Does size matter?
Introduction: On models and scale | Anna-Maria Meister
Anna-Maria Meister is Professor of Architecture Theory and Science at Technical University of Darmstadt. Her work focuses on the interdependencies of bureaucratization of design and the design of bureaucracies. She has co-curated the collaborative international research project “Radical Pedagogies” and co-edited the recently published eponymous book (MIT Press, 2022)
Can architectural models construct social relationships? This simple question is here interrogated by examining the key role played by physical models in the design and construction of the United Nations Headquarters in New York between 1947–52. Erected on international territory, the UN HQ complex was famously publicized as the result of a harmonious collaboration among the members of an international Board of Design comprising ten (male) architects and headed by Wallace K. Harrison. Behind closed doors, however, the entire endeavor quickly unraveled into a tumultuous battle between architectural egos. Over the course of five months, the self-proclaimed “workshop for peace” run an uphill marathon of 45 meetings, before finally compromising to a commonly tolerated design — a “chimera” of two option models proposed by Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier.
Using the UN HQ as a case study, this paper recasts two types of architectural models as active social agents: first, the countless plasticine scale models used to compare massing options during the design stage; and second, the deployment of a singular-glass and-steel 1:1 mock-up for detailing the curtain wall façade of the Secretariat during construction. On the one hand, the iterative use of abstract mass models — perfected by Harrison during the design of the Rockefeller Center — was strategically deployed as a seemingly “neutral” tool for the negotiation of divergent design intentions among opposing architects. And on the other, the reduction of the real-scale mock-up to a visual object, resulted into the infamously compromised climatic performance of the Secretariat building, the users of which would ultimately have to antagonistically negotiate their thermal comfort with each other for decades to come.
Evangelos Kotsioris is Assistant Curator in Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Trained as an architect and a historian, his research focuses on the intersections of architecture with science, technology and media. Kotsioris is a co-editor of Radical Pedagogies, a global history of post-WWII experiments in architectural education published by MIT Press in 2022.
In September 1959, at the founding conference of the International Association for Shell Structures, a 33-year-old Swiss engineer presented an innovative method for the conceptual design of shells based on the use of small-scale physical models. His name was Heinz Isler (1926-2009). The physical models enabled Isler to control architectural as well as structural features while obtaining “elegant forms”with minimal use of material. Through them, he opened up endless possibilities of shape by controlling the relation between form and forces at a time when digital tools were not available.Physical models helped Isler to reflect on his design, being constructed in multiple variations and on different scales for the same project. The presentation will look at Isler’s most complex free-form project – the company building Sicli SA in Geneva (1969) – through the multiple physical models fabricated in his laboratory. Isler used them as research technologies on a small scale. Indeed, not every physical model behaved in the same way: they were made with different materials, on different scales and for different purposes. The experiment worked if the model’s results could be scaled up linearly to foresee the full-scale behaviour. A wrong choice of material, technique and tool could cause wrong shapes and therefore wrong results. The presentation will investigate the role of scale in Sicli’s physical models at the different design stages,in their process of translation from one model to the other:from the initial concept to form-finding, until the full-scale building as a 1:1 physical model.
Giulia Boller is a scientific assistant and PhD student at the Chair of Structural Design at ETH Zürich (Switzerland). She is both an engineer and an architect. Her research interests lie at the interface between architectural and structural design, with a focus on tools and methods that integrate form, material aspects, and flow of forces. Giulia gained professional experience at Renzo Piano Building Workshop. She graduated with honours in Building Engineering-Architecture at the University of Trento (Italy) in 2015.
Acoustic models on a scale of 1:10 or 1:20 are experimental objects that enable acoustic tests to be carried out by reducing the spatial parameters that define the behavior of sound: the volume of the room, the absorption coefficient of the materials and the public, the frequency of the sound signal, up to the constitution of the air. This practice dates back to an earlier history (among others to Friedrich Spändoch in the 1930s) and is linked to the empirical tradition of testing acoustic vibration into circumscribed material milieux such as sand or liquids (of which the 1787 Klangfiguren by the physicist and musician Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni is a ground-breaking example), but also to a 19th-century tradition of synthetic translations of real space (the panorama, the diorama). Large scale models currently find systematic applications, surprisingly,in combination with numerical acoustic modeling. Thus, while numerical models are particularly used during the initial design phase, when the general form and basic principles of the project are still in the process of being investigated, physical models allow, in a second stage, the empirical testing of the material details that condition the final acoustic result.Experimentation using scale reproductions is based on an atmospheric understanding of space (sound, light, air, visual properties, textures, etc.). Taking this as a central argument, the paper aims to question different forms of representation and analysis of space by insisting on the complementarity of measurable objective data and subjective methods of appreciation.
Carlotta Darò is architectural historian, associate professor at the ENSA Paris Malaquais and currently guest researcher at ETH Zürich. Her work explores the subject of sound media and technologies in modern architecture. She is the author of Avant-gardes sonores en architecture (2013), Les murs du son : le poème électronique au Pavillon Philips (2015) and Paysage de lignes : esthétique et télécommunications(2022).
In Joseph Friedrich zu Racknitz’s 1796-99 Presentation and History of the Taste of the Leading Nations… (Darstellung und Geschichte des Geschmacks der vorzüglichsten Völker…), the German aristocrat remarks of Siberian muscovite that it is employed for window panes, lanterns, and ships’ portals as well as ‘to glaze the windows in architectural models.’Rather than focus on direct evidence for Racknitz’s claim, this paper will consider mica’s role as an ersatz window in objects produced in the century and a half preceding publication of his treatise. I focus on boundary cases —a pop-up window in a perspective manual; an embroidered castle of Biblical myth; a Rococo interior painted on a hand-held fan — that are both architectural in form and miniature in size, if not architectural models per se. I show how small-scale mineral-glazed windows served as both tools and testaments of skill, facilitating education in practical mathematics on the one hand and drawing-room travel on the other. Mica’s incorporation into the early modern architectural imaginary dramatizes a culture of interaction between art and science, amateurs and experts, foreign lands and domestic spaces.
Ruth Ezra is lecturer in Art History at the University of St Andrews, where she specializes in the material and visual culture of early modern northern Europe. After completing her PhD at Harvard University, she served as a postdoctoral scholar with the USC Society of Fellows in the Humanities. In 2022-23 she is a NOMIS fellow at eikones, Universität Basel.
Who made me?
Introduction: On their material production | Anna Luise Schubert
Anna Luise Schubert is an architectural researcher, curator and filmmaker. She is a board member of the Centre for Documentary Architecture, with which she co-conceived its online archive project, organised the exhibition series “The Matter of Data” and worked on internationally presented films such as the 8-screen video installation “Deep White” (35min, 2019). She works currently as a research associate at the Chair of Architectural Theory and Science at TU Darmstadt.
