Symposium
Architecture/Machine

Veranstalter: Professur Stalder
Datum: Freitag, 30. Januar 2015 bis Samstag, 31. Januar 2015
Ort: ETH Zürich, Zentrum, RZ F 21
 

From the mid-eighteenth century through to the present day, architecture has been repeatedly imagined, defined or designed as a machine. While a strongly deterministic reading – as in “machine for living”– has held sway ever since the term was coined in the 1920s, usage of the machine concept actually needs to be understood in a much broader sense. Describing architecture as a machine has in various epochs and in the light of changing technologies always also implied paying attention to its performative properties in the context of certain processes and procedures, ranging from design to construction and use. Such performative properties may manifest themselves in spatial dimensions or contexts, in technical apparatus, or in other physical conditions. What distinguishes the concept of architecture-as-machine – considered from a genealogical perspective and independently of its various semantic nuances – is that the respective requirements of any architectural program can be individually thematized and hence also individually planned. The ‘machinic’ of the architecture/machine accordingly implies not merely a context of production or a normative mechanism but, primarily and fundamentally, a relationship between the architectural object and the processes it involves.

The conference examines the history of the architecture/machine from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day in the light of the above. It focuses not necessarily on literal machine metaphors but generally on historical instances of discursive or material articulation that formulate a relationship between architecture and machines. The conference contributions will be pursuing this theme through analyses of concrete buildings, spaces, devices, or apparatus, respectively the ways in which these are represented or described.

Organized by Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder and Moritz Gleich, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zürich.


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Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder