Education, Architecture, Policy

March 29-June 14, 2023

Lecture series on post-war exchanges on educational policy and school building

The post-war era was a period of educational expansion and the increasing influence of international organisations on national educational policies in industrialised Western and developing countries. As early as 1951, the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) set up the Commission des Constructions Scolaires (CSC) to advise on school programming and construction. UNESCO, founded in 1945, and the OECD, established in 1961 as a successor to OEEC, gradually became central agencies of multilateralism in educational policy. UNESCO focused on newly independent countries, while the OECD became the leading agency in Western Europe by providing technical advice and expertise on educational policy. A transnational level of expertise began to emerge in addition to national traditions previously rooted in local administrations and planning cultures.

Research project “Transnational School Construction” explores the modus operandi of the UIA Commission on School Constructions as a collaborative process of knowledge generation, impacting school architecture and regulative frameworks in the national context of Austria, the German Democratic Republic and Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia). The organizers are also interested in the entanglements not only of national school traditions and educational practices, but also in the postwar concepts of developing new environments of learning. Education, architecture, and policy form the matrix in which our research project is situated. The project is funded by the FWF Austrian Science Fund under grant number P 33248.

Within the framework of the research project, the organizers are organising a series of double and stand-alone lectures on the theme of international organisations shaping educational reforms and planning. Lecture topics include long-term notions of schooling and educational utopias, post-war educational reforms in GDR, Yugoslavia and Austria, historical and contemporary concepts of school interiors, and educational planning in the 1960s. The goal of the series is to initiate a transnational dialogue between historians of education and architectural historiographers, not unlike the exchanges between educators, educational planners and architects from the 1950s to 1970s.

Please join us for this dialogue on school architecture and its contexts.

The presentations will be followed by a discussion. The lectures will be on Zoom; registration is requested. You will receive a Zoom link, a detailed program and reminders for the upcoming lectures.
Zoom registration:

Conveners: Maja Lorbek, University of Applied Arts Vienna and Oliver Sukrow, TU Wien

Times and dates:

29 March 2023, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, stand-alone lecture and discussion
Holger Zaunstöck (Halle): Baroque educational architecture and the “school-town” in Halle

19 April 2023, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, double lecture and discussion
Anne-Sophie Kruscha (Wuppertal): Conceptual reconstruction. Rebuilding the School of the SBZ and the GDR in the educational tradition of the Enlightenment
Oliver Sukrow (Vienna): Teaching modern school architecture in the GDR: Helmut Trauzettel’s Lecture Series at TU Dresden and the reception of international school buildings during the Cold War

25 May 2023, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, double lecture and discussion
Mitja Zorc (Ljubljana): Forward Into the Past. Learning clusters as organizational model for the design of school buildings, past and present: The case of Slovenia
Ning de Coninck-Smith (Copenhagen): Jørgen Gammelgaard, a Danish designer of school furniture. Asian Regional Institute for School Building Research, UNESCO, 1962-1972

7 June 2023, 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM, double lecture and discussion
Sanja Petrović Todosijević (Belgrade): The Reform of the Primary School System in Serbia and Yugoslavia 1944-1959
Maja Lorbek (Vienna): Buildings Schools, Allocating Space. The Geographies of Schooling in Post-war Yugoslavia and Austria

14 June 2023, 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, stand-alone lecture and discussion
Maren Elfert (London): In the Shadow of the Cold War: The Rise of the Global Governance of Education

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