Call for Papers: “Firmitas / aedificatio” – The Material, Corporeal Foundations of (Built) Architecture. Einsiedeln, Schweiz, 25-28 April 2019

Eighth Colloquium on Architectural Theory at the Werner Oechslin Library in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Christiane Salge, TU Darmstadt

In the modern period, the viewpoints of the engineer and the “making of architecture” and, vice versa, the aspects of aesthetic effects have been separated as scarcely ever before. Most recently, it has had the devastating effect that the architect only appears as a stylist or decorator. On the other hand, there were and are repeated points of departure that, in opposition to this, emphasize and address the issue of the inner coherence of construction and appearance – an old conviction, and this too a credo of modern architecture. It leads to complex questions, as they are represented with particular urgency in Karl Bötticher’s Tektonik. He wanted to shape a whole and a “juncture” from a “core form” as a “mechanically necessary, statically functioning scheme” and the “artistic form” as “characteristic that explains function.”

It requires analysis of the individual elements, of the materials themselves, and of the “aedificatio,” the execution of buildings, as the humanist Leon Battista Alberti urgently connects with the task of the architect; the architect must shift weights and join masses (“compactio,” “coagmentatio”) so that the whole can then be endowed with a pleasing purpose. Some sort of inner connection of material, building and structure usually asserts itself. What are the conditions and the effects of materiality and of all successive (structural) measures? What is the significance of permanence and “solidity”? What of all this “representes” itself, or is transcended or even replaced? In extreme circumstances, modernity suggested a version of the “disembodied” building (Giedion’s “air space”), but then why have precisely the “most solid” structures become wonders of the world? What does Schopenhauer mean by “gravity” or Nietzsche with the mystification of stone? In the historic context, a broad, nearly inexhaustible field of the cultural-historical consideration of architecture opens up here.

In any case, it lends itself to proceed from the real core competency of the architect: BUILDING. What correspondingly emerges is a process, a becoming, and this accompanying ability, the old τέχνη (technique), the competence of the “complete,” the putting together, architectural work.

The event addresses architectural theoreticians, architects, art historians, historians of technology and science, and others, and seeks to bring together leading experts on the topics as well as, in particular, young researchers from various countries.

Papers should be limited to twenty-minute presentations.

Languages for paper proposals and presentations: German, English, French, Italian.  At least a passive knowledge of German is expected of all participants.

The Foundation assumes the hotel costs for course participants, as well as for some group meals. Travel costs cannot be reimbursed.

Please send short paper proposals and CVs by e-mail to: by 8 November 2018.

The full call for papers is available here (in German and English).


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