Volume 8, No. 2 (March 2004)
Edited by:   Claus Dreyer, Eduard Führ, Susanne Hauser
Organisation and Layout:


  Heidrun Bastian, Ehrengard Heinzig



Walter Gropius
1. Ansprache zur Eröffnung der Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm vom 02. Oktober 1955.

Stream mit freundlicher Genehmigung der 'Bauwelt'.

(Download of the Player)

Eduard Führ

'Baukultur' (Architecture and Culture) Questions and Questions Again
Ray Huff Necessity of Architecture
Matthew Hardy   The Programme of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU)
Ulrike Rose
& Ullrich Schwarz
  Moving towards a Federal Foundation for Building Culture
Stephan Willinger   The Building Cultures of the Society – Prerequisites for an Effective Architectural Policy
Christine Edmaier   "...but who can say what beauty is"
Max Bächer Much Ado about Nothing
Hermann Hipp Perspectives of Building Culture for Hamburg
Walter Nägeli
& Gudrun Sack
  Seven Questions
Concerning the Production of Architectural Space
Claus Dreyer Architecture as Everyday- or High-Culture ?
Joachim Ganzert About the Context of Meaning of ‘Culture’ and ‘Building Culture’
Ursula Baus   Two Aspects of Dealing with ‘History’: Commercialization and Ideological Exploitation
Christine Dissmann Building Culture - the Manifestation of Power Structures?
Jörn Köppler Building Culture and Reconciliation
Oxana Makhneva Society in the Art of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux
Uwe Altrock City Building Culture - Trendy Expression or Innovative Programme?
Friedhelm Fischer Building Culture, Urban Design Culture, Planning Culture Dimensions
Ulf Matthiesen Building Culture in Suburbia – Perspectives and Suggestions how to Proceed
Jürgen Hasse   Landscape Culture - Integral Motive of Building, Urban and Living Culture
Katja Pahl
& Silke Voßkötter
  Building Culture as Process
Andrea Haase Culture of Establishing and Using Space
Walter Prigge Atmospheres

List of links on the subject 'Baukultur'
at the website of the "Architecture and Building Culture Initiative" launched by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing


___Eduard Führ
'Baukultur' (Architecture and Culture)
Questions and Questions Again

Paper also in German 


___Ray Huff
Necessity of Architecture

How would the painter or poet express anything other

than his encounter with the world?

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Signs

The lecture will be in two parts, first, an overview of the Design Excellence Program in the US, secondly, a polemic entitled “Necessity of Architecture” illustrated by two recent projects by Huff + Gooden Architects.

The production of architecture can be situated between two (sometimes dialectically opposed) positions. On the one view, architecture is borne of social or economic need, reflective of the values of a cultural or political situation. On the other view, architecture is generated as an ideal of pure conceptualization or with an internal hermetic logic that is already complete but can be programmed or not.
Our work seeks to engage the production of critical architecture while simultaneously employing revolutionary drives and evolutionary movement. At a fundamental level, the necessity of architecture in our work is about experience of architecture to move one intellectually, spatially and spiritually.

Paper in English


___Matthew Hardy
The Programme of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU)


INTBAU is the international sister organisation of The Prince's Foundation, London, and seeks to promote the traditional crafts of building, architecture and urbanism.
In most countries traditional design is suppressed by a dominant culture which seeks to promote Modernism. Traditional cities are threatened by the spread of multinational architectural styles originating in the major economies of the industrialised world. Traditional craftsmanship is endangered by building designs in which construction is reduced to repetitive assembly of industrialised components by unskilled workers. Instead of cultural and contextual sensitivity we see senior Modernist practitioners attempt to create what amounts to globalised or 'branded' architectural styles.
Careful maintenance of traditional buildings is a central strategy for many successful cities and regions distinguishing themselves in the new global economy. Wise city authorities know that traditional buildings help to create an environment that attracts highly mobile skilled labour, and provides flexibility for adaptation and change to accommodate the networks of small inter-related enterprises that characterise successful economies. In less successful regions, traditional building, architecture and urban design skills are urgently needed to repair and maintain historic cities, towns and landscapes. Tradition also offers a means of maintaining the individuality and strength of local economies in the face of economic pressure to lower the cost of production.
Tradition is not a static or fixed idea. Traditions can be modern, and new ones can be invented, as Hobsbawm's seminal 1983 work "The Invention of Tradition" made clear. Traditions enable the definition of cultural difference. Tradition offers individuals an identity and a means of defining their own culture. Traditions are constructed as part of group identity, providing a meaningful point of differentiation for local regions. However, in Modernist-dominated architectural schools, history is taught as dead material not a resource for design.
INTBAU pursues its cause by linking together both interested individuals and existing national organisations, and by a series of activities including conferences, design workshops and outreach.

