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International Student Seminar

This seminar was created for hosting short workshops with Japanese partner universities. The course aims on elaborating specific topics which have to be investigated in Vienna. In addition to the research objective, the intensive teamwork leads to a better intercultural understanding and improves social and communication skills.


Preserved historic urban spaces and quality of life in the city
Lecture series and workshop comparing the situations in Japan and Austria

057.007 | 2021S | SE | 3.0ECTS

Duration: 6.9.2021 – 17.9.2021
Topic: Preserved historic urban spaces and quality of life in the city

Online Seminar

This seminar is tailored to students from Japanese Partner Universities but we invite also local TU Wien students to join this course.

Within this workshop we propose to explore and to compare preservation practices (participation processes, memory processes, decisional processes, material processes……) in relation to old townscapes in Austria and Japan.
The course consists of a series of pre-recorded lectures in English language which enables the participants to watch the videos more often and take their time to understand all the contents. Due to the time difference between Japan and Austria we will use specific timeslots (10:00am CET / 17:00pm JST) for live Q&A sessions, consultations and presentations.
After the first week (6.9.2021 – 10.9.2021) with lectures and live Q&A sessions via Zoom, the students will be assigned to a group which has to work on a specific task. The second week (13.9. – 17.9.) will be dedicated to work out the task and to prepare a presentation.             

Target group and application:

Local students from TU Wien and students from Japanese Universities who study in a field related to architecture and urban planning. 
The participating universities may nominate up to 10 students to join the online seminar. The participants should have sufficient English language skills to join discussions and follow the course contents. The students will receive a participation certificate which includes a grade according to Austrian grading system and the amount of credits (3 ECTS = 1,5 Japanese credits).
The participation is free of charge.


This workshop is hosted by the Japan Austria Science Exchange Center at TU Wien.
Please contact Thomas for further information or application: thomas.rief@tuwien.ac.at

Lecture topics (preliminary draft):

Barbara Rief-Vernay
In recent years, the Austrian capital has repeatedly been ranked first in terms of quality of life the international consulting company Mercer. Even if the Mercer city ranking is mainly based on infrastructural and environmental aspects, the built environment of a city has to be considered as a key element regarding quality of life. This video gives a short overview of the historical development of Vienna and shows the important role of historic districts in the present-day city.
Barbara Rief-Vernay
Vienna is characterized by its large and homogeneous 19th century inner city area. Although not to the same extent, many Japanese cities have historic built-up areas, that date back to the Edo or the Meiji era. In the 1970ies, with the end of modernism, both Austria and Japan developed a consciousness for the importance of these hitherto neglected urban areas and set up architectural guidelines and legal frameworks for their protection and revitalization. The video shows the similarities and differences concerning the approach to the historic urban areas of the two countries.

Barbara Rief-Vernay
This video gives concrete examples of historic urban areas in Austria and Japan: Museumsquartier, Spittelberg quarter (Vienna), Kawagoe (Tokyo area), Bashamichi (Yokohama). It highlights positive and possible negative aspects of their current use as public, living, working, recreation, consumer spaces or tourist areas.

Fabian Dembski
In urban planning and design, topics such as sustainability, efficiency, smartness and measurability are becoming increasingly important. But what does it take to design liveable cities? Which role do joy and life on the streets play and how can design and a "dramaturgy" of cities contribute to this? Especially in the time of the pandemic, joyful places and open spaces in urban areas are becoming ever more important and popular. The lecture and workshop will explore the question of whether joyful cities can be planned and what role coincidence can play therein.

Meinhard Breiling
Urban green in Vienna is considered as favourable contributing to an extraordinary high quality of life. For almost half a century, the iron curtain protected also the surrounding green from Vienna. While European mega cities such as London or Paris experienced a high pressure as a capital due to population inflow, Vienna even lost population during the last century. Therefore, positive structures of urban green could develop. However, during the last three decades, major development challenges appeared in the reconnected CENTROP region, one of the fastest growing regions in Europe. The urban green structure has to be further protected. 

Nobuo Mishima
Recently, regenerative conservation design is becoming very crucial for local areas. Especially in case of Japan, we are also facing to awful depopulation rather than the other countries, so the regeneration using their potentialities such as natural and historical properties is one of the revitalization measures for their sustainability. The cases in Japan teach important points not only for the other Japanese towns but also for foreign countries which may face to depopulation of local areas and suburbs in the future.
Considering the above-mentioned things, in this lecture, I introduce some examples where the local towns have been challenging excellent measures to protect their cultural heritage and to encourage their sustainability.
1. Replan and abolition of city planning to preserve the traditional area, Yame-Fukushima, Fukuoka prefecture.
2. Abolition of fire protection area and relaxation of building low to preserve thatched-roof buildings, Hizenhama-shuku, Saga prefecture.
3. Building height protection to promote guest house use in the preservation area, Ine-town, Kyoto prefecture.

