Dubrovnik

Notation, Algorithm, Criticism: Towards a Critical Epistemology of Architecture

Venue and date: IUC, Dubrovnik, September 17-22, 2018

Course description:

In modernity, there is no place for architecture without critical reflection, just as modern culture without cultural criticism is no better than the barbarism it has replaced (Schnädelbach). Critique is necessary of any activity, be it artistic, political, or scientific. In 1976, it was the „crisis of utopia” that laid the foundation for the late Manfredo Tafuri’s “ideological criticism”. By contrast, the philosopher and politician Massimo Cacciari maintained that crisis “must be produced”, thus proclaiming that any intellectual position that does not posit itself as productive in regard to crisis is reactionary.

Admittedly, we look back today with a certain nostalgia on a critical theory of architecture as it emerged in the 1960s — the heyday of critical thought in sociology and philosophy. Architects such as Peter Eisenman, Frank Gehry, and Bernhard Tschumi along with philosophers such as Theodor Adorno, Jacques Derrida, Gianni Vattimo, and Fredric Jameson were among the pioneers of critical discourse in architecture. Each had their own specific critical agenda, with some of them more inclined toward subversive methods that aimed at undermining architecture as the last stronghold of metaphysics. In architecture, critical theory always coincides with critical practice.

Since then, criticism has been absorbed and utilized by the very same institutions that it had helped to create. It can hardly be overlooked that in digital consumer societies, criticism has become a powerful economic agent. “The task of criticism has, in fact, changed,” Tafuri wrote in the introduction to his seminal book Theories and History of Architecture, published in 1976. But even more has changed with the advent of digital media technology. In unprecedented ways, today’s media technologies interfere with the practice of knowledge and change them according to their own – digital – agenda. Cacciari’s plea for crisis as a driving force for the production of knowledge has turned into a common cultural practice.

The seminar addressed the concept of critique in architecture from a historic as well as contemporary perspective. It investigated core concepts such as critique and practice, authorship and agency, history and documentation, concept and diagram, as well as idea and project. What are the possibilities of critical practice today in the age of digital transparency? What are the cultural, aesthetic, and social implications of the current transition from 2-D design processes to 3-D modeling (BIM)? Is this shift to digital media technology of equal importance as Alberti’s 15th century shift to notation? The transfer of ideas into drawings onto paper first opened up architecture to the creative and intellectual play of representation, and allowed for references to architectural history and its philosophical ideas. Architectural practice turned into a critical practice when it separated thinking about architecture from building architecture. The potential of graphic notation transformed architecture into a modern, ambivalent, contradictory, and critical cultural practice equal to literature and philosophy. At times, it seems as if media technology hollows out architecture’s critical consciousness and returns it to a simple practice of mere physical and material presence.

Course Directors:

Prof. Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija (University of Rijeka)

Prof. Joerg Gleiter (Technical University of Berlin)

Prof. Petar Bojanic (University of Belgrade/University of Rijeka)

Prof. Giovanni Durbiano (Politecnico di Torino)

Prof. Alessandro Armando (Politecnico di Torino)

 Lecturers:

Prof. Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija (University of Rijeka)

Prof. Joerg Gleiter (Technical University of Berlin)

Prof. Petar Bojanic (University of Belgrade/University of Rijeka)

Prof. Sanja Bojanic (University of Rijeka)

Prof. Alessandro Armando (Politecnico di Torino)

Dr. Lidia Gasperoni (Technical University of Berlin)

Dr. Christoph Engemann (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)

Summer School Program

 

Between Intellectual and Sensory Reason: Towards an Epistemology of Architecture

Following last year’s course «Philosophy and Architecture: Inequality in the City» which took place at the IUC in Dubrovnik and engaged its participants in topics related to the political and urban implications of social injustice in cities, this year’s summer school’s  focus was on the double bind of architecture as a material practice and as an agent of knowledge production. Philosophers, art historians, theoreticians of architecture, likewise architects joint together in Dubrovnik tackled emerging topics of relationship between architecture and epistemology, their mutual influences and impacts.

Participants:

Prof. Joerg Gleiter, Prof. Snjezana Prijic Samarzija, Prof. Petar Bojanic, Prof. Vladan Djokic, Prof. Zoran Lazovic, Prof. Ludger Schwarte, Prof. Carla Danani, Prof. Giusi Struimmello, Prof. Katharina Borsi, Dr. Sanja Bojanic, Dr. Luka Skansi, Dr. Mateja Kurir Borovčić Kasper Lægring, Roberto Bonturi, Fabiana Sforza, Jelena Radosavljević, Miloš Kostić, Madeleine Jessica Kennedy, Jovana Timotijević, Jovana Stojković, Hana Samaržija, Juan Almarza Anwandter, Stefana Dilova, Mirza Vranjakovic, Julian Franke, Sandra Meireis, Andrea Weigt, Theresa Rauch and Adria Daraban.

