DAAD Guest Lecturer Program with Dr. Igor Demchenko (1.4.2021-31.3.2022)

Reconstruction Reconsidered

With the research and teaching project “Reconstruction Reconsidered” we question the new construction premise of architectural education and take on an investigation into the theory and practice of reconstruction. In German historiography, the preservation of historical monuments is usually treated as a theory of art history or material-scientific building research, whereas in the US context in particular, a critical theory of monuments (“critical turn”) has emerged in recent years, e.g. at Columbia University, which is concerned with the practice of reconstruction beyond the preservation of facades. In addressing the built environment in the context of sustainability in the face of both climate change and demographic change, our project takes this “critical turn” as an opportunity to examine critical, pragmatic, and historical approaches to reconstruction in an architecture department. In doing so, a questioning of new construction as an architectural guideline raises not only constructive, but also (and above all) historical-critical questions. If designing as a social task no longer means building, but rebuilding, architecture must be reflected and researched differently. In thematic seminars and workshops with students, Dr. Demchenko will historically underlay and critically discuss questions about the applied methodology of reconstruction and restoration between the 1920s and 1980s.

Hannover, EXPO 2000, Lithuanian Pavilion by Valdas Ozarinskas (1961–2014). The image reflects the retro-futurist, re-constructive impulse behind contemporary utopian dreaming and the perishable quality of an architecturally embodied future that calls for preservation long before it fulfils its promise. Photographed by Igor Demchenko/Alla Vronskaya in 2013.