• Mon, Sept. 6 at 10:00am CET / 17:00pm JST:
On this first day we will all meet via Zoom. The lecturers will introduce themselves and briefly explain their topics. You will receive a detailed explanation of the program and the tasks for each group. Afterwards we are going to form 6 groups – each group will consist of 4 students from the participating universities (Saga University, Ochanomizu University, Shibaura Institute of Technology and TU Wien). Also, we will define “group leaders” for each group who are coordinating their team and allocate the workload amongst the team members.

• Tue, Sept. 7 – Thu, Sept. 9:
These days are reserved to watch an analyze the online-lectures. The lectures are pre-recorded and can be viewed via our own video-streaming system (similar to YouTube). This gives you the opportunity to watch the presentations more than once and at your own schedule. Please make sure, you understand the contents and make notes if you have questions.

• Fri, Sept. 10 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST:
On this day we will again meet live via Zoom to discuss the lectures und you have the possibility to ask questions regarding the presented topics. At the end of this appointment, the topics for each group will be announced. Each group will work on one of the presented topics from the online-lectures.

• Sept. 11 - Sept. 16:
These days are reserved for the groups to work on their tasks. Each lecturer will define a task related to his/her lecture to a group. Every group will receive the email address from the lecturer who provided the task and the group leader can make individual appointments (via Zoom) with the lecturer to get some feedback or assistance in solving the task. Please don’t hesitate to contact your designated lecturer if you have questions or need assistance.

• Fri, Sept. 17 at 10:00am CET/17:00pm JST:
Each group has about 10 minutes for the final presentation via Zoom. It is up to you if you choose one designated speaker for the presentation or if you share presentation time among the team members. It is also your choice how to present (e.g. via a short film, via powerpoint, sketches or whatever mode you find useful) – however, it has to be presentable via Zoom. After 10 minutes of presentation time we will discuss your result within 10 minutes. With 6 groups presenting, this final meeting will last about 2h in total.

Download detailed program

Download Tasks and Groups



The Implications of COVID-19 on Urban Development and Tourism
Lecture series and workshop with inputs from Japan and Austria

057.007 | 2021S | SE | 3.0ECTS

Duration: 18.6.2021 – 25.6.2021

Online Seminar

This lecture series will highlight the impact of Covid19 on urban development and tourism in Japan and Austria. Especially in Austria, major cities haven’t always been the primary hotspots for Covid-infections. However, the high concentration of population and their role as economic centers make cities more vulnerable in times of crisis such as the current pandemic.
Six lectures with contributions from Austria and Japan will explore the dynamics of the pandemic in urban areas and the socio-economic impacts on winter tourism.
Following the live online lectures, we ask all participants to send questions, discussion points or even opposite views via e-mail by Monday, June 21 to thomas.rief@tuwien.ac.at. Thomas from JASEC will collect the participants’ comments and summarize the most relevant questions and opinions. We also welcome opposite views which may lead to a lively discussion.           

Target group and application:

Local students from TU Wien and students from Japanese Universities who study in a field related to architecture and urban planning. 
The participation is free of charge.


This workshop is hosted by the Japan Austria Science Exchange Center at TU Wien.
Please contact Thomas for further information or application: thomas.rief@tuwien.ac.at

ATTENTION: This course is already booked out!

Download detailed program 



The International Student Seminar in January/February 2021 was hosted for students from Yokohama National University and local students from TU Wien

057.007 | 2021S | SE | 3.0ECTS

Duration: 14 days - January/February 2021
Topic: Cultural Development and Marketing in Vienna and Austria

Online Seminar

This seminar is tailored to students from Saga University but we invite also local TU Wien students to join this course.


Historical development and touristic marketing of Vienna (Dr. Barbara RIEF-VERNAY)

1. Vienna Today
During the Cold War, Vienna was an isolated city situated at the edge of Western Europe. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Vienna has returned to the center of Europe. Today, the Austrian capital is a modern metropolis and part of the network of global cities. “Vienna Today” gives a short overview of the position and the geopolitical role of Vienna in the 20th and the 21st century.

2. Urban Development and History
The urban development of Vienna, an emblematic European city, was not a linear process but ran in development phases. The video explains the historical development of the city from Roman times to the 21st century, furthermore it shows the typical development features of European cities.