In 1895 a hand-crafted architectural model of a house was placed on display by Edward Schroeder Prior at the Royal Academy exhibition in London. Prior’s clay model was the first on display for the first time in 21 years. Although ‘rough in appearance’, the architectural press described how it was ‘revolutionary in its tendencies’. 300,000 visitors visited the exhibition, major architectural journals received hundreds of letters about it, and Prior clarified his ideas in a theoretical essay titled ‘Architectural Modelling’. Why did this all happen? And what can it tell us about architectural practice at the turn of the 20th century? To address these questions this paper will employ Prior’s clay model to examine how architectural models were made, used, and conceptualised throughout the 19th century. Focusing on London, the paper will study the activities of individual agents and organisations through objects, documents, and materials to contextualise the topic, using them to draw connections between British and German-speaking architectural cultures.
Matthew Wells is lecturer in Architectural History at University of Manchester and member of the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG). His research uses architecture and visual culture to examine society, institutions, and individuals in the long nineteenth century.Wells is the author of two monographs Modelling the Metropolis: The Architectural Model in Victorian London (gta Verlag, 2022) and Survey: Architecture Iconographies (Park Books, 2021).
In the early 1960s, Croatian artist and architect Vjenceslav Richter launched an ambitious genre of visual research called Systematic Plastics. Richter's purpose-built implement for this work was the Reliefmeter, an enormous grid of hundreds of interlocking metallic extrusions that slid in and out independently.
Richter used this pixelated canvas to test reciprocal relationships between individual components and collective systems in a kinetic design methodology mixing intuition and logic. As an architect, Richter employed his new spatial tool to develop visionary projects like Synthurbanism, a utopian manifesto for self-managed urban structures.
This presentation will interrogate how the design, fabrication, and use of the Reliefmeter liberated Richter's spatial research from the limits of mechanical modes of orthographic representation and shaped new knowledge in his approach as both a sculptor and architect. A vital member of the New Tendencies movement, Richter presciently foresaw computer-based visual research, but his technical knowledge and machine access were limited. Instead, Richter developed the Reliefmeter as a proto-digital interface to ensure his visual research was analogous to the emerging medium of bits and bytes. The Reliefmeter is not a discrete model but a remarkable tool uniquely entrenched in tendencies and habits of both analog and digital modeling. The dynamic model evinces Richter's explicit understanding that the future of model making and art was not in static objects but within a digitized ether in perpetual flux.
Erik Herrmann teaches architecture at The Ohio State University and co-directs Outpost Office. His research interrogates how digital technologies' biases and tendencies alter the design process, focusing on the shifting roles of architects. He is a MacDowell Fellow, Walter B. Sanders Fellow of the University of Michigan, and a German Chancellor's Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
In an image, the director of a Nordic aid project is didactically explaining the model of a low-cost housing unit to President Julius Nyerere shortly after Tanganyika’s independence. A man on the far left with a calm and resigned posture is Mr. Dennis: the carpenter who not only made the models, but also shared his expertise with the Swedish site architect on the design of these newly built houses. While I can give you all the names of the Nordic aid workers involved in the Nordic Tanganyika Project, I cannot give you Mr. Dennis’ surname.
Intended to communicate Nordic driven research on the best way to build and live in Tanganyika, the model in this image can be read as an avatar of development aid expertise. By analyzing it as an object enmeshed in networks of power and knowledge, I argue that the architectural model takes part in organizing and facilitating a certain distribution of knowledge, showcasing foreign aid ‘expertise’ as politically valuable whilst rendering local knowhow as inherently irrelevant. Moreover, the struggle to name the model’s maker is indicative of our unbalanced archives that tend to reproduce the narrative of the African continent being merely on the receiving end of aid, while in reality aid expertise was heavily reliant on the collaborations with the many unnamed skilled craftsmen such as Mr. Dennis. Embodying this reality, the model exemplifies the interdependency of two worlds meeting in the context of aid – an interdependency which we as historians should seek to unearth.
Sebastiaan Loosen is a lecturer and postdoctoral researcher based at ETH Zürich's Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta). His postdoctoral research project aims to chart the role of architectural schools, centres and institutes in contributing to the 1960-80s agenda of 'foreign aid' by offering 'South-oriented' training programs in architecture, urbanism, and spatial planning.
In 1969, the Oxford Regional Hospital Board approached a newly-form consultancy named Applied Research of Cambridge (ARC) – a spin-off of the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture – asking them to develop software for their hospital design and construction system known as the Oxford Method. The British authority had spent the past five years outlining this standardized system in numerous handbooks, cataloguing hundreds of building components and plan typologies. ARC’s assignment was to translate an already-rationalized building system into the computational descriptions of the OXSYS software. However, this translation task soon became a problem of structuring information’s access and retrieval in ways that conform with the state governance and the monitoring of building construction. That is, OXSYS encoded a system of construction – a model of building – and proposed an information system – it built a model. In this paper, I focus on the OXSYS’s database structure, documented in research reports and user manuals, as the element that enabled the integration, both pragmatically and conceptually, of building and information systems into a single computational model. By looking at the OXSYS software through its data structures, I rehearse a novel historiographic approach to software as models of practices. Such an approach means attending to how computational systems produce operational representations of existing practices, embedding their directives and assumptions. Ultimately, this paper argues that computerizing a model of building such as Oxford’s system for hospital design is, in fact, an attempt to operationalize a model of practice.
Eliza Pertigkiozoglou is a PhD candidate in Architecture at McGill University and a Vanier Scholar. Her research examines how building design software has historically encoded and enacted architectural practices. Before her PhD, Eliza worked at Gehry Technologies, developing custom software for complex architectural projects. Eliza holds an MDes from Harvard University and an MArch from the National Technical University of Athens.
The title of this conference, Are you a model? assumes the agency of models. Am I good? reinforces that assumption by probing its ethical implications. Through an investigation of a model prisons, the paper argues that models are, indeed,ethical agents and that they should be held accountable for their acts.
Annabel Jane Wharton, William B. Hamilton Professor of Art History, Duke University, has also taught as the Harry Porter Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the School of Architecture of the University of Virginia and as a Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale University School of Architecture. Her most recent publications include Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives of Buildings and Models and World Making: Bodies, Buildings, Black Boxes.
Give me acccess!
Introduction: On models in participatory processes | Oliver Elser
Oliver Elser is a curator at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt am Main. He is the co-founder of the Center for Critical Studies in Architecture (CCSA), and has been visiting professor for architecture theory at the KIT in Karlsruhe in 2021. In 2016 he was the curator of Making Heimat, the German Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
With the emergence of public participation in urban design in Europe during the 1960s, the physical urban scale model became essential as a mediator between professionals and the public. However, the degree to which the urban scale model engages the public in urban discourses and projects depends on different factors. While technical properties such as scale, abstraction, and materiality are important for the readability of the urban model, the scenographic staging of the models in public exhibitions and presentations influences their interaction with the audience. The agency of urban scale models is also heavily affected by techniques of representation, including photographic and cinematographic representations in printed popular media and filmed models on television.
