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Dr Günter Gassner

Dr Günter Gassner

Lecturer in Urban Design

School of Geography and Planning

+44(0)29 2087 4640
2.96, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA


I am a Lecturer in Urban Design interested in a critical exploration of cities, space and architecture. My research explores spatial practices in relation to social theory and political philosophy. I focus on relationships between politics and aesthetics, history and power, and urban visions and visualisations.

I am currently setting up a project that looks at fascism in/through urbanism. What does 'city making' mean and imply at a time when the extreme right is on the rise and the populist far right is becoming increasingly mainstream? In what ways are revolutionary claims and promises of a 'new beginning' fundamentally conservative in that they do not intervene in existing power relations and are based on pre-defined norms and standards, resting on hierarchy, discrimination and exclusion? Theoretical starting points include Benjamin's aestheticisation of politics thesis and Deleuze and Guattari's account of microfascism.

In my recently published research monograph Ruined Skylines: Aesthetics, Politics and London's Towering Cityscape (Routledge, 2020) I examine the urban skyline as a space for radical politics. Developing a critique of the construction of more and more speculative towers as well as a critique of the claim that these towers ruin the historic cityscape, I explore ruination as a political appropriation of the commodified and financialised cityscape, making a case for reanimating urban politics as an art of the possible.

I joined the School of Geography and Planning in September 2016 and previously taught at the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins and in the Sociology Department at the London School of Economics (LSE). I obtained a PhD from the LSE on the topic of Formalised Vision in the City and hold a Master in Architecture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. I practiced as an architect in Vienna, Barcelona and in London for Foreign Office Architects (FOA) where I was project architect and leader of the office-internal high-rise unit. I also worked on a comparative analysis of public spaces in London, Paris and Barcelona.


Previous academic positions

  • 2016 - present: Lecturer in Urban Design, Cardiff University, School of Geography and Planning.
  • 2015 - 2016: Course Tutor in Sociology and City Design, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Sociology.
  • 2008 - 2016: Associate Lecturer, University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, Spatial Practices Programme.
  • 2011 - 2014: Guest Lecturer, London School of Economics and Political Science, Cities Programme.


  • 2013: PhD (Sociology) London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
  • 2005: Master in Architecture, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria.

Professional experience

  • 2014 - 2015: Urban Researcher, LSE Cities, London, UK.
  • 2008 - 2009: Urban Researcher, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), London, UK.
  • 2005 - 2007: Project Architect, Foreign Office Architects (FOA), London, UK.
  • 2004 - 2005: Architect, F451 Arquitectura, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2002 - 2004: Architect, Frötscher Lichtenwagner Architekten, Vienna, Austria.












I lead and teach the urban theory module CPT771 Urban Design Thinkers and contribute to CPT925 Urban Theory Provocations. I also teach on urban design modules including CPT910 Autumn Studio and I supervise undergraduate dissertations in Human Geography and Planning, postgraduate dissertations in Urban Design and co-supervise two doctoral theses.

I am interested in supervising additional PhD students who work on social, cultural and political aspects of architecture and urban design and who have an interest in Critical Theory and Political Philosophy.

External profiles