3. The “Ringstrasse”
The “Ring” boulevard was the flagship project of the late 19th century urban redevelopment of Vienna. The boulevard was meant to be a new major traffic line but also a place of Imperial representation. The presentation highlights the planning and the construction of the “Ring”.

4. Red Vienna
Between 1919 and 1934, Vienna was governed by a social-democratic municipal council with the aim to create a large number of social housing units, health and educational infrastructures for the previously neglected working class. The video provides an insight into the main ideas and achievements of “Red Vienna”.

5. Advertising Vienna
Tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in Vienna. The “Vienna” tourist brand is built upon the topic area “history”, whereas the newly created “Vienna” brand for inhabitants shows a different face of the city. “Advertising Vienna” undertakes an analysis of the way how Vienna presents itself to different target groups.

Culture and tourism in Vienna and Austria

6. Walking in Vienna (Dr. Fabian DEMBSKI)
How can walking contribute to achieving climate goals and what is needed in our cities to increase their attractiveness for pedestrians? Vienna has taken a number of measures in recent years and decades, which will be briefly discussed in the lecture.

7. A Brief Cultural Reflection: The Viennese Café (Dr. Fabian DEMBSKI)
What is the Viennese coffee house actually about - coffee as a drink or is there something more behind the famous coffee house culture? A brief overview explains the history and cultural background and presents some examples of “typical” Viennese Cafés.

8. Green Spaces in Vienna (Dr. Meinhard BREILING)
The presentation on “Green Spaces in Vienna” is divided into three connected parts: i) an introduction presenting the climate and structure of urban green in Vienna followed by ii) a short history of public green space grown over centuries and iii) a presentation of selected elements of urban green in Vienna.

9. Winter Tourism in Austria (Dr. Meinhard BREILING)
The presentation of “Winter Tourism in Austria” will give you an overview of the economic importance of snow-based winter tourism, the lead economy of rural Austria. In normal years climate change and warming is the worst threat to business success. But last season and in particular this season Covid19 is responsible for huge losses.

10. The "Position" of Culture: from the Perspective of City Structure, Vienna and Tokyo (Dr. Masayasu KOMIYA)
How to concept the city structure, how and where to set the cultural facilities? Behind this idea, the "positon" or "meaning" of culture in the city has a strong influence. In this lecture I compare the city structure of Tokyo with Vienna, and point out the "position" of culture in both cities.  


The International Student Seminar in December 2019 was hosted for students from Yokohama National University and local students from TU Wien

057.009 | 2019W | SE | 3.0ECTS

1 intensive week (9.12.2019 - 16.12.2019)
Topic: Vienna - City of Music, Art and Architecture
Video Link: https://youtu.be/2BtuCNifZWs

The seminar has highlighted the cultural development and cultural represenations of the city from the early modern time to the present. Lectures and excursions in Vienna elaborated the historical context of the urban development.
Local and international students joined the group of Japanese students from Yokohama National University.

Entrance fees for the excursions in Vienna (e.g. museum visits) will be charged individually. This will only be a small amount.
All participants are invited for the weclome party and farwell dinner at JASEC's expense.

Examination modalities:
Group Presentation on one of the presented focus Points.   


The International Student Seminar in March 2019 was hosted by TU Wien and HLRS
for architecture students from Saga University and local students from TU Wien

A mixed group of architecture students from TU Wien (Austria) and Saga University (Japan) had the common task to design a student hub at TU Wien's campus Getreidemarkt with workplaces and catering for students.

The four groups with local and Japanese participants had only one week in Vienna to develop a basic design concept and acquire the necessary knowledge in 3D planning and visualisation before continuing the workshop in Stuttgart. The High Performance Computing Center (HLRS) in Stuttgart not only houses one of the most powerful HPCs in Europe but also accommodates a highly specialized visualisation department with world leading experts on virtual and augmented reality. Experiencing the digital architectural models in a 3D virtual environment was truly a unique opportunity for the participants and our staff.  
We cannot thank our colleagues in Stuttgart enough for their outstanding support and hospitality! This project would have not been possible without Uwe and Fabian from HLRS.

Video (YouTube)
Video (Facebook)
Final Presentation Group A (PDF)
Final Presentation Group B (PDF)
Final Presentation Group C (PDF)
Final Presentation Group D (PDF)


Previous Workshop with Saga University in March 2018

The International Student Seminar 2018 was hosted for architecture students from Saga University and local students from TU Wien.  

A small design task has been elaborated and presented as group work. 

Final Presentation (Animated GIF)

Final Presentation (PDF)