Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo - PhD by Practice

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) is a specialized university and a leading international architecture and design school that provides education within architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism and design. AHOs fields of knowledge focus on design in all scales; objects, buildings, urban areas and landscaping. AHO is organized into four institutes, and has approx. 700 students and 145 employees.

The Institute of Form, Theory and History (FTH) revolve around three focal points: Architectural practice, Architectural history and Preservation. By engaging in the full spectrum of architecture, FTH enables a free transmission of ideas across traditional boundaries: past and present, theory-practice, fiction-reality, etc. FTH has a high international standing and maintains a broad institutional and personal network. The FTH faculty includes about 30 architects, architectural historians, artists, and philosophers. The institute is involved in teaching at all academic levels.

PhD by Practice

The Institute of Form, Theory and History is searching for a practising architect who wants to take on a PhD study based on his/her own practice. The position constitutes a pilot project and the academic outcome is an academic PhD degree.

One of the ways knowledge is produced in architecture is through the work of practitioners. From the founding of AHO in 1945 until today this has been recognized and highly valued. The school's connection to practice has been secured by having interesting, talented and critical practitioners as anchors in the studio teaching. By working as teachers, tutors and critics the work and the working methods of these architects have been central in the making of new generations of architects. The way this knowledge is formulated, contextualized and communicated is very much up to each practitioner and this individualized approach to dissemination seems to be an important and necessary prerequisite for practitioners to involve in teaching: the way you teach is closely connected to the way you think and act in your practice. However, this knowledge is most often tacit, although accessible to understanding the work of the practice - both in terms of process and product. With this call AHO aims to allow and support a qualified practitioner that is critically engaged with, and significant to, the discourse of contemporary architectural practice to do research on this tacit knowledge constructed through their practice.

Research Question

This pilot PhD is predicated on there being a research question embedded in the work of the applicant. This question goes beyond any role of architecture as a service alone, but involves the architect entering into a critical conversation with the discipline. A simple way of stating this is to observe that for new knowledge to be present in the work of a practitioner they must venture beyond the orthodoxies of practice, and make work, which in its production or its completion advances the discipline. Realising this requires a combination of practice performance and reflection on the part of the candidate, as well as the orientation of this knowledge within a wider field of research.

Methodology and format

The candidate will engage in research through work in practice on so called ?paper projects" or commissioned work. This work will be carried out within the AHO PhD programme, with the aim to develop the candidate's practice-based creative work through dialogue with both practice and academic expertise, in order to create a framework for formalised reflection on practice-based processes. It is anticipated that part of what might be valuable in the process of reflecting on the nature of practice will be identification of methodologies and sensibilities latent within the practice. Capturing and contextualizing these insights is where the contribution to knowledge might be found.In order to allow this to be documented the PhD will progress via engagement with a supervision team that combines practice and academic expertise, who will support the definition of the theoretical framework around the project. AHO is currently negotiating with international

partner institutions in this pilot project with the aim that the accepted candidate will participate in international network seminars with PhDs with similar programme aims, to develop a common praxis in the field.

The candidate's participation in AHO's PhD programme will include academic course work aimed to provide a responsive environment to allow the definition of a PhD research through practice within the instution. The project will be used in order to develop AHO's Programme in terms of the contribution a PhD qualification can make to disciplinary knowledge in architecture, thus the applicant will have both the opportunity, and the responsibility to shape to an extent the academic context in which they wish to pursue their project.

Academic reguirements

  • Applicants must hold a master's degree in architecture.
  • Applicants who do not have English or Scandinavian language as their mother tongue must submit documentation of their proficiency in English by the deadline of the application (TOEFL test or similar). Students with university studies where English comprised the major component of the studies are exempted from the requirement.

Professional requirements

  • Applicants must have practiced architecture, preferably through their own practice, for 5-10 years and should be able to present relevant examples of built work.

The application must include

  • A letter of application including a project description (max 5 A4 pages) describing:
    • What makes your practice relevant for this pilot research position?
    • In what way does your work present a research question?
    • Why is AHO a good place for the pursuit of this question?
    • What are your motivations for applying this position?
  • A portfolio of architectural work
  • One example of written work by you, (max 10 A4 pages).
  • CV with a full summary of education, practice and academic employment and a list of publications, projects and academic work (max 5 A4 pages).
  • Copies of educational certificates (foreign applicants must attach an explanations of their university's grading system)

Please note that all documentation must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Applications who do not fulfil the formal requirements will not be considered. Attachments beyond the required documents will not be taken into consideration.

Evaluation criteria

Applications will be evaluated according the following criteria:

  • The quality of the work presented in the portfolio
  • The formulation of the research question
  • The formal academic requirements for the position
  • The academic competence of the applicant and the applicant's suitability within the context of the institute's educational environment.

We offer

  • The PhD scholarship is fully funded and there is no tuition fee. The salary is NOK 443 900 for a full position; extensive relevant experience can give a higher start salary. From the salary, there will be a mandatory deduction of 2 % as a contribution to the State Pension fund (SPK). Standard employment conditions for state employees in Norway apply for the position.
  • An annual sum of 20 000 NOK for literature and other necessary academic activities.
  • Office space in a professionally stimulating working environment.
  • Attractive welfare benefits and generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo's family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities.

Formal regulations

The four-year PhD fellowship contains one year of educational and administrative duties.

It will be possible to combine this position with an external position / employment or own practice. Assuming that it is not in unfair competition with the business, does not lead to loyalty conflict or delay and prevent ordinary work in the PhD position.

If appropriate and desirable, knowledge from an external position can be utilized in the PhD work. On the other hand, all research work, including research results, is AHO's property. It cannot be used for the purpose of acquisition in external positions.

It is assumed that the scholarship period is planned so that the disputation will take place within six years after the start-up of the position.

It is desirable that the PhD fellowship commences in September 2018.

The candidate will be placed in the context of the Institute of Form Theory and History at AHO. The candidate will have a supervisory team that combining the practice and academic expertise in the Institute, with Professor Beate Hølmebakk as the main supervisor.

For more information about the position, please contact: Professor Beate Hølmebakk e-mail: or Head of institute Erik Langdalen e-mail:

Please apply through our website or directly at

Søknadsfrist: 15.04.2018

Kontakt: Professor Beate Hølmebakk

Kontakt 2: Head of institute Erik Langdalen