Architecture and economy united with the appointment of a new professorship

Published 2019-08-29

Sweden's first interdisciplinary professorship in architecture and economy is being appointed at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. The Austrian architect Walter Unterrainer is the professor who will link architecture with knowledge in business, and thereby develop the role of the architect for generations to come. Maria and Magnus Månsson's Trust is behind the initiative of the professorship.

- We are very pleased to announce that Walter Unterrainer will be assuming the post in September.

Magnus Månsson, group president of the architectural firm Semrén & Månsson, is the person behind the trust. He is convinced the newly installed professorship will contribute to transferring the role of the architect on a broad scale. - At Semrén & Månsson, we've seen how our architect's business knowledge has become key in the relations with clients as well as society as a whole. Adding economics to the education of architecture essentially responds to the new demands of today, says Magnus Månsson.

Born and raised in Austria, Walter Unterrainer has previously run his own architectural firm and has long-standing experience from the academic world. His work emphasises on environmental sustainability, and by building on his own behalf, he has developed a number of innovative solutions for energy efficiency as well as cost reduction.

The move to Chalmers, where he has previously given lectures, goes from Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark.

- I consider questions regarding economics as fundamental for architecture as well as for the architectural profession. Economy decides if and how an architectural idea can be turned into a concrete, material reality. In my opinion, economics in architecture consists of responsible management of all resources, which can refer to environmental assets, funds, a specific location, existing buildings, residue, and human resources. The discussion about the actual cost, and more importantly value, connects a pragmatic view on architecture with the bigger questions we face today regarding climate change, the depletion of natural resources, and social development, says Walter Unterrainer.

In Germany and many other European countries, academic posts that connect economics and architecture already exist. However, in Sweden, the professorship, which is financed by Maria and Magnus Månsson's Trust, will be the first of its kind. 

Walter's solid experience, both theoretical and practical, provides an opportunity for quicker knowledge development in the vital connection between architecture and economy. This is an exciting component that we are adding to Chalmers' faculty, says Fredrik Nilsson, prefect of the Institution of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

- As architects, we need to possess a greater knowledge of business if we want to add value to what we design. This is vital whether we are working with a private client, or establishing a zoning plan with the City Planning Office. This is why I'm excited Walter, a highly-skilled and internationally renowned colleague, is coming to Chalmers. We will now be incorporating the economic understanding as a segment of the education, and I look forward to seeing how it will affect and change the architectural role overtime, says Magnus Månsson, group president at Semrén & Månsson and founder of Maria and Magnus Månsson's Trust.