Paper in English


___Ulrike Rose

___Ullrich Schwarz
Moving towards a Federal Foundation for Building Culture

How did it start? The beginning of the Initiative Baukultur 2000. Persons responsible and previous activities of the Initiative (examples). The idea of the foundation. Why an additional institution? The institutions/initiatives have so far not been able to achieve sufficient results. Chambers and associations have to satisfy the needs of the lobbies, they cannot criticize. Who is behind the idea of the foundation? The four moderators. The founding circle and its composition.
Which tasks does the foundation want to deal with?
(‘Experiment Baukultur’; Competition ‘Bundeshauptstadt Baukultur’; ‘Schwarz-Weiss-Buch’; ‘Netzwerkgespräch’; ‘Qualitätsoffensive Baukultur’; ‘Bericht zur Lage der Baukultur’).
The convention of the building culture. The present and future role of the convention. The First Convent of Building Culture in Bonn in April 2003. The newly elected presidency of the convent.
The financing of the foundation. Who sponsors the building up of the foundation? How big is the required budget? Generation of the foundation’s funds. The 100-Euro-Campaign: procedure and interim result. The speech towards the economy.
Further steps: Report to the Federal Government. Procedures of legislation. Planned formation of the foundation: 2005.

Paper also in German


___Stephan Willinger
The Building Cultures of the Society – Prerequisites for an Effective Architectural Policy


The aim of the speech is to stimulate a cultural theoretical reflected use of the notion ‘building culture’ and to develop potentials for an effective policy from that. Therefore the introduction sketches functional principles of semantic codes (like building culture) in the communication society. It is against this backdrop that the use of the term by the ‘Initiative Architektur und Baukultur’ of the Bundesbauministerium will be described and its effectiveness analyzed. The underlying theory is that the openness of the notion has allowed a penetration into fields whose programs are actually oriented toward other aims. The current challenge is to develop arguments and instruments which are worth discussing for these protagonists.

Paper also in German


___Christine Edmaier
"...but who can say what beauty is"


"Who can say what beauty is" – this was last year’s topic of the seventh Berlin talk of the BDA managing committee.
This formulation aims at reflecting the historic and present role of the BDA in the development of architectural models. As an elitist institution, the BDA is duty-bound to a continuous legitimization of the selection of new members and of its responsibility for the building culture in times of many competing initiatives. The validity of the respective esthetic judgments can be depicted and questioned with the help of examples.
Is a union which is organized in the similar way as a medieval guild (
"The Mastersingers of Nuremberg") able to support or even recognize an esthetic avant-garde? Are there objectivizable criteria for a seal of quality which the membership in the BDA is often considered as? Do we need accepted guidelines or regulations in order to judge architectural quality of buildings?

Paper also in German 


___Max Bächer
Much Ado about Nothing

This contribution criticises fundamentally the official and crypto-official activities around a construction culture in Germany and would like to provoke a rethinking process.

Paper also in German


___Hermann Hipp
Perspectives of Building Culture for Hamburg

Construction culture presents arguments on an architectural and everyday level, but at its core it is a political concept.
This is demonstrated by a referring back to the discussion near the turn of the 19th to the 20th century on a ‘harmonious culture’ in architecture, which was more often than not connected to explicit authoritarian ideas of society.
The cultural quality of realised architecture on the other hand was at that time created as a compromise between the design of the architect, municipal requirements and interventions of the municipal master builder. Especially Hamburg is renowned for such compromises (e. g. the Chile Building). The down to earth Hamburg citizens, oriented on the commonwealth and social welfare, together with their city master builder Fritz Schuhmacher were always more interested in processes, confrontations, and the constant search for new compromises and consensus rather than in a harmonious end result.
Therefore contemporary construction culture can only consist of a system with open rules and as little as possible basic values, which is played pluralistically without the influence of experts or construction culture advisors.

Paper also in German


___Walter Nägeli
___Gudrun Sack
Seven Questions
Concerning the Production of Architectural Space

Paper also in German


___Claus Dreyer
Architecture as Everyday- or High-Culture ?

Ordinary architecture of Middle-Europe is hard to characterize from a philosophical point of view: there are so many different ideas and strategies for the production of ‘Heimat’ for people (Bloch) as there are social groups und geographical regions. The simplifying and uniforming power of building-economy and –industry shall be left out of consideration.
Besides that exists a level of ambitious and exposed building projects, private or public which is international and intercultural orientated, and whose forms and structures seem to speak a common ‘language’. This is guaranteed by the small group of international star-architects who are the most wanted for representative architectural projects: Libeskind, Eisenman, Koolhaas, Nouvel, Ge
If there exists something like a Euro-American architectural high-culture, the question is, what are their characteristics and what do they mean.