Partners and sponsors:

Technical University of Berlin, University of Belgrade, ERSTE Stiftung, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Croatia.

Host: Inter University Center, Dubrovnik

 

 

Summer school “Between Intellectual and Sensory Reason: Towards an Epistemology of Architecture”

Program
Co-directors:

Snjezana Prijic Samarzija, University of Rijeka

Jörg H. Gleiter, Technical University Berlin

Petar Bojanic, University of Belgrade / CAS SEE University of Rijeka

Vladan Djokic, University of Belgrade

Focal Theme:

Throughout the history of philosophy, architecture has been widely referred to as a metaphor for conscious action and logical construction. For Aristotle the work of the master builder served as a metaphor for his philosophy of action, while Nietzsche used the metaphor of a “shaking tower of concepts” to visualize and make more comprehensible the precarious state of metaphysics. Yet architecture means much more to philosophy and critical thought than what the explanatory use of architectural imagery evokes. It was Kant who went beyond metaphor by claiming “architectonics is the art of systems”. As such, architecture is not only a cultural practice based on knowledge but moreover a cultural practice that serves the production of philosophical knowledge.

This course focuses on the double bind of architecture as a material practice and an agent of knowledge production. We will discuss the importance of architecture in the formation of thought. It will draw attention to architecture as a cultural practice between intellectual reason and sensual reason. It was Nietzsche who already emphasized the close interrelation between philosophy and architecture and insisted on the philosopher’s need for appropriate spaces for thinking. He held that after the death of God “we need some recognition of what above all is lacking in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection. Places with long, high-ceilinged cloisters for bad or all too sunny weather”.

Participants:

Prof. Joerg Gleiter, Prof. Snjezana Prijic Samarzija, Prof. Petar Bojanic, Prof. Vladan Djokic, Prof. Zoran Lazovic, Prof. Ludger Schwarte, Prof. Carla Danani, Prof. Giusi Struimmello, Prof. Katharina Borsi, Dr. Sanja Bojanic, Dr. Luka Skansi, Dr. Mateja Kurir Borovčić Kasper Lægring, Roberto Bonturi, Fabiana Sforza, Jelena Radosavljević, Miloš Kostić, Madeleine Jessica Kennedy, Jovana Timotijević, Jovana Stojković, Hana Samaržija, Juan Almarza Anwandter, Stefana Dilova, Mirza Vranjakovic, Julian Franke, Sandra Meireis, Andrea Weigt, Theresa Rauch and Adria Daraban.

Seminars will start at 10.00 am in the morning with open end in the evening.

In order to leave enough time for the intellectual exchange presentations shall be limited to 20 minutes (students MA/BA) and 30 minutes all others.

The presentations will be followed by 30 minutes respectively 40 minutes of discussion.

An individually assigned moderator/commentator will help to guide through the discussions.

Timetable
Monday, 11th September 2017
10.00-11.00  | Welcome and registrations

Venue: IUC – Ul. don Frana Bulica 4, 20000, Dubrovnik

How to get there? 

11.00-12.00  | Welcome address of Directors of the Course

Presentation of all participants; setting the daily schedule

Time Title Lecturer
12.00

13.00

Opening session: Introduction to the course Prof. Joerg Gleiter
13.00

14.30

Lunch
14.30

15.30

Spaces of Reflection – where does philosophy take place? Prof. Ludger Schwarte

 

Comments: Prof. Snjezana Prijic Samarzija

15.30

16.30

Pages for thinking. From Corviale to “sensible wisdom” …. in a too short step. Prof. Carla Danani

 

Comments: Prof. Giusi Struimmello

16.30

17.00

Pause
17.00

18.00

Epistemic Implications of Neuroarchitecture Hana Samarzija

 

Comments: Prof. Carla Danani

Tuesday, 12th September 2017
Time Title Lecturer
10.00

11.00

The Acts of Project(ion) Prof. Petar Bojanic

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

11.00

12.00

A new rational aesthetic: notes on the culture of space Dr. Luka Skansi

 

Comments: Prof. Ludger Schwarte

12.00

13.00

Architecture, Space and Alienation: between Adorno and Lefebvre Dr. Mateja Kurir Borovcic

 

Comments: Dr. Luka Skansi

13.00

15.00

Lunch
15.00

16.00

Drawing the Knowledge of Urbanism Prof. Katharina Borsi

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

16.00

16.15

Pause
16.15

17.15

Knowledge Fields: Between Scientific and Design-Based Knowledge Prof. Vladan Djokic

 

Comments: Prof. Ludger Schwarte

17.15

18.15

Representations of the fragmentary in architecture Adria Daraban

 

