Courses

Summer semester 2018

Trulls, Alberobello, South Italy © Simone Bader

Module [AR30076] Architectural Analysis: 
The Vernacular in Modern and Contemporary Architecture

Semester weekly hours: 4

with: Andres Lepik, Vera Simone Bader

Debates about the vernacular and vernacularity in modern and contemporary architecture, which usually refer to a local, impulsive or also a primordial approach to architecture, are currently a cutting edge matter. The vernacular is in dialogue with the contested subjects of the search for a national identity; ecological approaches; global, local, and “glocal”; and political ideologies. On one hand, it appears that there is a current architectural trend—for example Balkrisha Doshi, Anna Heringer, or Francis Kéré—that is oriented towards the vernacular. There is a worldwide demand to fallback onto basic conditions for architecture, local materials and simplified handling of the actual building processes due to diminishing resources and economic crises. On another hand,cities like Abu Dhabi try via the re-discovery of supposedly local forms to further stimulate tourism.

These diverging appropriations of forms and constructions, which are considered vernacular, makes it again necessary to critically assess the subject. It can be observed that important western protagonists of architectural history, like Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruno Taut, Le Corbusier, Giuseppe Pagano, and Bernhard Rudofsky, among others, engaged at some point in their careers with the vernacular. If we expand the time criteria, actually since the end of the 19th Century architecture culture engaged with the vernacular, especially in the context of rationalisation and functionality.

Through exhibitions and publications, architectural culture has conveyed a sense that the vernacular represents an impression of an authentic and ideal denoted architecture, as it was rooted in the culture of a specific living environment and thus seen as the origin of local building forms. The explorative view was placed either on building practices of architect’s home countries, or towards colonies.

The seminar will analyze the reasons and motives for the prior and current debates in regard to vernacular architecture. Since when, why and with what criteria and reservations did architects approach the vernacular? How, and in what form, were designs and building practices influenced? And, how is the term “vernacular” currently used and how? The vernacular remains, especially in view of other terms like regionalism, traditionalism, primitivism and “Heimatstil” to be defined and discussed before the backdrop of postcolonial studies.

The seminar aims for a theoretical engagement with the concept of the vernacular, especially in Europe, through analyses of buildings, exhibitions and publications by placing them in a larger political, cultural and social context.

IBA 1987, Apartment Buildings, Berlin, 1986 © Daniel Talesnik

Module [AR30190] Project Workshop Curatorial Studies:
The City as a Model (IBA Berlin 1984-87)

Semester weekly hours: 4

with: Andres Lepik, Daniel Talesnik

This class examines housing exhibitions (Bauausstellungen) and in particular the 1984-87 Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA) in Berlin. (Precedents like Weissenhofsiedlung 1927 in Stuttgart and Interbau 1957 in Berlin will also be examined). This class is about the history of architecture in Germany and in particular about the 1980s, the years before the fall of the Wall, when the IBA was another attempt to present West Berlin as a leading city for the international discourse on architecture. We want to know what exactly did the IBA promote and how?

IBA had two main strategies, infill with the IBA-Neubau’s “kritische Rekonstruktion” (Joseph-Paul Kleihues), and refurbishing/restoration with the IBA-Altbau’s “Behutsame Stadterneuerung” (Hardt-Waltherr Hämer)—recuperating buildings being a “novel” idea then. (There is a connection with the TU now with the idea of “Bauen im Bestand”). At the time, the IBA-promoted projects in Berlin were polemical, and often times resisted. We want to understand the IBA in context, with its rights and wrongs. If the IBA was a model, we want to understand what type of model. Said different, a model of/for what?

This class is about the connections between postmodernism and its opposites, the involvement of local architects and the invitation of key foreign architects to Berlin to build housing projects. The IBA was a platform for architects to contribute to the legacy of the Berlin: Peter Eisenman, Aldo Rossi, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, John Hejduk, Raimund Abraham, Oswald Matthias Ungers, among others, were invited to participate. Another question is, how does this represent a late scenario of the Cold War that mobilized architecture for political purposes.

A side question is, what was happening in East Berlin at this time? What were the reactions on the other side of the Wall? We will look at Nikolaiviertel, a historic quarter in Plattenbau designed to become a touristic attraction for the 750-year anniversary of the city.

In brief, this is Berlin as a laboratory, a city that is reinventing itself, and unknowingly preparing the ground for what has taken place since the fall of the Wall. If these projects were “islands” in Berlin, did they make an “archipelago”? This is architectural speculation that was not on its way to make money—yet at the same time it was trailblazing the ground for speculators.

Finally, the question for the students is, how could all (or parts of) this topic become an exhibition?

* We will visit Berlin together with the students towards the end of the class.

