Appel à communications : “Architecture and its Actors in Postwar Society: Practice, Public, Ethos”

Appel à communications : “Architecture and its Actors in Postwar Society: Practice, Public, Ethos” 

Deadline : 30 septembre 2017

Accédez à l’appel : cliquez ici

Conference of the Chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial
Practice / Architecture Museum, Technical University Munich

The Chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial Practice / Architecture Museum of the TU Munich is organising the conference Architecture and its Actors in Postwar Society: Practice, Public,
Ethos. This is part of the research project titled The Architect Paul Schneider-Esleben and Postwar Modernity, funded by the German Research Foundation. The research project was preceded by the analysis of the life, work, and estate of Paul Schneider-Esleben (1915–2005) as preparation for an exhibition in 2015. In the process, new society-related fields opened up, giving rise to  research based on subject-centered constellations such as origin, studies, and networks. By relating oeuvre, experience, and knowledge, this sort of research is gaining relevance for both architectural and social history, especially for study of the period of change after a (lost) war. The biography of Paul Schneider-Esleben spans the 20th century. The stations of Schneider-Eslebens life not only illustrate architectural history but -in reciprocal relation – societal change. A biographical analysis allows linkages of players, narratives, practices, places, milieus, and creative strategies. It points us beyond the individual to what society after World War II understands itself as.

Based on this model of connection between actor(s), architectural modernity, and postwar society, the guiding questions of the conference emerge. Contributions are welcome from those arguing out of biographical perspectives towards questions of the public, the practice, and the ethos of the profession around 1945/1955. On the other hand, contributions which argue vice versa from a deductive perspective are equally welcome.

The changing requirements profile of the profession was characterized by expansion. The diversity of actors dealing with building grew exponentially (not only architects, authorities, and building
companies, but also journalists, politicians, citizens, artists, philosophers, writers, clergy, art historians, curators, professors) – architecture steadily became more interdisciplinary. Architects, it
seems, became increasingly interwoven with related actors and professions – with consequences for oeuvre, discourse, and habitus. But what about other stakeholders in the wider ‘society’ – to what extent did their participation in the work of architects increase?

“How was it possible?”, Rudolf Schwarz asked at the Darmstädter Gespräch 1951. He was referring to the non-emergence of a following generation of architects in the “wake of the modernism dawn” at the Künstlerkolonie Mathildenhöhe in 1901, fifty years earlier. The question, however, concerns the caesura, the breach of civilization: National Socialist dictatorship, world war, the Holocaust, devastation, and expulsion, in the end also that of the perpetrators. Although candid confessions of guilt feelings have been more seldom than one would hope, the profession reflected its ethos. What was their position in the “Third Reich” and how did they deal with it afterwards? What kind of society did they imagine in their constructions? And did ‘society’ accept these visions?

Beyond those questions contributions are welcome on these topics: Architecture and the public: Who were the actors thinking about society in combination with architecture and reconstruction? Which concepts and legal regulations resulted from this? How and where did architects legitimate their (reconstruction-) plans and who listened to them? In what way did the profession as its members acted in the media, commissions, exhibitions, and public discussions change? Profession and ethos: What kind and extent of ethically motivated pressure for change were architects under in the post war era? How have architects dealt with their social responsibility in oeuvre and discourse? And who was judging them?


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