umbau is a school
for architecture.
umbau is a school of thought.

umbau is a school of sustainability.

umbau is a school of design.

umbau is a school of transformation.

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umbau is an experiment into wonder

We are a guerrilla studio and radical design school working to re-define architecture and learning. We have been operating in Vienna, Austria for twenty years and Kraków, Poland for five years. We have discovered ways into transformation and the miraculous.

The Bauhaus started 100 years ago.
We are after the echo.

We are focused on cultivating our roots in America through Studio Shenandoah. We plan to do a radical housing project, monthly weekend workshops, traveling lectures, cultural immersions, and a world premiere. This year is for cracking open.

healing architecture + education

We see a major need for improvement in the spaces we live in and the education we participate in within the United States. We believe that spaces are an inherent part of how we experience the world around us and significantly impact our wellbeing—but our worn-out teaching practices and the current trend of painfully high tuition rates have forced many into creating and living in spaces that do not address their ecological impacts nor give us the quality of life we desire.

We are at an exciting and pivotal moment in history where we have to respond to the impact humans have made on the natural environment and the missteps we have made in our educational system. The natural and built environment being damaged and uncared for should not be normal. Having years of college loans to pay off without having found a discipline that energizes you should not be normal. Umbau is tackling these challenges head-on.


vienna studio

Vienna, Austria / Vienna Studio is a five-week immersion in Viennese culture that allows students to observe, learn from and be inspired by the very best designers, artists, hatmakers, shoemakers, goldsmiths, violin makers, wine farmers, singers, and architects in the world. This thoughtfully crafted program allows both designers and those without a design background to enter the type of thinking we practice at umbau.

2020 spring session closed

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studio kraków

Kraków, Poland / Studio Kraków is a screen-printing workshop and poster exhibition. During this time, designers, architects, rappers, educators and artists regain creative confidence and recognize how Krakow, Poland has a rich history of utilizing posters as a vehicle for public conversation around the genuine needs and aspirations of society.

2020 summer session closed

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studio shenandoah

Staunton, Virginia, USA / Studio Shenandoah is a permanent studio and open design education program that includes a series of public workshops, lectures and discussions and a long-term studio design project, Staunton Werkbund.

2020 fall session closed

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Umbau is to re-define the role of the architect, even the name. We will leave ‘architect’, and instead, breed LANDERS.

Umbau, a guerrilla studio and radical architecture and design school, is experimenting with other ways of doing. We are an unconventional school for unconventional times. Our emphasis is to breed a new way of thinking: one that savors uncertainty, thrives on disruption, and transforms the educational system.

Umbau as a school will operate at different speeds and rhythms, both long and short. We investigate a range of disciplines through the creative process. Umbau survives on collaboration to implement new solutions, produce transformation.

Umbau will not offer degrees. You simply become a Lander. Lander is a title that is earned. Landers are trained to take the path of most resistance in a chaotic, ever-changing, world. Together we practice architecture differently. We value it as a means for us to explore, think holistically and reintroduce empathy.

puccini meaning a beautiful, a timeless, a sensuous, an emotional architecture.




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Founding Director

William Tate

William Tate founded umbau in 2001 as an educational non-profit and guerilla studio. Through umbau he has led the studios in Vienna and Kraków. As professor of architectural design at James Madison University, Tate has honed his teaching of studio and history. Moments of transformation have included Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, working with Ricardo Legorreta, meeting Luis Barragán, visiting monasteries, every moment in Vienna and Kraków, and the wonder of family. Umbau is an outlet to spread the contagion for the Good.

Students = Landers

support us

Want to help shape the spaces we live in and push for the revitalization of design education? Help fund umbau! 100% of your gift will go towards our tuition-free, environmentally-focused architecture program: Studio Shenandoah. We launched Studio Shenandoah in 2019 because we believe learning should be free and the current trend of painfully high tuition rates needs to come to a halt. We also saw a need for a school that truly designs for the natural environment. If you are compelled by our mission and value the importance of architecture, education, art, design, and sustainability, please donate and help us spread the Good.

No donation is too small (or too big!). Any amount helps! umbau is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.



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Umbau, Inc.
P. O. Box 2784
Staunton, VA 24402

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