Center for Interdisziplinary Research

Buildings: Technologies or Interactions? Exploring the Intersections Between Architectural Theory and the Social Sciences

Date: 17. - 19. Juni 2009

Organizer: Michael Guggenheim (Zürich)

The workshop explores the role of buildings as stabilisation of society in theoretical and historical perspective. Many disciplines engaged with buildings implicitly or explicitly understand buildings as a kind of technology that (should) stabilize, form, direct or influence interactions and thus society. Whether their impact is attributed to the hands or thoughts of designers to enable or hinder people to do something or whether these are the concepts of architectural or social theory: Buildings are not only aesthetic objects from different stylistic and regional environments but also objects that link to their users. The workshop attempts to theorize these links and the different traditions that brought forth those links. The workshop starts with an exploration of the history of the problem and explores how in different countries in the 1960ies and 1970ies buildings and users were related. This is followed by a set of talks that reconstruct and reinvent theories of buildings, between the social sciences and architectural theory. A third set of papers looks at the notion of building types as a central concept to relate buildings and uses. A last set of papers discusses empirical case studies that relate to the theme of the seminar. Those deal both with informal settlements and cases of changing buildings as challenges to standard notions of buildings.

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