Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

The Art of Restoration: Structures of Democracy

( 60 ECTS Credits )

The course starts in autumn, 2019. The application for the academic year 2019/2020 is closed. This course is only given in Swedish. 

The Art of Restoration course is a one-year advanced-level program. It provides enhanced expertise for professionals active in the field of architecture and the built environment. The course provides a comprehensiveview of the subject of restoration. It examines the built cultural heritage as resource and engine for sustainable social development and restoration as the art of altering without destroying.

The course is project-based and multidisciplinary, intended to stimulate an active discussion and knowledge exchange between various professional categories. It is aimed at architects, antiquarians, civil engineers, project leaders, conservators, and others. The general entry requirement is a master’s degree in architecture, or a related field as per the description above, as well as least one year of relevant work experience. Other relevant educational experience paired with professional experience in qualified remodeling may be approved.

The theme of this academic year will be Structures of Democracy. In 1918 the Swedish parliament made a principle decision to introduce democracy with universal suffrage in Sweden. The hundred years that followed fundamentally changed Swedish society. The 20th century was the age of the mass movement, mass education, trade unions, and eventually the welfare state.

The theme focuses on structures built in this spirit – e.g. cultural centers, town halls, community centers and libraries etc. These projects were carried out with high ambitions in terms of architecture, public art and outdoor environment. They created spaces of encounter in a new, democratically ruled nation. Pretty much every municipality has examples of symbolic buildings from this era. They embody an ideology as well as the competency of the public sector as builder.

Today these environments are rapidly being remodeled. Participation in social movements and voluntary organizations has decreased, the role of libraries is changing, new technology and new social demands create a need for change, some centers have been privatized.  How to care for the built cultural heritage during this shift? How can these buildings and environments become part of a sustainable society and evolve, while retaining their qualities in a way that will make sense to future generations?

Course structure
The first part of the training will create a common knowledge base, with inventories, surveys, and evaluation of cultural history. In the second part, students will complete assigned projects related to the theme of the year, which will conclude in a publication and/or exhibition. Lectures and assignments in restoration history and ideology will run throughout the year, as will studies of architectural history in relation to restoration. Traditional materials and methods of construction and crafts will be examined in relation to current demands for sustainability and resource management.

Instruction will consist of assigned projects carried out as a team and individually, lectures, site visits, seminars, workshops and field trips. A number of guest lecturers and critics, specialists in their various fields will participate in the course.

Period 1 – INVENTORY. Field work / Surveys / Documentation

Period 2 – HISTORY. Archival studies / Evaluation of cultural history / Analysis / Literature seminars

Periods 3 + 4 – THEORY, PRACTICE, APPLICATION. Process of restoration; project and design methodology, preservation, addition, transformation, development/ Design proposal

Period 5 – REALIZATION. Presentation and definition of the built cultural heritage; accessibility, use, the image of cultural heritage/ Legislation/ Authorities/ International conventions

Information and application
This is a full-time 60 ECTS-credit course. The scheduled aspects are concentrated in five blocks during which students may be expected to work weekends. The course begins on September 9 and runs during weeks 37-39 and 45-47 during the fall semester and 3-5, 11-13, and 19-21 during the spring semester. There will be course assignments between these blocks, but students will be able to allocate their own time as they see fit. Some aspects of the course may be in English.

The course will include one or several field trips with the intention of using boats or trains as mode of transportation. The student will contribute to the travel expenses and lodging, at a maximum of 6,500 kr per semester, amounting to a total maximum of 13,000 kr. Those who are not able to participate in the field trips will be given other assignments.

Applications are to be submitted digitally and include a CV, cover letter, graduation certificate, as well as relevant work samples (projects, essays, or the equivalent). Twenty students will be accepted to this course.
Application deadline: Prolonged to May 10, 24:00.
Contact: Cecilia Sagrén,

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