Architecture & the City in Central Europe

Spend three weeks in the heart of Europe, exploring some of the most famous architecture sites, as well as hidden jewels of Prague, Brno, Vienna, Budapest, Ljubljana and Zagreb.

The program will examine the relationship between architecture and identity - how architecture was used to shape national identities at various periods in response to changing social, economic, and political conditions; how architects shaped their identities through travel and education; how the use of technology, new materials, ornament, and manipulations of building typologies are used to shape institutional, corporate, and individual identities. 

The context for these examinations will be five cities formerly part of the Habsburg / Austro-­Hungarian Empire - the Czech capital, Prague; the former imperial capital, Vienna; the former provincial (now national) capitals Zagreb and Ljubljana; the industrial city Brno (Czech Republic). The time span will encompass the Renaissance, Baroque, modern and contemporary periods. 

What You'll Accomplish

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity:

  • to learn how architecture has been used to shape national identities at different time periods in response to changing social, economic, and political conditions;
  • to discover how technology, new materials, ornament, and building typologies are used to shape individual, corporate and institutional identities;
  • to explore the work of major Central European architects and contemporary design firms;
  • to visit sites in six urban centers: Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic; Vienna in Austria; Budapest in Hungary, and the capitals of Slovenia and Croatia – Ljubljana and Zagreb

Prague:  The "Golden City" of Prague has beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and a deep history. Located at the heart of Europe, Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic with an area of 496 km2 and is home to 1,200,000 people. The year 1870, when Prague castle was established, is regarded as the beginning of the city's existence.  In 1918, at the end of World War I, Prague was declared the capital of a new country of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1993 it became the capital of an independent Czech Republic.
 
Budapest: Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and the country’s most populous city. It is also the tenth largest city in the European Union by population within its city limit (1,752,704 in 2016) the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. Budapest is a leading global city with strengths in commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The city is also among the top 100 GDP performing cities in the world.
 
Vienna. Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modern architecture. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. Vienna’s history dates back to the first post-Christian century when the Romans established the military camp Vindobona. Today’s cityscape is characterised by the abundance of baroque buildings created mostly under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph who was largely responsible for the monumental architecture round the Ringstraße.

Where You'll Live

You will stay in hotels in shared rooms.
You can expect the following with your accommodations:

  • Shared hotel rooms
  • Shared bathroom
  • Wi-Fi
  • Central location and walkable to city center
What You'll Study

During this program you will take 2 courses for a total of 6 credits. Classes will be held primarily on-site in Prague, Brno, Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana and Zagreb. Students will be required to participate in discussions, apply theoretical ideas from major nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors to the observation of buildings, and document sites through note-taking, drawing, measuring and photography. 

Architecture and the City in Central Europe (URBNST1901)

This course will examine the relationship between architecture and identity - how architecture was used to shape national identities at various periods in response to changing social, economic, and political conditions; how architects shaped their identities through travel and education; how the use of technology, new materials, ornament, and manipulations of building typologies are used to shape institutional, corporate, and individual identities. The context for these examinations will be five cities formerly part of the Habsburg / AustroHungarian Empire - the Czech capital, Prague; the former imperial capital, Vienna; the former provincial (now national) capitals Zagreb and Ljubljana; the industrial city Brno (Czech Republic). The time span will encompass the Renaissance, Baroque, modern and contemporary periods. Major architectural themes that will be emphasized in this course include: (1) the development of different building types to serve modern needs (museums, hospitals, apartment housing, villa or pavilion type housing); (2) tectonics and the expression of construction; (3) debates about the function and meaning of ornament The written and built works of the following major central European architects will be examined in detail: Josef Frank, Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, Josef Marie Olbrich, Joze Plecnik, Gottfried Semper, Otto Wagner, Hans Hollein, and Wolf Prix (Coop Himmelb(l)au) as well as one house in ;.Vienna designed by the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Classes will be held primarily on-site in Prague, Brno, Vienna, Graz, Ljubljana and Zagreb. Students will be required to participate in discussions, apply theoretical ideas from major nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors to the observation of buildings, and document sites through note-taking, drawing, measuring and photography.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts

Oksana Stalczynski

Privet! I'm Oksana Stalczynski and I'm a Program Manager at the Study Abroad Office. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, was an exchange student and Russian Language Scholar at Reed College in Portland, OR and did a summer language program in Dresden, Germany. A study abroad experience broadens your horizon, grows your circle of friends and improves your career opportunities. That’s why I think everyone should do one!

Feel free to contact me to find out more about study abroad programs at Pitt, and/or to learn/practice some Russian.  Get in touch with me at Oksana.stalczynski@pitt.edu or 412-383-3237!

 

Your In-Country Contacts

Drew Armstrong

Professor Drew Armstrong is Associate Professor of History of Art & Architecture and since 2006 has served as director of Pitt’s Architectural Studies program. Since 2009, he has worked closely with the Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) to develop his flagship Study Abroad course – Architecture & the City in Central Europe – which he has taught on site five times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016) in Prague, Vienna, Ljubljana and Zagreb. In 2020, he looks forward to including sites in Budapest and developing a new thematic focus around synagogues and sites of Jewish memory. The course will also include visits to major modernist sites such as the Tugendhat Villa in Brno (1929-30), the post-World War I Red Vienna social housing projects, and the architecture of major figures including Adolf Loos (1870-1933), Otto Wagner (1841-1918) and Jože Plečnik (1872 -1957).

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $343 $343
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $5,299 $5,499

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare $1,000 - $1,200
Personal Expenses and Meals $1,000
Local Cell phone $100
   
   

 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

What's Included

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for six credits
  • Shared housing for the duration of the program
  • International travel health insurance
  • Two group dinners
  • Train transportation between the cities