Paper also in German


___Joachim Ganzert
About the Context of Meaning of ‘Culture’ and ‘Building Culture’

A Speech for a Perception of Appropriate Dimensions of Complexity

The notions ‘culture’ and ‘building culture’ are in fashion. A summarizing look back on the 20th Century, its zeitgeist and the herein included search for a new world view lead to the question of the envisaged and expected form of such a world view, to the question of the herewith associated (new) definition of a notion of ‘culture’, ‘building culture’, respectively. And here, the search for an ‘entirely new’ seemed/seems to want/have to defeat the search for a ‘new entirety’. This touches upon the relations of the old with the new, as well as the relations of the part with the whole, i.e. especially the relations of man with nature/world/universe and its new definition. And this is a question of balance of power.
A reduction of complexity is the result of the oversizing of ahistorical feelings of being incompar
able and of the idea of being unique, i. e. a partial perspective, a making of the worldly part into an absolute in contrast to the universal entirety. This reduction of complexity favors an inclination towards inadequacy and excessiveness (a typical modern problem) which is asking the question of legitimacy for one or another direction of search and its horizon of perception. Hopefully, the notions ‘culture’ and ‘building culture’ are in fashion because one feels the loss of the parts which are missing to form a real entirety.

Paper in German only


___Ursula Baus
Two Aspects of Dealing with ‘History’: Commercialization and Ideological Exploitation

1. Traditionalisms as commercialization of history.
2. Dehistoricization of buildings and events as a basis of the ideological exploitation of history.
Both hypothesis
are to be shown on the basis of examples and key questions in their relevance for building culture. Based on the state of philosophy of history and the theory of history, it can be shown how alleged knowledge of history is misused in contemporary debates on architecture and urban development - ‘reconstruction’, ‘historic town centers’ and ‘former glory’ are exemplary catchwords. What kind of alternatives are there?

Paper in German only


___Christine Dissmann

It is impossible to analyze building culture in a one-dimensional way. Even the laying down of "compulsory" criteria of quality for building culture cannot deceive the fact that how and what is built is always and foremost a statement of existing cultural and professional territories and therefore prevailing power structures.
With the help of specific examples, the contribution aims at pointing out how building culture in its essence is the result of a conflict between different cultures about the pushing through of their respective interests and views. This interplay of forces is about acquisition and claim of space for oneself and about creation and granting of space for others – in the direct and figurative sense. As a result, subculture climbs into the ring versus high culture, i. e. different national and ethnic cultures as well as different professional cultures (politicians, investors, building-owners, planners, users, historians etc.). If building culture wants to do justice to its great responsibility for the quality of our social culture, it must not be prescribed by dominant social groups as "exhilarating architecture" with pedagogical claims. It should rather be a framework providing set of rules which supply as much limitation as necessary and as much freedom as possibly, and which should also permit a democratic and in the best sense a constructive culture of debate for the arrangement of our living space.

Paper also in German


___Jörn Köppler
Building Culture and Reconciliation

If one described building culture as spatial art to construct reality for a beautiful existence, one could get to the paradoxical conclusion, that we late-modernists don’t need or better: cannot need such kind of art. Let’s assume, culture was – following the Latin origin of the word ‘cultus’ – poetically spoken, the big consolation of division into subject and object, which has been handed down by generations. Let’s further assume, culture, during the Enlightenment, was described as self-knowledge of the intellectual and as non-identity with the physical world. If we base the definition of ‘culture’ on these two assumptions, one could consider architectural culture as the spatial attempt of the mentioned poetry. This would mean that the human being who has got out of world (once described in the sublime) would be offered a perspective of reconciliation by way of cognition of his reason as moral talent. The good realization of the reconciliation in the work is characterized by beauty and in the Kantian meaning of beauty, by an appearance of a possible being in the world. However, today, such human variety of world seems to be lastingly torn from the consciousness by the sound-proofing of the omnipresent technical apparatus which accommodates us instead of architecture accommodating us. But where one is so well looked after by technology and therefore has not got out of world, a reconciliation in terms of culture, building culture, respectively, is not necessary. Leave alone beauty, which, looked at it this way, is an absolute impossible of our times, although it surely is of greatest importance to the inhabitants of architecture. But in order to manage to get hold of the beauty as possibility again, would that not be the actual task of architecture - prior to all debates for a better building culture in terms of forms and methods?