Comments: Sandra Meireis

Wednesday, 13th September 2017
14.00

15.30

Reading Laboratory
Time Title Lecturer
15.30

16.30

Between Being and Becoming: towards a metaphysical reading of architectural signs Juan Almarza Anwandter

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

16.30

17.30

Nietzsche’s thoughts about Architecture Mirza Vranjakovic

 

Comments: Prof. Giusi Struimmello

17.30

18.00

Pause
18.00

19.00

Diagrams in Architecture: Agents of knowledge production? Julian Franke

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

Thursday, 14th September 2017
Time Title Lecturer
10.00

10.45

Mythologisations of Contemporary Belgradian Architecture Prof. Zoran Lazovic

 

Comments: Milos Kostic

10.45

11.30

Self-Managing Socialism and Urban Planning – The Case Study of General Plan of Belgrade 1972 Jelena Radosavljevic

 

Comments: Prof. Vladan Djokic

11.30

12.00

Pause
12.00

13.00

Exhibitions as Philosophy? Madeleine Kennedy

 

Comments: Hana Samarzija

13.00

14.30

Lunch
14.30

15.30

Exploring Ideas in your Senses. The capacity of imagination after Immanuel Kant explored in Oswald M. Ungers “City Metaphors” Andrea Weigt

 

Comments: Prof. Carla Danani

15.30

16.00

Pause
16.00

17.00

Semiotics of Architectural: Detail between Rationalization and Representation of Architecture Milos Kostic

 

Comments: Prof. Giusi Struimmello

17.00

18.00

The Perception of Space on the Base of Atmospheres Theresa Rauch

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

Friday, 15th September 2017
Time Title Lecturer
10.00

11.00

Nelson Goodman, Exemplification and Critiques of Modernist Architecture Kasper Laegring

 

Comments: Sandra Meireis

11.00

12.00

“Abandoning Home” – aporia of displacement Jovana Timotijevic

 

Comments: Prof. Joerg Gleiter

12.00

12.30

Pause
12.30

13.30

The Presence in Public Space Stefana Dilova

 

Comments: Madeleine Kennedy

13.30

14.00

Closing remarks, distribution of certificates

 

Philosophy and Architecture: Inequality in the City

The «Philosophy and Architecture: Inequality in the City» course took place at the IUC in Dubrovnik and engaged its participants in topics related to the political and urban implications of social injustice in cities from the 19th to the 24th of September. Almost thirty participants from eight countries contributed to the course by providing culturally specific and well-researched insights into the many dimensions of social stratification.

The course was lead by three renowned lecturers. The visitors Jo Wolff, the current Blavatnik Chair in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, and Avner de Shalit, the Max Kampelman Professor of Democracy and Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Elaborating issues related to their latest joint project, Disadvantage (2007.), Wolff and de Shalit presented the participants with a deeply humanistic, practical, analytical and minutely precise study of the policies necessary to appropriately address poverty and inequality in urban environments. They lead the course along Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, the Vice rector at the University of Rijeka and the director of the CAS SEE initiative. Prijić-Samaržija presented a continuation of her enticing work on the philosophical notions of proper governance, smart cities and the epistemological implications of social injustice.

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True to its title, the course strived to connect and unify political philosophy and architecture in a way completely unlike previous notions of philosophy of architecture. The participants came from diverse academic backgrounds, ranging from university professors and exchange students to practicing architects and political theorists. By combining the theoretical groundwork provided by fields such as social epistemology and political philosophy with the architects’ empirical experience, the course provided an all-inclusive and informative vision of the developmental potential of cities. While the philosophers elaborated the ethical, political and epistemological dimensions of poverty, social credibility, work and leisure, migrations, inclusiveness, gender equality and governing, the participating architects and cultural theorists presented a starting image of the way political misbalance and social trends manifest themselves in spatial aesthetic identity.

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Marking the beginning of a highly promising future collaboration, the course is to be followed by a series of similarly conceived conferences pertaining to both philosophy and architecture. In order to insure equal representation, philosophers and architects will replace each others as course leaders every two years, allowing them to place focus on topics of particular interest. Such collaboration has given way to more profound recognition of an interdisciplinary approach to civic engagement, urban reinvention and socio-political justice and stability. Philosophy and architecture have proven to complement each other with a balance of the intellectual and the practical, enriching all the students and lecturers with the ability to consciously analyse the structure of life in cities. Thus, all the participants have managed to emerge from the course in many ways more human than they had been upon entering. Combining theory and practice allowed for a melding of values and the participants enabled others to view social issues from completely new perspectives.

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The “Philosophy and Architecture” course has shown potential to further develop the agenda of the Rijeka ECOC 2020 project and particularly its flagship, “Sweet and Salt”.  The ECOC creative team can greatly benefit from treating the urban development or degeneration presented throughout the course as a welcome lesson on the nature of the policies necessary to define Rijeka as a progressive city capable of rational reinvention.

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