Conference: Architekturwissenschaft – From Suffix to Agenda. Cottbus, 14 – 16 November 2018

5th Forum Architekturwissenschaft, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus-Senftenberg

Since its founding in 2010, the Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft e.V. has been gathering very different people working on architecture, its objects and methods through the suffix -“wissenschaft”. (The German noun “Wissenschaft” hardly translates into “science” and we intentionally do not translate it, as it neither refers exclusively to the humanities nor the sciences). To establish a concept is one thing, but what exactly is meant by “Architekturwissenschaft”? Is it at the same time naming, description and task? First of all, this is the promise of a systematic, methodically-reflected approach to the making-of and thinking-about architecture. However, against the background of the peculiarity of the subject, namely the irreducible variety of perspectives that it comprises, it may seem neither possible nor reasonable to assume a uniform methodology of Architekturwissenschaft. Nevertheless, one has to ask: what actually constitutes the knowledge and scientific concepts of Architekturwissenschaft?

The basic principles of ‘an’ Architekturwissenschaft must be characterized if it is intended to be approached by a systematic and descriptive undertaking, oriented to increase the knowledge of the object. The 5th Forum Architekturwissenschaft takes on this challenge and will discuss questions as:

  • Which should be the distinctive principles or characteristics of Architekturwissenschaft?
  • Can and should Architekturwissenschaft unite the existing diverse thematic and methodical approaches to architecture?
  • Which new perspectives and possibilities are to be opened through Architekturwissenschaft for researching ‘on’, and ‘from’ architecture?
  • What contribution can Architekturwissenschaft add to achieve a (better) systematic, methodologically  transparent and critical approach to architecture?
  • In which historical discourses have architecture and architectural reflection been conceived in a specific way as a Wissenschaft, which we leave deliberately untranslated as stated above? Which ‘external’  scientific rules of the game were they subject to?
  • What working methods, practices, values and conventions are used when conceiving architecture ‘as’ science? Does the claim to understand architecture as a science aim equally at practical architecture- making and theoretical reflection, ‘in’ and ‘about’ architecture?
  • Who ‘does’ Architekturwissenschaft? What is the difference between Architekturwissenschaft and other scientific initiatives on and in architecture?
  • What sets Architekturwissenschaft’s perspective apart from other perspectives, such as architectural theory or cultural studies? How should study programs or plans be designed for scholars in a new   Architekturwissenschaft?

The full programme of the conference is downloadable here.

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