Paper in German only


___Oxana Makhneva
Society in the Art of Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

On an example of treatise ‘Architecture as regarded in relation to art, customs and law’ we come to understand how deep the interrelation is between society and architecture. What must and can the culture of construction do for the culture of living?
It is this question that the French architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux asks himself. In his treatise he discloses an inseparable link between a society and a construction. It is the architect who must become a teacher of life, and his constructions must help fill one with disgust to vice and respect to virtue.
An architect acts as an enlightener speaking in terms of geometrical symbols. Ledoux reminds that most insignificant of constructions is capable of becoming a model of true proportion.  The life of society governs the Architect’s creative urges. For Ledoux, the future is a way to ennoble the society, and the Architect is in the forefront of this process.
Ledoux attaches a great importance to the link between the Architect and the works of his art. But the creator is part of a society. The meaning of Architecture as a chronicle of mankind is described by the Architect as follows: ‘Remember that Achilles would have been unknown without Homer, and the greater part of gods would have been forgotten without the marble allegories gathered by an Architect’. Ledoux underscores the importance of architectural creation, its priority over policy. He studies human weaknesses and proposes to use this knowledge to educate through architecture. Claude-Nicolas Ledoux makes sketches from life of the society, which then become a source of his inspiration. He describes the hardships of a creative architect living in an imperfect social system climate. Ledoux sees in architecture a means to organize the life of a society, to educate people. Even today this treatise dedicated to the Russian Emperor Alexander I remains a source of ideas vitally important for the modern society.

Paper in Russian only


___Uwe Altrock
City Building Culture -
Trendy Expression or Innovative Programme?

The great response that is presently aroused by the debate on the notion ‘City building culture’ on the one hand promises the time and again reminded development of the daily planning routine and on the other hand is confronted with forces of persistence which are inherent to most fields of politics. The talk wants to give a hint for the realistic assessment of the possibilities of a social "City building culture movement" and its effective action.
Therefore the talk analyses the backgrounds of the coming into being and the social environment of such a movement as well as the trend of similar movements in the past. In particular the talk proves that there have been similar debates about
"Diverse use" and "Sustainability" and points out its chronological structure, the positions of the participating and addressed actors, the argumentative foundation of the debate as well as the occurring difficulties. It warns against excessive optimism and tries to elucidate the threats and potentials of the vague formulation of central notions which meanwhile become vogue expressions among experts.

Paper in German only


___Friedhelm Fischer

Building Culture, Urban Design Culture,
Planning Culture

This rather abstract title conceals a case study which illustrates characteristic features of different building and planning cultures in an unprecedented clear way.
It is the example of the Australian capital Canberra. The city’s 100 year old planning history was first marked by authoritarian expert planning, then by neo-liberal planning hostility and is nowadays characterized by a process and participation oriented planning culture.
These are ways of how building and planning politics deal with the city and the inhabitants or one could also say these are methods of planning culture, non-culture respectively which can be found in many cities. The outstanding peculiarity of
Canberra lies in the extraordinary perfectionism with which – at least during the first two of these phases – each followed role model has been implemented.

Paper in English


___Ulf Matthiesen
Berlin / Erkner
Building Culture in Suburbia –
Perspectives and Suggestions how to Proceed

Historically and conceptually, discourse and practices of the building culture are adjusted to the "compact and thoroughly mixed city". The other, more automobile texture of space in suburbia and in processes of suburbanization asks for considerable rearrangements in the building culture. Firstly, the speech examines the "background encoding of compact cities" of building culture (perspective of a flaneur, readability axiom). Secondly, questions of research about building cultural everyday aesthetics of suburban spaces will be complemented by suggestions for a participation of procedure for interweaving surroundings. Finally, the guiding concept "building culture within the scope of a learning city region" will be introduced by determination of its possible protagonist groups and bodies responsible.

