The Department of Architectural Theory at the Institute of Architecture at the TU Berlin (Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Jörg H. Gleiter) pursues in research and teaching the approach of a critical theory of architecture, all the more so today a critical theory of the Anthropocene.In accordance with the central importance of architecture for human beings, however, architectural theory cannot stop in the narrow sense at architecture, i.e. only at the thought, made and use of architecture. Especially today, in the larger context of the omnipresent environmental problem, the question of the consumption of resources - organic as well as inorganic, natural as well as human -, climate change, land consumption and population growth and - above all - the question of generational justice, inclusion and equal opportunities, architectural theory can only develop its critical potential and unfold its social impact as a critical cultural theory.
Research and teaching focus on the general foundations of architecture - architectural theory as a basic science - as well as on current, specific and local problems. The field of architectural theory is committed to the realisation that today's global problems can only be solved through individual responsibility and local commitment.
"Thus, behind the theory of architecture there is always the doubt
and the all-dominant question: "What does it mean to orientate one's
orientation in thought?" And orientation in thinking is needed
needed more urgently than ever."
Jörg H. Gleiter, Architekturtheorie zur Einführung,
Hamburg: Junius Verlag 2022, p. 11
For architectural theory, the guiding principle is the realisation that architecture has always been and still is a project of transforming the earth. In order to create an environment appropriate to himself, man must intervene in the earth system by means of devices, machines and architecture. He cannot do otherwise. Even the imaginary original hut was already an intervention in the system earth, however inconsequential this may have been initially for the system earth as a whole.
This means, however, that by means of architecture man is always already in a dialectical tension with the system earth. Therefore, the theoretical approach of the field of architectural theory is based on the conviction that the Anthropocene is that age in which the general dialectical tension between architecture and the Earth system breaks open, becomes visible and now becomes the major, all-encompassing theme of architecture. The fact that this dialectical tension is becoming a theme in architecture today - but not only in architecture - is the difference between the critical theory of architecture in the modern age and the critical theory in the Anthropocene.
How does this manifest itself, what are the deficits and what are the dependencies? How can this tension be creatively and productively shaped in a future-oriented way? What are the appropriate material-technical, aesthetic-sensual and conceptual-theoretical means for this? Compared to the critical theory of modernism and postmodernism, which only goes back a good five decades, the current conditions of the earth system - resource consumption, climate change, growing and shrinking world population, but also digitalisation and globalisation - shift the cognitive interest of architectural theory and the expectations one has of it.
In the words of Hannah Arend, it is important to note that an unavoidable prerequisite of human life is the "dependence" of human existence on "representationality and objectivity" and thus on architecture. In the tangle of intentions and opinions, prejudices and clichés, but also of well-intentioned belief, the critical theory of architecture has the not entirely small task of making implicit knowledge explicit, of bringing it to consciousness and to language, and of making it accessible to thinking under the question "What does it mean: to orient oneself in thinking" (Kant).
Berlin, 5 October 2022 Jörg H. Gleiter
Research interests of the department:
- Critical theory of architecture in the Anthropocene.
- Project Earth: The Architectural Project and the Production, Transformation and Shaping of
- Phenomenon and logic of signs: Basic research on the theory of
- ARS DFG joint project (with UdK): Digital repository of architectural
- Digital Notation and Documentality
- Architecture psychology