This paper explores the impact of evolving representation techniques on the ability of the urban scale model to engage the public. It focuses on the technique of ‘relatoscopy’, investigating the project of Les Halles in Paris from the 1960s to the 1980s. A technique of photographing models with an endoscope, resulting in images from the human eye's perspective, relatoscopy, first conceived and employed in architecture and urban design by the French architect Martin Schulz van Treeck, allowed the public to better understand the model. However, relatoscopy transformed the perception of the model from a bird’s-eye view, which leaves the audience room for interpretation, to a perception of the model at human-eye level, from ‘within’, which leaves less room for interpretation. This technique therefore allows more control and manipulation of the perspectives conveyed
Maxime Zaugg is an architect and doctoral candidate at the Chair of the History and Theory of Urban Design at ETH Zürich. His dissertation, entitled ‘Exploring Urban Models’, researches how strong performative and participative characteristics have enabled urban scale models to play a key role in urban planning, focusing particularly on the period from the late 1960s to the 1990s.
Within research, design and architecture, scale models can create worlds of proposition, speculation and fiction. This paper, however, situates the model as a tool for observation, documentation and engagement; a slow, durational method that manifests a deep participation in the lives of place and people marginalised by wider society.“Rooms” was an artistic and research project undertaken as part of the Urban Nation artistic residency in Berlin which looked at the Romanian immigrant community inhabiting the city, the spaces they occupy and appropriate, and the objects that they surround themselves with. These instances were drawn, surveyed, documented and then painstakingly recreated through 1:20 paper models, which were presented as part of a group exhibition. For border-crossers in particular, the nostalgic association with native objects and artefacts can represent an inner, self-created intangible border, expressing the liminal identity associated with migrancy. This connectionwith objects found at the domestic scale is also to be found at the urban scale, where the Romanian Shop acts not only as the main hub for the Romanian diaspora in the city, but it is also the repository for the containment and consumption of memory. Built to an extreme level of detail this model of an everyday space visualises, offers new insight, and gives a sense of value and recognition to the lived realities of individuals and communities ignored or disdained. A situated mode of research, the dedication to this form of representation transforms the seemingly mundane into an object of beauty and atmosphere, encouraging access and participation from the participant, maker and the viewer.
Ecaterina Stefanescu is an architectural designer, lecturer and artist based in the UK where she teaches architecture at the University of Central Lancashire. Her practice Estudio ESSE, co-founded in 2015, creates site installations and bespoke design work. Ecaterina useslive-build,model-making and drawing in her artistic and research work to respond to place and material cultures of people.
Tactile model landscapes — mountains, even continents — were manipulated during the nineteenth century at schools for the blind, where the teaching of geography thrived. Zonia Baber, the first woman professor of Geography, embraced this practice at the University of Chicago in 1895, and her patented “sand desk” enabled all students to expand their geographical imagination by shaping, as if in play, land formations in sand.
Wargaming also thrived in sand-tables, ever since Leopold von Reisswitz conceived of Kriegsspiel in 1812, to entertain noblemen. These landscape models have remained strategic tools for the military over a century later, to better envision and navigate World War II plans.
As with the world war model, inner and outer worlds collided in similar trays full of sand set by Margaret Lowenfeld in 1927 in front of children, who then created a landscape and picked from a collection of miniatures to create a ‘World.’ Employed worldwide by therapists to this day, the World Technique has enabled the unraveling of the inner wars of the psyche. These worlds in boxes embody ‘intermediate spaces of experience’ as described by Donald Winnicott in Playing and Reality (1971); places of ‘in-between’, “to which inner reality and external life both contribute.”
In this presentation, where the haptic and optic collide, I will examine how the intimate models touched by hand are tied to vast landscapes of social change; and how by manipulating model landscapes, the quest for inner resources and the conquest of external territories overlap.
Tamar Zinguer is an architect and architectural historian who examines the pedagogy of design through history and across scales. Her book—Architecture in Play: Intimations of Modernism in Architectural Toys(2015) explored how ludic models reflected their surroundings; while her present manuscript, Sandbox: An Architectural History,follows haptic material experiments in a ubiquitous playful space. She lives in a Bruce Goff House and teaches at the University of Oklahoma.
In June 1939, the governor of Istanbul, Lütfi Kırdar inaugurated “an exhibition to fully demonstrate the decadal development of the nation in the industrial field.” It was the 11th Turkish domestic products’ exhibition, headlined by the exhibit “Istanbul on display” that showcased the contemporary renovations of Istanbul in architectural models. Kırdar’s full speech was published in Istanbul Municipality’s journal with many photographs. This moment demonstrated that architectural models were ‘mainstream’ in the popular culture of the young nation and part of the reformist iconography.
Reaching beyond the realm of architectural professionals, models engaged with the public through newspapers, popular publications and thematic exhibitions held for the masses. The exhibitions were, in a sense, stages to enable interactive participation of the audience -the public- and the architectural models acted as political icons to consolidate the building power of the state in public opinion. The photographs of politicians examining the models, which circulated in the newspapers, were powerful messages, and bore compelling testimonies to the state-initiated modernization project, physically (the country as the construction site) and ideologically in form, style, and more importantly in culture.
Engaging with the literature on the role of representation in the architectural culture of the early republic (1930s and 1940s), this paper analyzes examples from popular periodicals as mediums of mass circulation in which the models were centerpieces; and revisits the interactive function of the exhibitions as spaces of encounter between the modernization ideology of the state and the citizens, playing their parts within the construction of the nation. Ultimately, we aim to scrutinize the overlooked propagandistic role of architectural models and their reproduced images within the cultural transformations of the period.
Cansu Degirmencioglu is an interior architect, and a PhD candidate at the Technical University of Munich, the chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial Practice. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Istanbul Technical University. Degirmencioglu is co-leading a grant-project titled “Architecture of Convalescence: Mapping the Sanatorium Heritage of Turkey.” Her research focuses on the modernization of Turkey and the intertwined histories of medicine and modern architecture, and is currently funded by DAAD.
Deniz Avci Hosanli
Historic preservationist, interior architect and environmental designer (MSc, METU; BSc, Baskent University) and architectural historian (PhD, METU) Avci-Hosanli’s (IEU, IAED) areas of expertise are housing production in early Republican Turkey; conservation of Modern Movement architecture and their interiors; early Turkish Republican period healthcare architecture; and concurrence of cinema and architecture. She is a committee member in “docomomo_tr Interior Design”and co-leading a grant-project titled “Architecture of Convalescence: Mapping the Sanatorium Heritage of Turkey.”
What the hell happened to me?
Introduction: On their afterlife and decay | Teresa Fankhänel
Teresa Fankhänel is an associate curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and co-founder and chief editor of the Architectural Exhibition Review. She was a curatorial assistant for “The Architectural Model” (2012) and has published two books on models (“The Architectural Models of Theodore Conrad,” Bloomsbury, 2021, and “An Alphabet of Architectural Models,” Merrell, 2021).
In the mid 1990s, the French architect Paul Andreu (1938-2018), renowned as the author of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airports ( terminal 1, 1967-1974 ; terminal 2, from 1972), as well as Beijing’s National Opera (1999-2007), had seven sphere-shaped models specifically made for a serie of touring exhibitions in France and Asia. Embedded within large metallic arches and set on a marble base, these exhibition models are not mere representations of Paul Andreu’s major buildings, but crafted displays of carefully chosen projects – some unexecuted and unknown – with different scales, from bird’s eye’s views to sections of specific parts. These globes including the Roissy 1 airport’s central space, the seasphere in Osaka, La Défense’s so-called crater, as well as the Kumihama’s golf course and the Hiroshima airport, all expressed a common ground, the symbolic crossing from one state to another, a spatial transition from earth to sky, from the square to the circle, or from Western to Eastern culture.
Neglected by their owner, these models underwent substantial modifications and definitively lost their original display system. If one is still missing, six were dispersed between different architecture collections (FRAC Centre, Musée national d’art moderne-Centre Pompidou, Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine). The link between the spheres became less and less obvious, and the core meaning faded away. A current research for a coming exhibition aims at digging up their history and inventing curatorial practice to reenact their spatial symbolism.
Stéphanie Quantin-Biancalani is curator, head of the Contemporary Architecture Collection in the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine since 2016. She used to work as heritage curator in the Conservation régionale des monuments historiques – Direction des affaires culturelles de Lorraine (Heritage Division – Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Lorraine) and was thereafter appointed as fellow in the Research Department of the National Institute of Art History.
The IRS Scientific Collections hold more than 80 architectural models of various sizes and made of different materials (wood, cardboard, polystyrene as well as combinations). There are urban planning models as well as wall developments (façade models), cutaway models and construction models of half-timbered houses from village areas. The models, deriving both from the GDR Building Academy and various architects, are in different states of preservation. They are not well-known as they can rarely be exhibited for reasons of space and conservation. Nevertheless, offering a unique view of a world as it could have been, they have a great potential for research in architectural history. We would like to use those IRS models made in the modelworkshop of the Building Academy to shed light on general questions concerning architectural models from the GDR and the difficulties while archiving them.The models examined in detail include e.g. models for a nuclear plant in Greifswald and for the housing estate in Magdeburg-Olvenstedt. Both properties were gradually demolished after 1989 and are now barely perceptible as GDR testimonies. The models have high preservation costs and difficult storage conditions. Digitising them could make them more useful for researchers, e.g. for simulations of buildings that were demolished or never built. However, through digitisation they may also lose their authenticity value and thus remain valuable in the original, despite their conservation situation –which is almost a classic problem of digitising cultural assets. We hope for an intensive exchange concerning these questions.
Dr.-Ing. Stefanie Brünenberg is an architectural historian with a research focus on architecture and urban development in the GDR as well as post-war modern urban designtheory.
Dr. Kai Drewes studied Modern History and became head of the Scientific Collections of the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner near Berlin in 2013.
Taking as a premise the mutual constitution of models — particularly those emerging as a result of the adoption of software in architecture and engineering — and specific regimes of vision, tact, and motion, this talk will sketch a view of models as always inseparable from bodies, materials, and experience. From this socio-material perspective models always exceed the boundaries of technological artifacts and representations, and entail complex techno-cultural arrangements. The reproducibility of a model is thus problematized, while the possibility of “re-presencing” it is reflected upon and experimentally explored. The talk will discuss examples from the “Experimental Archaeology of CAD” project, which reconstructs examples of early modeling software, and from the forthcoming book Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design, which documents an ongoing curatorial and research project examining the twentieth-century emergence of new methods for representation, simulation, and manufacturing linked to computers, and reflecting on their contemporary repercussions across creative fields.
Daniel Cardoso Llach is Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. His work explores problems including social and cultural aspects of automation in architecture, the politics of representation and participation in software, and design as a socio-technical phenomenon. Among his publications is the book Builders of the Vision: Software and the Imagination of Design (Routledge, 2015), a cultural history of CAD and numerical control illuminating how postwar technological projects shaped conceptions of design informing current architectural practices, and the forthcoming Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design (Applied Research+Design, 2023) based on the eponymous exhibitions. He is founding co-editor of the “Design, Technology and Society” Routledge book series, holds a PhD and an MS (with honors) from MIT, and a BArch from the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá. He has also been a research fellow at MECS, Leuphana, and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.
What is my act?
Introduction: On models as actors and stages | Lisa Beißwanger
Lisa Beißwanger is an art historian focusing on the 20th and 21st centuries. She currently researches and teaches at the Departments of Architecture Theory and Science and History of Art and Architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Previously, she worked as a curator of contemporary art, and received her PhD from Justus Liebig University Giessen in 2020.
In connection to rotundas, as an eye catcher of a foyer, as the focal point of a plaza, or to accent a courtyard in the 1980s one would sometimes come across funnel-shaped pits, stone benches arranged in a way reminiscent of the cavea of an amphitheatre, or a combination of the two opening onto conical staircases approaching a round podium –which in turn could constitute the tip of a further, now massive cone shape opening downwards. Such combined conical and invers conical stairs in the shape of an hourglass have existed since the Renaissance. In Baroque theatres, they connected the stage and audience area, in gardens they created a link between different terraces.
An indecision, and a multiple one at that, is characteristic of the Postmodern use of such elements: To begin with, they seem to make no clear choice between being tribune (stone steps) and stage (podium), which in turn leaves us in the dark as to whether we are to attend someone else’s performance here or make our own grand entrance; finally it is unclear whether we are being presented with a 1:1 situation in its own right or the evocation of a much bigger, possibly even ancient theatre venue.
The half-heartedness of an allusion to theatre in de-theatricalized times, as well as the gap between existing small form and imagined large form here reveal the role of the implicitly modelled: Namely that it does not precede the built form but is inherent to it! The Postmodern architecture user is conceived as a distant recipient of sophisticated allusion and at the same time as the producer his or her own inevitably staged appearance in the public sphere. Admittedly, this dual role of a ‘conscious indulging’ had of course long since been attributed to said figure by the sculpture of that era, and in an explicitly model-like manner for that matter (W. Luy / B. Prinz / Th. Schütte / et alteri).
Christian Janecke, Dr. phil. habil.,has been Professor of Art History at the University of Arts and Design in Offenbach/Main since 2006. His book publications include: Zufall und Kunst (Nuremberg 1995); Johan Lorbeer (Nuremberg 1999); Tragbare Stürme. Von spurtenden Haaren u. Windstoßfrisuren (Marburg 2003); (Ed.): Haar tragen –eine kulturwissenschaftliche Annäherung (Cologne / Vienna / Weimar 2004); (Ed.): Performance und Bild / Performance als Bild. FUNDUS 160, (Berlin 2004); (Ed.): Gesichter auftragen. Argumente zum Schminken (Marburg 2006); Christiane Feser. Arbeiten / Works(Nuremberg 2008); Maschen der Kunst (Springe 2011). Having published a number of essays on the stage and the stage-like, Janecke is currently working on a book outlining such approaches towards the theatrical beyond theatre in visual culture.
In 1962 four Italian directors co-produced Boccaccio ‘70, a four-episode anthology that criticized the moralizing attitudes around sexuality in post-war Italy. Federico Fellini’s episode, Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio, centers on the crusade of Antonio to protect Rome from pervading vices, among which is a billboard outside his window featuring the seductress Anita Ekberg advertising milk. Set within the EUR in Rome—a 1937 newly-designed quarter serving as a full-scale model of Italian modernization under Mussolini—Fellini used the district to expose the continued presence of Fascist ideology within the Christian Democrat government that ruled after the regime’s dissolution.
As the construction of the EUR recommenced in the late 1940s, it became a favorite filming location for Italian directors, who cited its abstract and rectilinear forms as the ideal film set. Fellini commissioned a 1:6 scale model of the district within which giant Anita could terrorize and seduce Antonio. Emerging from the flatness of the billboard, model occupied model, showcasing an alternative modernity that promoted the liberation of the male gaze while maintaining the status of women-as-object.
Fellini’s reconstruction collapses two types of models: the scalar reconstruction of EUR and the giantess as billboard-come-alive. This paper investigates the site’s palimpsest of “models” to show how the architectural model, whether to criticize ideological hubris or to frame gender politics, is deployed as a medium to facilitate the mediation of architecture into a scale that enters mass media systems, thereby shaping publics
Giulia Amoresano is a PhD Candidate in Architecture at the University of California Los Angeles where she is completing her dissertation titled “Cultivating the Italian Empire: Architecture and the origins of the Global South (1861-1914)”. In her scholarship and pedagogy, she focuses on transnational histories of architecture and the intersection of architecture to the politics of nation-state and empire building.
Christina Moushoul obtained her Master of Architecture degree from Princeton University in 2022, where she won the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize and the History and Theory Prize. While at Princeton, she was an editor of Pidgin and a co-founder of the Salon Series. She is a cofounder of the design practice Office Party and the journal Party Planner.
When actors act, the material – the costume, the lighting, the language – supports them to slip into their roles. According to Card “[r]eenactors use their bodies in this way. They perform the past by relating their bodies to past activities and engaging with material culture (…)”.1 The performative capabilities of architectural models, that is, the employment of a model in layered ways, the scale of materiality, form, scale, etc., participate in a performative act. The complexity of performative skills has the potential not only to construct realities, but also to shed light on what kind of history is produced and presented through the re-enactment of archives.2 Drawing on a five-month remote ethnographic study on in-house model maker Ellie Sampson at the award-winning London-based architecture firm HaworthTompkins (HT) conducted during the 2020 global pandemic, and a subsequent two-month practice-based study (re-enactment) in HT’s workshop in 2021, this paper sheds light on practices of model making and their potential for new mediations, as well as new understandings surrounding ‘material literacy’ in the digital age. This paper also challenges academic research by applying the form of a conversational essay, thus providing an opportunity to translate theoretical knowledge directly into practical thinking.
Mara Trübenbach is an architectural designer and PhD fellow at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, strongly interested in the intersection of craft, material and alternative design methods in architecture such as performance and applied theatre studies. In her dissertation, Mara explores the question of how material empathy contributes to the design process in architecture. She is part of the EU Horizon 2020 international training network TACK / Communities of Tacit Knowledge.
Am I the real thing?
Introduction: On copies and casts | Christiane Fülscher
Christiane Fülscher is Professor for Building History, Research and Preservation at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Trained as an architect and art historian, her research focuses on the cultural- as well as socio-political objectives of architecture and the history of architectural education. She is author of the monograph “German Embassies. Between Distinction and Adaption” published in 2021.
This research paper examines the modeling and exhibition practices of “Idea Houses I and II” (1941, 1947) built by the Walker Art Center in Minnesota to showcase the American public a new lifestyle yielded by architecture. These full-scale house models are the origin of the museum model home exhibition in the U.S., but also a relevant case study to historically situate shifts in forms of displaying and receiving information. Conceived against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the post-war housing crisis, the Walker Art Center reimagined the museum experience as an event accessible to a large public, organized around everyday issues, and discussed around one-to-one scale models—rather than drawings.
To study the dominant modes of observation and truth that were developed around these models is to pay attention to the ways in which a museum promoted a shift from older forms of spectatorship, based on the passive and distant reception of information, to an active and “probatory” form of cognition. These houses utilized complex material, literary and social technologies to convince museumgoers of the role of architecture in encouraging a new way of life for the suburban American family. Such “convincing” was built around the illusion of creating an unmediated and unbiased visitor experience through full-scale, fully-functioning models. By insisting on the physical integrity of such models, this paper argues that the experience of the exhibition-goer shifted from a passive observer taken away by dramatic and dazzling forms of entertainment, to an active witness that provided testimonial evidence.
Diana Cristobal Olave is an architect and scholar, currently pursuing a joint Ph.D. degree in History and Theory of Architecture and the Interdisciplinary Humanities, at Princeton University. She holds degrees in architecture from Columbia University and ETSABarcelona. Her work bridges histories of science and technology with design and architecture, with a special focus on practices of computing and information visualization.
Architectural reconstructions are controversial. They challenge the Zeitgeist and are often accused of being falsely old and falsely new. Both the lack of authenticity and the intent to deceive are persistent arguments against operations intending to rebuild old architectures in a new time or place. Even afterwards “The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, architecture replication is still frowned upon. The main issues seem to lie more on morals than on loss of quality, as it is usually claimed. Hence, when replications are unstuck from their original site, devoid of their utilitarian purpose, criticism fades away. In an exhibition context, reconstructed remarkable architectures become models of themselves and are free from the label of fake. Some examples are the Le Corbusier’s Unité de Marseille apartment, rebuilt in the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine; the Maison Tropicale, designed by Jean Prouvé and adapted by Rirkrit Tiravanija as the artwork Palm Pavilion, currently exhibited outdoors, at the Brazilian Inhotim Institute; or the living room of Francis Little House II, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for a lake shore and rebuilt inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unlike a sculpture replica, a 1:1 architectural model deceives no one, even if resulting from the same design that the building.
