JeBe – The Jerusalem Berlin Platform for Urbanism and Theory
Jerusalem and Berlin are two cities that incorporate ultimate manifestations of current urbanism in their own specific ways. Converging and diverging in many aspects, they condense past and present, prospect and conflict, deep scars and grand attempts at reconciliation. Both cities are homes for diverse communities that have been rooted and uprooted; carrying with them stratified histories, intertwined with local and remote times and places. Both cities struggle with narratives whose traces surface occasionally, shattering habitual everyday life. In an ever-globalizing world, Berlin and Jerusalem abound in lifestyles and lifeworlds (Husserl’s Lebenswelten) embedded in their physical tissues, resembling palimpsests. As such, the cities are potentially rich laboratories, perfectly suited to the study of urbanisms with a lower-case “u”: metamorphosing urbanisms in flow.
JeBe – The Jerusalem-Berlin Platform for Urbanism and Theory – sets out to explore public life in the spaces and places of the two cities. It adopts the position of urban design, which is defined as an ongoing, creative activity whose aim is to decipher, interpret and intervene in urban public space. Although “public space” may be understood as the entire range of social space, ranging from somewhat fixed city centers to alternative events by “counter-publics”, and from corporate commercial hotspots to publicly owned infrastructures, the Platform chooses to emphasize community-space at an intermediate scale, as interpreted and used by the community involved. The core of this approach is the conviction that juxtaposing lifeworld, i.e. the experienced space in context, with theoretical investigation, will contribute to advancing an understanding of urban-life forms, and will shed light on practical and theoretical domains of urban design.
JeBe is a research and pedagogical platform, initiated as a collaborative effort between students and researchers from the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion, I.I.T., Haifa and the Institute of Architecture, Technische Universität, Berlin. Its framework includes graduate-student architectural and urban design studios, lecture courses, applied and theoretical research, conferences and workshops, and educational visits to Berlin and Jerusalem. Faculty and students from other departments and universities are invited to participate and contribute from their own fields of knowledge. Work is undertaken in collaboration with people from local communities: social activists, artists, NGO representatives, local municipal authorities, as well as architects, planners and designers involved in local projects. Studio and research results are presented to the community and to the public at large.
Architectural Research Group Berlin-Milano
The end of criticality has been declared more than once in the architectural discourse of the late 20th C. This regards both: Architectural Practice and the Critique of Architecture itself. More recently the status of criticality has been restored after the era proclaimed post-critical has passed its peak. Criticality has increasingly turned into a medium of resistance set against an economic system of unified standards in the architecture world globally. Focussing on history and political critique of architecture today means therefore to seek anew for a contemporary relation of architectural theory to practice, and of architectural practice to the real (or realpolitik).
With the emphasis on history and political critique, the research group Berlin-Milano aims to contribute a specific perspec- tive to the revitalisation of criticality in architecture. The widespread myth that architecture is inevitably political does not keep us from questioning if and how architecture‘s critical-political scope was dealt with historically and why and how this scope ought not to stay on the verge of the architectural discourse today.
The History Workshop of the Institute of Architecture was founded in 2017 by the departments of Architectural Theory (Prof. Dr. Jörg H. Gleiter), History of Building and Urban Development (Prof. Dr. Hermann Schlimme) and Historical Building Research and Conservation (Prof. Dr. Thekla Schulz-Brize). The History Workshop attempts to critically reappraise the chequered history of the Institute of Architecture. The motivation is that without knowledge of the past, it is not possible to answer the questions of the future. Understanding history and the possibility of its critical reconstruction are prerequisites for sovereignty and self-determination of our institution and our students and teachers.
Together with the students of architecture, the History Workshop would like to contribute to a better understanding of the history not only of the Institute of Architecture, but also of the Technische Universität Berlin. As part of the TU Berlin, the Institute of Architecture has a long tradition. It dates back to the founding of the Prussian Bauakademie in 1799. This makes the Institute of Architecture the oldest architecture faculty in Germany. The Bauakademie became the Königliche Technische Hochschule zu Berlin in 1879, which was re-founded as the Technische Universität Berlin in 1946.
The founding of the Bauakademie represents the actual founding act of the TU Berlin. It is architecture on which everything is built. Thus, most of the university's current subject areas go back to architecture as the mother of the arts, which includes all the arts and thus also technology and the natural sciences. Architecture is the encyclopaedic art in the true sense of the word. It is often not realised that the exact sciences in particular owe their models for order and system to the notions of clarity in the arts from which they evolve.