Giuseppe Terragni, Casa del Fascio, Como, 1936 © Simone Bader

Module [AR20036] Architecture and its Representations:
The Architecture of Fascist Italy

Semester weekly hours: 2

with: Vera Simone Bader, Gabriella Cianciolo Cosentino

The seminar examines the 20 years of building activity in Italy under the fascist regime, with a special focus on exhibitions, urban planning, art, and the dealing with this difficult legacy. In a detailed introduction, tradition and modernity are critically scrutinized as antipodes in the architecture of this time and various aspects, such as the relationship between architecture and ideology, are analysed. The protagonists, including Gustavo Giovannoni, Marcello Piacentini, Giuseppe Terragni, Giovanni Muzio, and Giovanni Michelucci, are profiled, and their buildings and designs examined in relation to the fascist government. The personal influence of Mussolini on architecture and urban planning is also an issue. Which building typologies and tasks played an important role? Which design language and which materials were preferred? To what extent has architecture (or architecture journalism) contributed to the propaganda? These and other questions will be discussed in the seminar be using specific case studies.

© Sandra Hofmeister

Module [AR20112] Architecture Communication:               
Architecture Texts - Reading and Creative Writing

Semester weekly hours: 2

with: Sandra Hofmeister

When architecture is communicated in words, there are different text formats according to different occasions and intentions. This seminar is a laboratory for those words: We will read and analyze different texts, interprete them, have a look to their context and and finally also write our own texts. The variety of formats we will discuss includes manifestos and essays, blog entries and comments, interviews and project descriptions. By carefully reading, students will achieve a critical view on texts and improve their own capacity to convince with own words.

Hans Schwippert, Behelfsheim-Typ “Wohnlaube, Wohngerät 43” aus dem Jahr 1943 © Architekturmuseum München Archiv

Module [AR20083] Collecting, Documenting and Presenting Architecture:
The Architect Hans Schwippert in the Archive of the Architekturmuseum

Semester weekly hours: 2

with: Anja Schmidt

The Architekturmuseum of the Technical University of Munich houses a rich collection of plans and sketches by architect Hans Schwippert (1899-1973). As the long-term chairman of the Deutsche Werkbund and director of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, he was one of the most important proponents of post-war architecture. His design for the Deutsche Bundeshaus in Bonn (1948/49), the high-rise at Interbau 1957 in Berlin and the exhibition concept for the German pavilion at the World Fair 1958 in Brussels are examples of his work that were especially relevant for the history of architecture. What remains largely unknown is that Schwippert also designed makeshift dwellings and emergency shelters for refugees – a subject, that is becoming increasingly relevant today. The seminar will focus on the designs and built projects of this architect.

Königshaus am Schachen © Myrzik und Jarisch

Module [AR30347] Project Workshop Exhibition Design:
Palaces and Factories: The Architecture under King Ludwig II

Semester weekly hours: 2

with: Andres Lepik, Ann Katrin Bäumler

The seminar will be held in preparation of the exhibition "Königreich der Musen -- Architektur in Bayern zur Zeit Ludwigs II. (1864-1886)" that will take place in autumn 2018 at the Architekturmuseum / Pinakothek der Moderne on the occasion of the 150th anniversary celebration of the TU Munich.

In smaller groups the students shall develop an object that can be integrated in the exhibition with regard to its concept as well as to its design. It shall complement the selected exhibits in form and content and open up new vistas.

Hans Döllgast, Reconstruction Alte Pinakothek, 1946–1957 © Klaus Kinold

Module Architekturmuseum:
Covering the tracks of Munich’s teachers of Architecture

Semester weekly hours: 4

with: Irene Meissner

Carl von Fischer, Friedrich von Gärtner, Friedrich von Thiersch, Theodor Fischer, German Bestelmeyer, Robert Vorhoelzer, Hans Döllgast, Franz Hart, Werner Eichberg, Sep Ruf or Otto Steidle, but also well known artists such as Wilhelm von Rümann, Bernhard Bleeker, Hermann Hahn, Georg Brenninger or Fritz Koenig, taught since 1803 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, and starting 1868, also at the Technische Universität Munich, as it is known today. Who were these teachers and what traces did they leave in the cityscape of Munich?
Within the context of the seminar, students shall follow the tracks of Munich’s teachers of architecture and present through a tour of their own an architect/artist and his body of work. A preset layout will guide in the establishment of specfic „paths.“
A short biography combined with the body of work should be placed into an architectural context, along with a presentation of the most significant buildings. Photographs and short essays should accompany the specific architect’s pathway.
The class activities are conceived as walks through the town. During inclement weather, classes will be held indoors in the assigned room.