Paper in German only


___Jürgen Hasse
Frankfurt am Main
Landscape Culture -
Integral Motive of Building,
Urban and Living Culture

The sciences of space have relations rich of tension with the notion and phenomenon of landscape. Whereas the difference between natural and cultural landscape can be regarded as neutralized – in favour of a general consensual understanding of cultural landscapes – the notion of cultural landscape gives rise to dissents. Since Simmel, landscape (and therefore especially cultural landscape) is considered as intellectual creation and mental construction, enriched with ideologies and politically harnessed or even harnessable. Landscape is considered as a matter of an "inner worldly" soul or as "mood" that one interprets into an environment in a projectionist way and one eventually experiences what has been culturally pre-formatted ever since. "Enlightened" Scientism dissociates itself from notions, concepts and phenomena which have a worldly connotation. Only recently, in the discipline of geography, the suggestion has been made to completely (and eventually) eliminate the notion "landscape" from the scientific repertoire and reserve it exclusively for worldly affairs. Unlike these antiquated scientistic fundamentalisms I would argue for a more intensive reflection of the experience level of landscape already in the moment of planning. The falling back on past phenomenological traditions of thought is meant to help cultivate attention to the Pathische (Straus) in the relation man – environment, in order to intensify the discourse on the level of activity of architecture. This is so to say a motive of a "building culture" for those who are constructing, a motive of a "city culture" for those who are influencing the politico-cultural discourse about the future of the city and eventually a motive of a "living culture" for those who use the city as urban space – or turn their back on it. By way of explanation of the phenomenon landscape, some examples of perception of rural environment will be quoted.

Paper in German only


___Katja Pahl
___Silke Voßkötter

Building Culture as Process

"Building and talking are (...) integral elements of a building culture. Their cooperation for the purpose of the cultural public interest (...) would often succeed in a better way, if the talking would be done before the building more often."

Is building culture a foreign word in the new detached housing estates of our urban outskirts? Or are exactly these housing estates manifestations of the present building culture? - a culture which is characterized by joint achievements of building owners and construction industry and usually manages without the participation of an architect or planner.
Together with Prof. Hahn’s chair of theory of architecture we have tried in a seminar to ask the question of participation in a new way: the seminar focused on integrating - in addition to the user - the architect into the construction team of the detached house. For building owners, who (without the participation of architects) had built a detached house in the Pesterwitz estate on the outskirts of Dresden, our students planned an additional house - but on the basis of long discussions with the building owners about their personal living experiences and desires. In this project, the architect participated with the help of long discussions in the life of the building owner and therefore the building owner participated in the planning process. The results of this cooperation are surprising and encouraging. They would have not been possible without the respective
"participation" of the other. Is this a way toward a better "building culture", a "building culture as process" which orients itself by the user’s concept of life and interpretation of values?
We want to report about this project in a progress report.

Poster in German only


___Andrea Haase
Aachen / Dessau
Culture of Establishing and Using Space

This contribution introduces into the subject of a “culture of establishing and using space” by opening the view onto the various dimensions of the culture of settling in terms of “establishing, working on, caring for, developing and carrying responsibility for throughout the processes of development” (lat. ‘cultivare’).
It raises the question, what building-culture can be today in the meaning of a culture of designing and using spaces relative to the background of industrial history. In order to follow this question, it sketches a framework under the aspect “standards of living – quality of life” which is based on the late industrial awareness about innovation theory (see Mensch, G., 1975), modernization theory (see Berger, J., 1986) and systems theory (see Luhmann, N., 1988). These theories are led together and confronted to the present by the following thesis: “Throughout the processes of enfolding industrial conditions of society and of the economy, the innovative values of products (such as also space) decrease in total; this realizes their conditions for selling, becoming more and more obsolete, on the markets. The differentiation of conditions (such as also of space) goes along with the exhaustion of innovative forces as long and as wide as there is no introduction of new values to be reasoned by comprehensive structural changes of social conditions and demands for new ways of thinking. This new thinking needs comprehensive guidance through regionally effective co-operations of the economy, of society and of policies.”
This thesis is related to “urban-restructuring-East (Stadtumbau-Ost)”, as in East-Germany new demands for a culture of settling have become massively obvious for late industrial development in Europe. Regarding theoretical perspectives relative to needs for action in East-Germany under the aspects of urban development, spatial planning, design and arts as well as sociology provides for positions towards this thesis within the individual fields. A critical-creative criticism
about tendencies of differentiations in society and space is subject of the conclusions: Herewith the perspective is directed on the lost possibilities of the Moderne to redefine values of use and form in terms of their “value for use” contemporarily. On this basis, evolutionary changes are set into relationship to innovations.

Paper also in German


___Walter Prigge

In modification of Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm’s question (How does history get into designing?) – for all elements, be it history, city or "the social", the answer is the same: the elements are always inherent in the designing. But they are not to be extracted by simple critique of ideology of the designing process and its principles and they are not to be criticized as such. ‘The social’ is no independent substance, no sociological item per se that is facing architecture. Architecture is much more independent, by way of its methods it is a socially accepted part of the production of space in which the architectural design is mediated together with social reality by the reference to town images and spatial programs ("atmospheres"). Only this programmatic use of atmospheric images of the town space determines the social dimension of postmodern architecture. Therefore the discussion should first take place within the architectural discipline – for example as inspection of atmospheric design orientations of Postmodernism and Second Modern Age which provided the possibility for the town concepts of urban space to realize themselves within these two epochs.

Paper in German only



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