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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 understanding of cities, space and architecture. My research is at the intersection of urban design, social theory, and political philosophy. Using a range of different methods (socio-spatial mapping, participant observation, interviews, discourse analysis, etc.) I explore relationships between aesthetics and politics, history and power, and urban visions and visualisations. I investigate the political agency of architects, urban designers, and other design-related professionals in contemporary urbanisation processes and my work contributes to the fields of Radical and Urban Geography and combines empirical analyses with detailed discussions of theoretical concepts. I engage with the work of theorists who are commonly associated with the Frankfurt School including Benjamin, Adorno and Horkheimer and, more recently, with the work of Nietzsche, Foucault, Arendt, Rancière, and Deleuze and Guattari.

In my reserach monograph Ruined Skylines: Aesthetics, Politics and London's Towering Cityscape (Routledge, 2019) I discuss the skyline as a space for radical urban politics. Developing a critique of the construction of more and more speculative towers as well as a crtiique of the claim that these towers ruin the historic cityscape, I argue that the new London skyline needs to be ruined instead and explore ruination as a political approprition 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 (sponsored by KPF).

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 teach on urban design modules including CPT910 Autumn Studio. I supervise undergraduate dissertations in Human Geography and Planning, postgraduate dissertations in Urban Design and co-supervise a doctoral thesis on the topic of urban conflicts and the transformative potential of dissensus.

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