Since the founding of the Bauakademie, the Institute of Architecture and its predecessor institutions have undergone many changes under the respective cultural and political influences. These influences include the reorganisation of Prussia after the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 as well as the founding of the second German Empire in 1871, the proclamation of the Republic in 1918, the Gleichschaltung laws in 1933, the new beginning in 1946 under British military administration, the student unrest in 1968, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the decision to make Berlin the capital of a reunified Germany. All this had a manifold influence on the educational models, the staffing of the chairs and the research content of the Institute of Architecture.
The work of the History Workshop focuses on the former students and teachers of the Institute of Architecture and its predecessor institutions. Among many others, these include personalities such as David and Friedrich Gilly, Karl Friedrich Schinkel - first a student, later director of the Bauakademie - but also Hans Poelzig, Heinrich Tessenow, Hans Scharoun, Otto Königsberger, Bernhard Hermkes, Hinrich Baller, Julius Posener and Oswald Mathias Ungers. However, the history workshop will also deal with the less glorious times, such as national conservative chauvinism and imperialism in the Empire, the role of the professorate in World War I as well as the period of the Nazi dictatorship. As we know, Albert Speer was Heinrich Tessenow's assistant at the TU Berlin. This raises many questions, including the history and personal lives of the Jewish students and graduates who were forced out of the university and into emigration, persecuted and murdered from 1933 onwards. An important field of research will also be the more recent history after the re-founding of the TU Berlin in 1946, which includes the student protests and strikes in 1968 or 1988 as well as the ruptures and discontinuities triggered by them. These continue to have a subliminal effect on the Institute of Architecture to this day, but with an energy that is by no means negligible.
Step by step, the History Workshop wants to create a critical picture of the Institute of Architecture's eventful history. The forms of work for this are seminars and teaching research projects, but also Bachelor's and Master's theses. It is the students who do the work of the History Workshop. On the one hand, the History Workshop offers them the opportunity to familiarise themselves with scientific work in the fields of theory, history and building research under guidance. On the other hand, they can expand their creative skills by designing exhibitions, publications and websites.
The results of the history workshop are made available to all students and staff of the Institute of Architecture through various media such as lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions, books and websites. In doing so, we hope to strengthen the degree to which students identify with the academic institution in which they spend crucial years of their personal development. However, the work of the History Workshop is also intended to have an inward effect, to be profile-building and to contribute to the identity of the Institute. It wants to contribute to the Institute of Architecture's greater sovereignty over its own development. This requires overcoming historical indifference, which means as much as emancipating academic teaching and research from the constraints of an increasingly thoroughly economised, instrumental reason.
The Architecture Research Stage (ARS) is an experimental DFG research project in cooperation with TU Berlin and UdK Berlin. The aim of the three-year pilot project is to establish, test and evaluate an open access publication platform for networking the results, data and contexts of collaborative architectural research between academic disciplines, research-oriented teaching and non-academic practice.
Architectural research today presents itself as a heterogeneous field of different and separate actors. Here, individual academic research, research-oriented academic teaching and non-academic practice-oriented research, each with their different forms of mediation, are aimed at experts, students or the interested public. However, the potential of architectural research - as with architectural practice - lies precisely in synthesising knowledge from the different disciplines, from the Humboldtian combination of research and teaching, and from professionally oriented practice. The Architecture Research Stage conceives an overarching model and an actively networking infrastructure for such collaborative architectural research. For the first time, not only results and data, but also contexts of architectural research are generated, networked and made visible on a web-based platform. Not only existing connections are thus revealed, but also possible questions, valuable sources, exciting thematic connections or possible partnerships.
The project is led by Prof. Dr. Jörg Gleiter (TU Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Norbert Palz / Prof. Dr. Susanne Hauser (UdK Berlin) and is being carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and with the participation of cooperation partners from other academic and non-academic fields in Berlin-Brandenburg.
For further information, please contact Dr.-Ing. Michael Dürfeld.
Doctoral Colloquium/ Lunchtime Lecture
Within the framework of the doctoral colloquium and the series "Lunchtime Lectures", lectures are given by speakers who report on the work on their dissertations or research projects.
The doctoral colloquium and research colloquium are open to the public and are aimed at all interested parties. The event consists of lectures and subsequent discussions.
All further information can be found in the respective announcements.