Furthermore: detached from the context the architecture was designed for, a real scale model not only does not threat its original but also reinforces its value, granting it the status of a museum masterpiece.
Ana Carolina Pellegrini is an Architect (UFRGS, 1999), Doctor (UFRGS, 2011) and Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Teaches both in undergraduate and graduate courses and researches about the design as heritage, tackling architectures characterized by the coexistence of projects designed at different times – such as renovations, restorations, annexes and reconstructions.
This article examines the irreconcilable concept of the real between the literal and virtual realities in reference to a weird relationship between the city hall and its mockup model of Marl, Germany. After testing its real quality as a preparatory physical model, the mockup model is imposing its real value more than before by remodeling into a children's library. These days, the city hall is also going through a remodeling procedure as if resonating with the mockup model’s remodeling after about 40 years’ silence. Finally, both city hall and mockup buildings become less dependent on their original model designed by architects Van den Broek en Bakema in the 1960s.
All three models seem to express their exclusive quality of the real in mutually exclusive realities yet, bound each other with the same modeling grammar. The speculation to the real seems to be inevitable as the idea of real becomes questionable. Little attention has been drawn to the extent to why the concept of the real represents al-mighty yet, only within exclusive realities based on the Post-war architectural discourse. Through the critical assessment of the mockup model and the city hall building, this article attempts to ventilate the concept of the real whose representational concept of model changes over time. The examination utilizes a couple of foundational criticisms on the real and reality by Postmodern architects such as Alan Colquhoun and Peter Eisenman in comparison to the current usages with less discretions.
Wonseok Chae is an architect. His current practice is oriented in questioning the concept of reality through the formal language of architecture. He graduated from Städelschule Architecture Class with Master thesis prize in 2016 and he is teaching in Bergische Universität Wuppertal from 2018 to today. He is currently preparing a thesis work, designing a house, and launching a design group for art exhibition and virtual reality based on teaching practice.
In 2018 the fragment of a 19th century model of the Royal Albert Hall was found in the back of a cupboard. Observation of the surviving parts and a study of archival sources enabled a basic undertesting of its history and function: it played an important part in the design process, as a tool for building consensus between the designer and the Committee of Advice, and it was a ‘place’ of experimentation. Many questions remained open, though.
The process of building a physical ‘copy’ of the model, including an informed guess of what the missing parts might have looked like, was a precious opportunity to intimately understand the historical artefact. Simultaneously, a digital twin was produced. Enriched with annotations, it presents information on the physical qualities of the ‘original’ and the clues it contains to its history, and to how it fits within a ‘family of models’ of the Hall.
What is the potential of physical and digital replica models as instruments for historical enquiry? What can we learn in the process? These are some of the questions at the core of two research projects conducted as a collaboration between the V&A, Manchester University’s B15 model making workshop and the CNRF’s MAP laboratory (Marseille).
The paper will explore the epistemic qualities of these different models and reflect on the design and research journeys which produced them in the 19th century and today. A discussion of the Albert Hall’s historical model, which bears traces of the different stages it forwent and doesn’t completely reflect the Hall as built, will contribute to problematising the idea of an ‘original’.
Dr. Simona Valeriani is senior tutor at the V&A/RCA History of Design postgraduate program. Among her recent projects are the International Research Network ‘Architectural Models in Context’ and the resulting follow on project culminating in the exhibition ‘Shaping Space-Architectural Models revealed’, both funded by the AHRC. She has co-edited An Alphabet of Architectural Models (Merrell, 2021) and is completing a monograph on the history of building the Royal Albert Hall (Brepols, 2023).
A conversation between Anna-Maria Meister and Annabel Jane Wharton with artist Thomas Demand [online] on the model as technique, material, and form—and their role in societal and artistic processes. They will discuss the material resistance of models during their making as well as their representation, the scalar limits of multiplication, seriality and size of models, and questions of joinery, precision and semblance.
Thomas Cyrillus Demand (born 1964) is a German sculptor and photographer. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Los Angeles, and teaches at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg.
Annabel Jane Wharton, William B. Hamilton Professor of Art History, Duke University, has also taught as the Harry Porter Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the School of Architecture of the University of Virginia and as a Vincent Scully Visiting Professor of Architectural History at the Yale University School of Architecture. Her most recent publications include Architectural Agents: The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives of Buildings and Models and World Making: Bodies, Buildings, Black Boxes.
Do we look alike?
Introduction: On digital multiples twins and simulation processes | Chris Dähne, Andreas Noback
Chris Dähne researches the history and theory of architecture, media, and computation. She is researcher in the LOEWE cluster “Architectures of Ordering. Practices and Discourses between Design and Knowledge” at Goethe University Frankfurt a. M. and in the DFG project BAUdigital at TU Darmstadt. Forthcoming is her book Utopia Computer. The New in Architecture? (with Nathalie Bredella and Frederike Lausch).
Andreas Noback: Architectural studies at Technical University of Darmstadt 1993–2002. Afterwards Lead of IT at the faculty of architecture. Senior Research Associate at Lucern University of Applied Science and Arts 2014–2018. PhD 2020. Since 2020 work for the specialised information service BAUdigital and since 2021 Postdoc at the department for classical archaeology at Technical University of Darmstadt.
Modeling and simulation in science are used to conceive and project possible futures based on today’s behavior. In times of climate change modelling in climate science, urban planning, economic development and in many more disciplines become existential views into possible futures. Thus, model projections can become prototypes of possible futures-comparable to architectural planning as prototypes support learning and communication about alternative styles, features, and patterns. The paper explores this analogy between scientific models and architectural planning practices.
Gabriele Gramelsberger is professor for theory of science and technology at the RWTH Aachen University. She studies the transformation of science into computational sciences. She is director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Cultures of Research”, an International Center for Advanced Studies in Philosophy, Sociology, and History of Science and Technology funded by the German Federal Ministry of Research.
Digital models and workflows are omnipresent in design, engineering, and construction practice, reaching a pinnacle in the form of digital twins.Within the integrative design and construction paradigm, computational design models, simulations, and digital twins figure as holistic approaches to a particular problem, bearing the cybernetic overtones of universality and centralized control. The reality, however, is one of ruptures and multiplicities between digital modeling epistemologies, practices, processes, and technologies. Whereas advanced research-based approaches to design and modeling contrast professional practices and experiences, in a professional setting, the same digital model and its occasional twin can become multiples with every other actor involved in the design process. As anthropologist Annemarie Mol notes, reality multiplies “since the object of manipulation tends to differ from one practice to another” (2002). Following Mol’s concept of the “body multiple”, this paper proposes the notion of the “model multiple” to understand the approximation work performed by various actors in creating digital models and eventually digital twins. The paper discusses how the multiplicities of digital models are rendered practicable through an analysis of design meetings' observations on the border between computational design research and architectural practice, as well as interviews with professionals. It draws on scholarship across science and technology studies and digital media studies to reframe the dualistic distinctions, boundaries, and differences around digital models.
Yana Boeva is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences and the Cluster of Excellence “Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture (IntCDC)”, University of Stuttgart. She holds a PhD in Science & Technology Studies from York University, Toronto, and an MA in Media Studies from the Humboldt-University Berlin.
For the construction of the pioneering wooden grid shell of the Mannheim Multihalle several different physical models were built: For the natural form finding and adaptability a model made of wire-mesh was used. To calculate the forces the planning team started building physical models, made of hanging-chains. The hanging model model turned upside down resulted in purely compression-loaded shapes. This elaborate model made on a scale of 1:98.5 has been preserved at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt and will be case studied in this paper.
As part of the the sub-project “The Last Witnesses” of the priority program “Cultural Heritage Construction” of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG (German Research Foundation), the model was recorded photogrammetrically and digitally remodelled. To create the hanging chains, three different methods were implemented in Grasshopper and compared: dynamic relaxation techniques with a spring-particle system, a mesh drape and the compass method which Frei Otto introduces in the IL booklet number 10, which was written as a recursion in C#. In this context the initial question Do we look alike will be examined. Furthermore, the digital twin will be used to calculate the potential power generation by mounting solar panels on the roof cladding.
Baris Wenzel studied architecture and worked for 5 years in Mexico as an architect and computational designer.. There he developed a great interest in polygon meshes and their applications in architecture, civil engineering and digital fabrication. Currently he works at Hochschule Karlsruhe and as facade designer at knippershelbig advanced engineering. He is also completing his doctorate at the UIBK Innsbruck.
One of the most enduring influences on architectural design is the simplified ideal scenario according to which the design process is a chain of modelling stages that lead from the large to the small, from urban design to detailed structural planning. At the beginning of each modelling stage there is an architectural hypothesis with its respective specific subject promise. The final modelling stage at the end of the chain is the specific construction. Computer-based design seems to interrupt this ideal chain of design operations. With the help of 3D modelling software, the design is developed less in successive stages that build on one another and more in a single stage that theoretically includes all other stages. Digital process chains eliminate the traditional separation between intellectual design act and material execution. Production technologies directly intervene in the design processes.
In light of these fundamental changes in design processes, drastic crisis scenarios of the loss of importance of architectural design have been drawn up in recent years, whereas the consideration of the active potentials of computer-based models have remained underexposed. This talk will therefore focus on digital and pre-digital models and modelling practices that can be considered as emergent expressions of complex real-time systems. Modelling material systems and force fields in digital 3D space abandons the notion that the model is merely an abstract scheme. Rather, in the digital model, a multi-layered event is made tangible in actual execution, which is essentially determined by its relationship to matter and material. The model literally steps into action to give an idea of itself in two respects: On the one hand, it appears as an event that takes place in reality; on the other hand, it enables an idea of the complexity of the medial and material context of effects, which includes a multitude of highly heterogeneous factors. In this talk, models are understood as technical-ecological assemblages that set spatial, material and atmospheric processes in motion, thereby giving rise to a wide range of new ideas.
Carolin Höfler is Professor of Design Theory and Research at the TH Köln. She studied art history, German literature, and theater & film (M. A.) as well as architecture (TU Diploma) at universities in Cologne, Vienna, and Berlin. In her dissertation at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, she explored the history and theory of computational design in architecture. Until 2013, she was a teacher and researcher at the Institute of Media and Design, TU Braunschweig.
Where are you going?
Introduction: On models in future practice | Nadja Gaudillière-Jami
Nadja Gaudillière-Jami holds a Master of Architecture from the ENSA Paris-Malaquais and a doctoral degree from the Paris Est – Gustave Eiffel University. A co-founder of XtreeE the large-scale 3D, she is also the president of the NGO thr34d5 and co-heads the Computation In Architecture master programme at the Centre for Information Technologies and Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy. After working several years as a project manager at XtreeE and as a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant at the ENSA Paris-Malaquais, she is now a postdoctoral researcher at the Digital Design Unit (TU Darmstadt). A specialist of the digital in architecture, she focuses on two main research axes : the industrialisation and environmental impact of architectural robotics and the history and epistemology of the computational field in architecture.
to create, to access and to work with digital building design models requires technical equipment, tool competence and practice in addition to design competence. entry barriers seem higher and assuming a similar outcome as teaching with analogue models, only additional value would give reason to use digital models.
If different disciplines are working on a building design as a team, a uniform understanding contributes significantly to smooth team play. It is therefore highly desirable to reduce the scope for interpretation and the demands on spatial imagination. digital models – which can also be experienced 1:1 via virtual reality, provide exactly these experiences. However, investment in the competence of all participants in dealing with digital models is required.
The focus of the digiLEARNbim research group, which consists of the Institute for Knowledge Media in Tübingen, the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt and the Technical University Darmstadt is on the following question:
How can technology acceptance methods be used to lower the hurdles to such an extent that the potential of digital, model-based, interdisciplinary collaboration can unfold effectively?
Best practice examples are used to explain where didactic, methodological and technical keys lie to enable students to design and plan together, working with coordinated digital models from different disciplines and systems.
The results of research on the changes in perspective includes how the participants' attitudes change through collaborative model-based work and VR walk-throughs of self-created worlds as a team. They are used to show which role prior knowledge, self-efficacy and technical equipment plays.
Andreas Pilot was part of the German Solar Decathlon Team that won the competition in Washington D.C. in 2007 before he graduated in 2008 at Darmstadt University of Technology. As an architect on the one hand he worked on awarded sustainability-driven and interdisciplinary projects in Germany and as CEO of an IT company on the other hand he works as a Manager and Coach for Building-Information-Modeling (BIM). He is involved in numerous BIM-networks and committees and has headed the BIM Studio at TU Darmstadt since 2019, focusing on teaching and research on model-based and interdisciplinary methods.
In September 2021, one could count 23 mock-ups in Zurich. They are omnipresent in the urban landscape as the side effect of excessive construction activity. Situated on the plot rather than the architect’s office, they are models at a critical moment of transition. Mock-ups are a laboratory bringing architects and builders together to collaborate. Their ephemeral nature reveals possibilities for solutions beyond regulations. They are models of a complex social, political and economic field within which architecture positions itself.
