Architectural Conservation: Creating a future that shapes us

Garten der Erinnerung, Duisburg. Dani Karavan. 1999. Foto: Cecilia Sagrén.


One of today’s greatest challenges is to develop ways of constructing societies with a reduced climate impact. As the construction sector accounts for a large portion of emissions, it is important to understand the complexity of the situation. 

Can architectural conservation’s wealth of knowledge, tools, and methods of analysis contribute to building a society with new approaches and insights that more fully integrate humanistic and conceptual principles?

Based on architectural conservation’s approach the academic year 2020/2021 will focus on examining and critically analysing the various, and sometimes contradictory, perspectives that are currently being used to transform the construction sector and shaping of society in a more sustainable direction. 

Through the creation of material and immaterial values alike, culture and heritage produce associations and tell stories about who we are, where we come from, how we live, and how we can shape the future. It creates recognition and affiliations that furthers social contexts and local identities. With this in mind the course analyses architectural conservation and community-building from different viewpoints. The studies will integrate the long-term perspective of architectural conservation, and its focus on preserving, cultivating, and usability. 

Practical information

Architectural conservation is a one-year programme at advanced studies level. It provides cutting-edge expertise to those who are already professionals in the field of architecture and the building environment. A holistic view on the topic of restoration is conveyed, and the course examines constructed cultural heritage as a resource and engine for sustainable social development – architectural conservation as the art of changing, without destroying.

The course’s main body contains architectural conservation history, ideology, surveying and inventory, cultural-historical valuation, and more. Traditional materials and construction- and craft-methods are investigated in relation to today’s demands for sustainability and resource management. Project work is linked to this year’s theme and period sections, both in teams and individually, and the year ends with a publication and/or exhibition. The teaching includes lectures, study visits, seminars, workshops and trips. A literature list and literature seminars will be made available.

Period 1Architectural conservation: What is It?
In theory and practice ­– tools, methods, and the process 
Philosophy, archival studies, and application. 
Period 2Cultural Heritage, Resource Management, and Interdisciplinary Focus
Scarcity of resources, the resource of cultural heritage, and sustainability-based restrictions
Analysis, valuation and in-depth valuation
Period 3Cultural Heritage, Political Governance and Processes
Trends, legislation, and sustainability criteria
Design and certification issues
Period 4Cultural Heritage and the Sensitivity of Well-Being
Ideology, cultural heritage in society, and the importance of society for cultural heritage
Memory and intangible values, belonging and anchoring
Period 5Perceptivity is expanded and new insights are created
New insights and new understanding, new tools and opportunities
What can be applied in social development, and how is it best communicated?

The course comprises 60 credits (hp) and requires full-time studies. The scheduled portions are collected into five course-periods, which may involve weekend work. The course begins in September and ends in May. Study assignments are given between the course periods, between which participants are free to organise their own time. Education language is Swedish. Some educational content may be in English.

The course contains one or more trips, with the likelihood of travel by boat or train. Students contribute towards to the cost of travel and accommodation, with a maximum of SEK 6500 per semester, or SEK 13000 total. Those who do not have the ability to take part in a study trip are given replace tasks. 

The course includes a number of guest lecturers and critics specialising in the respective areas. The leading instructors are Professor Lone-Pia Bach and Associate Professor Cecilia Sagrén.

Read more: Course Syllabus and Course Prospectus.


The basic requirement is a master’s degree in architecture (or related field, as outlined above), and at least one year of relevant professional experience. Other training and qualifications in relation to professional activity in the field may also be applicable.

The application has to be completed online, and requires a CV, letter of motivation, diploma and relevant work sample (project, essay, or equivalent). Admissions interviews for considered applicants may be carried out additionally. A maximum of 20 students will be admitted to the course. 

If you do not have a formal education in accordance with the stated course requirements, you must show that you meet the requirements through a validation process of prior learning. In order to claim competence through prior learning, objectives as set out in the Higher Education Ordinance for an artistic master’s degree must be fulfilled. Read more here. The applicant is responsible for submitting relevant documents which can be analysed in relation to the stated course requirements.

Information about entry requirements for a Master’s degree.

Application closes: Tuesday 5 May 2020, 23:59.

The Royal Institute of Art is public institution and it is free for participants that reside in Europe. Non-European residents can apply for a scholarship that cover the annual fee required for non-European residents.


Associate Professor Cecilia Sagrén, or