specific methods to the development of their PhD’s. The course will present – through a series of seminars with Brendon and Gili, but also invited relevant guest speakers – key strategies, techniques, and tools in areas of research methods, writing, presentation, and drawing. These tools and methods will be delivered through the presentation of completed PhD theses and through ongoing example research.

Specific topics to be developed in seminar series include:

a) core praxis throughout PhD thesis: title, abstract, literature review,
bibliography, glossary
b) selection and close reading of architectural examples (paradigms)


Schedule: Once every 2 weeks on Monday (sometimes Tuesday) during semesters following seminars from 13:00 – 18:00 (or as long as sessions take) with online optional individual tutorial session every opposite week.

In order to recieve course credits, PhD researchers are expected to
attend 80% of mandatory individual tutorials for a 30-60 minute slot
(though staying during others tutorial is welcome) at least one tutorial
every other week. Materials to be read and reviewed by advisers should be sent as far in advance as possible, preferably a week to make sure we will have time to properly review them. Even if new material is not ready and you haven’t made substantial progress in the work, tutorial sessions are good way points to discuss what you are reading, drawing, etc and generally, how you are progressing with the work.

Guest Seminars and Lectures

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesday evening (as part of RAUM guest
lecture series)

Guest seminars and lectures that are both generally useful for method, but also more specific to individual research topics and methods within RAUM, will be organised. Sometimes these will happen on regular seminar and tutorial days, and at other times they will be scheduled during Wednesday evening RAUM lecture slots.

Researcher Presentations

scheduled dates: 12/12/2022 & 17/04/2023 & 17/07/2023

Developing and giving a concise and focused presentation is one of the key tools in developing the PhD. RAUM researchers should give regular PhD presentations around every 3-4 months and typically around semester end. The format and presentation should be concisely structured to open up sharp and helpful critique from both advisors but also invited critics. These presentations should help you to form and solidify the key questions and arguments of the research and plot the future direction. The exchange amongst critics as well as other PhD’s at RAUM should also also allow you to learn tricks and discover fruitful overlaps with your colleague’s work.

Generally, we will ask for a 15-minute presentation on a current chapter in progress, with a 3–5-minute general introduction to the thesis that presents the title, key architectural terminology, key research question, hypothesis, key sources/disciplinary area of action, and key case studies of research.

At presentations where the entire thesis will be presented, when for
example you are in a later or pivotal stage of the research, the
presentation may be 20-25 minutes.

General guidelines for presentation:

a) Title and subtitle. We recommend that the title can be more
abstract or conceptual while the subtitle should be didactic, clear, and
state exactly what the thesis is looking at and for example during which periods, in what geographical regions, which specific cultural groups, which specific architectures etc. The title should include a spatial, formal, or clear architectural term that characterises or is central to the main examples. This will serve as a key element of contestation-definition (via reading examples, drawing and theory) throughout the thesis.

b) Concise key research question (3 sentence maximum)

c) Table of contents of the book. Even if you don’t have or know
what this could be, please try a rough idea as it will be very useful going forward – knowing that you will perhaps change it.

d) The chapters should point to or give an overview of key examples
(buildings, urban spaces or areas, events etc.) that are the main object of the investigation.

e) One way to go about the main body of the presentation is to
describe one of the examples, key or current areas of research in more detail. To strategize the presentation of a specific case study you might roughly answer the questions: what, when, where, how, why, so what? Here, the most important part for now, the ‘what,’ refers to a detailed and clear description of the case study (preferably architectural, urban or spatial/formal).

The rest of the ‘reading’ of the case studies architecture, design,
construction, maintenance, use (whichever areas are key to the thesis) and the ‘why’ might be related to specific economic, political, or other motivations, policies, ideologies, but also effects, consequences, forms of use etc. of the case study. The ‘so what’ might relate to your own, even initial, development of theory about the case study – here you might discuss important interpretations by theorists that explain the political or cultural significance or instrumentality of the case study or try to place it within larger historical developments. Perhaps you can begin to attempt to articulate what is at stake for the case study or thesis, what are the key lessons to take away? Again, don’t stress if these ideas are not super developed in the research, they can be rough for now. The most
important thing is that you begin to think about these points and to
develop them.