The master thesis studio at ETH Zurich supervised by Jan de Vylder, Silke Langenberg and Maarten Delbeke in Fall 2021 focused on mock-ups. Students investigated their various meanings and development scenarios. Projects explore how mock-ups announce the forthcoming transformation of a place and its impact on the inhabitants (Figure 1). A project focuses on a mock-up commissioned by the Swiss Federal Railways for an office tower for which no tenants could be found, and explores how the mock-up becomes an agent for speculation (Figure 2). Another project links the mock-up of an office building to single family houses at the periphery of Zurich and builds on the unintentional combination of two seemingly opposite typologies, revealing a system of social ideologies and economic power that shape the built environment (Figure 3).
Our contribution discusses through student projects how mock-ups act as a magnifying glass and showcase not only current technical standards and aesthetic preferences but also refer to the driving forces behind the current building activity.
Salome Schepers is a research assistant at the Chair of Construction Heritage and Preservation at ETH Zurich. She recently finished her Master’sdegree in Architecture at ETH Zurich after a bachelor from EPFL Lausanne and LTH Lund, Sweden.Next to her studies, she has worked in several practices in Australia and Switzerland.
The destiny of the architectural model changes with the birth of mass media. Like the projects they purport to represent, three-dimensional physical models increasingly circulate as images. We claim that architectural models cannot be understood outside of the network of sensors, screens, and software platforms that structure their mediation and value. We describe this network as a set. The set produces unique sensory and imaginative effects in relationship to making, collaboration, and viewing.
Sets are powerful because they are originally contradictory and discontinuous, liberating uncertain relationships between models and audiences with respect to motivation and meaning. Through a series of case studies, we will examine the way architects, artists and performers utilise sets as a creative tool within their practice, proposing a provisional theory for the effects they generate.
Adrian Lahoud is Dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. In 2019, he curated the inaugural Sharjah Architecture Triennial on the theme ‘Rights of Future Generations. He is currently working on a project exploring the intersection of architecture, anthropology and semiotics.
Beth Hughes is the Head of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. In 2019 she was thematic curator for the 2019 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. She is currently trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Her current research explores the securitisation of the mediterranean and Italian fascist colonialism.
What can you learn from me?
Introduction: On model didactics | Christina Clausen
Christina Clausen studied art history and german literature in Marburg, Padua and Berlin. After completing her master's degree at the Humboldt University in 2014, she was a research assistant in Hildesheim. Since 2020 she is a doctoral researcher at the LOEWE Research Cluster „Architectures of Order“. In her PhD project she analyzes the visualization of medieval architecture in models, paintings and museum displays in the 19th century.
Widely valued for their ability to support strategic thinking, collaboration and to create opportunities for young people to “try out” particular tools, games held (and still hold) enormous pedagogical potential.
Although aware of their ability to damage children through addiction or distraction, early modern contemporaries generally embraced games–and the models, tools and materials needed to play them–as media that were uniquely situated on a threshold between present day reality and future possibility. These media created opportunities for young players as learners to “project” or to simulate future real-life scenarios, thereby validating acts of risk-taking and efforts to more usefully apply or direct the imagination. In this paper, I consider relationships between models as pedagogical tools and the forms of mimicry or role-playing activities that several early modern pedagogues envisioned these versatile tools were capable of fostering. I also pay special attention to the role of models and modeling practices in the “Oeconomic” games and projects of early promoters of political economy in the German states–and beyond.
Kelly Joan Whitmer is associate professor of History at Sewanee: The University of the South. Her first book, The Halle Orphanage as Scientific Community appeared in 2015 (University of Chicago Press). She recently spent two years at the University of Göttingen completing a new book about youth, science and pedagogy thanks to the support of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Architectural design pedagogy raises many questions in relation to the technological tools. These are necessarily medium, means of communication and translation of the notions and issues to be transmitted to the students. The meaning of what is taught is closely linked to the limits of the tools used. The physical model, in its different scales and in different materials, is a cold medium [McLuhan, 1967]: it conforms critical space yet it allows ideas to freely flow since it does not state but it alludes. Models are allusive objects, they ask to be approached using their physical presence to convey possible meanings that refer – through similarities – to references without reference in which the reference is needed to be sought [Jullien, 2019]. Starting from the personal pedagogical research carried out by the author in recent years in various design studios at the University of Naples “Federico II”, a research project was launched, which resulted in the first issue of the international journal STOÀ, entitled Models. A number of architects, professors in international schools (including Nicolai Bo Andersen, Asli Cicek, An Fonteyne, Anne Holtrop, Renato Rizzi, Takero Shimazaki, Annette Spiro, Jurjen Zeinstra and many others) were questioned about their teaching practices mediated by physical models, their orientations and cultural references, and how architectural models are fundamental tools for teaching architecture. The presented result is a survey of some teaching practices that have at their centre physical models, never intended as objects of representation but always used as living and active elements for the teaching of design.
Alberto Calderoni is a researcher in Architectural and Urban Design at the University of Naples "Federico II”. His research topics are mainly related to the study of the city, of the project as a tool for knowledge of reality and of pedagogy for architectural design. Since 2021 he is editor in chief of the magazine STOÀ, a journal that aims at combining academic research and teaching practices.
The Orphanage of the Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale) was built between 1698 and 1701. A model of the structure and the adjoining buildings of the lower courtyard (1709–1717) was produced in the winter of 1719/20. In its disassembled state, the model represents the different functionalities of the various buildings. Additionally, some of the rooms in the model still retain their miniature interiors. Beginning in 1741, it became part of the then newly established Cabinet of Artefacts and Natural Curiosities (the so-called Wunderkammer) located in the lower mansard roof of the Orphanage. From the very beginning, the Cabinet was open to the public for guided tours. The model itself is still located in this early museum space today. However, no written sources on the model have survived. Chronologically, it was created between the construction of the buildings and the conceptualisation of the Cabinet. This circumstance poses a pivotal question: What was the purpose of the model at all? The presentation will try to answer this by pursuing different approaches: by looking at its contexts, materiality, and possible applications. Therefore, the paper will ask to whom it could have been shown for what purposes. However, the main goal will be to carve out plausible practices of how the model was used in different situations of communication and within object-settings. This leads towards an answer, or, more appropriate, a suggestion for answering the question: What am I, actually?
Since 2016, Holger Zaunstöck is head of the Administrative Department Research and the “Dr. Liselotte Kirchner-Fellowship Programme” at the Francke Foundations Halle. Zaunstöck studied history, social history, and economics at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (1993 M.A.; 1998 PhD; 2008 Habilitation). In 2014, he was appointed as extraordinary professor. More recently, he has worked on the history of collections, architecture, medicine, youth, and Pietism.