Volume 10, No. 2
September 2006



From Outer Space:
Architectural Theory
beyond the Discipline (Part 2)

Conceptional design
and editing:
  Katharina Fleischmann, Eduard Führ
Organisation:   Katharina Fleischmann
Editorial assistants and layout:
  Heidrun Bastian, Ehrengard Heinzig

Katharina Fleischmann




Art History
Christina Threuter   Metabolism:
Modern Architecture as Image
Wolfgang Sonne   The Birth of Urban Design History
out of the Spirit of Multidisciplinarity
Regina Göckede   Colonial Le Corbusier.
Algiers Projects in Postcolonial Version
Werner Bischoff   "Boundless" Spaces - About the Relation of Architecture and Urban Spaces of Odour
Jürgen Hasse   Der Mensch ist (k)ein Akteur - Zur Überwindung szientistischer Scheuklappen in der Konstruktion eines idealistischen Menschenbildes
Thomas Adam   Nineteenth-Century Housing Reform and Family Structure
in a Transatlantic Perspective
Political Science
Helga Fassbinder   On the Reflexive Planning of Urban Beauty


Art History
___Christina Threuter
Modern Architecture as Image

In this article on three examples of modern architecture for residential houses - the ‘Haus Bloemenwerft’ (1896) by Henry van de Velde, the design for a residential house for Josephine Baker (1927) by Adolf Loos and the residential house ‘E.1027’ (1929) by Eileen Gray – the production and functionality of the image of architecture is analysed.
Starting point for this analysis is the question of power of architectural images and the discourses connected to them. The term ‘image of architecture’ hereby is not referring to the understanding of image as an authoritative sign of significance but it implicates the question of its status in architecture. Connected to this is the postulation for a critical analysis concerning mythic constructions of modern architecture and space, that is to work on strategies of visual representations like they are caused by the perception – contemplation, discourse and writing about architecture – of images produced by architecture. The author especially deals with the questions of imaginations of the body and its sex/gender as an effect of the image as medium.


(Paper in German)

___Wolfgang Sonne
The Birth of Urban Design History
out of the Spirit of Multidisciplinarity

Urban design history did not emerge as a strictly disciplinary project of art history. Even if the first general urban design history was published in 1920 by art historian Albert Erich Brinckmann, a disciple of Heinrich Wölfflin, it took at least as much inspiration from architectural theories as Camillo Sitte's Städtebau (1889). Furthermore, the first general urban design histories had not been published as separate history books, but appeared as substantial chapters in planning literature as in Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago (1909) or Rudolf Eberstadt's Handbuch des Wohnungswesens und der Wohnungsfrage (1909). The analysis of further urban design histories not only reveals that the authors came from such different disciplines as architecture, history, art history, economy, or politics, but also dealt with a variety of disciplines and factors for interpreting the evolution of cities. Despite this broad multidisciplinary approach, these authors never lost their focus: to interpret the urban form.

(Paper in German)

___Regina Göckede
Colonial Le Corbusier.
Algiers Projecte in Postcolonial Version

Among the so called pioneers of the modern movement few figures can claim to have influenced city planning on a truly global scale. There is no doubt about that Le Corbusier was a sole figure concerning the way he managed to place himself as a world architect.
This study focuses on his earliest, largest, and most ambitious projects, ever designed for a non-European urban space. Starting in the early 1930s the Algiers-project kept him busy for nearly twelve years. While no part of his numerous plans has been ever built, mainstream architectural historiography represents Le Corbusier Algerian oeuvre as a phase of searching for new architectural and urban forms beyond the stylistic canon of early continental modernism. Neglecting its specific historical, political and cultural contexts and emphasizing its sculptural-poetic qualities Le Corbusier's Algiers plans are reduced to an experimental turning point for the artist's humanistic practice.
Rejecting this interpretation my study aims to situate Le Corbusier's architectural and urban forms in the history of French colonialism, particularly in the history of French colonial urbanism in Algiers. Drawing upon post-colonial theory with specific reference to recent developments in the field of post-colonial urban studies my reading seeks to demonstrate that Le Corbusier's ordering of Algiers physical environment not only consolidates existing colonial power-relations but also generates modernized spatial technologies of social control. Given the continuing multidirectional dynamic of Le Corbusier's global impact I finally try to challenge the binary between metropole and colony asking for colonial origins in current conflicts over ethnic segregation and social exclusion in European cities.


(Paper in German)

___Werner Bischoff
Frankfurt am Main
"Boundless" Spaces - About the Relation of Architecture and Urban Spaces of Odour

Geographers analyse urban spaces mainly by their visual forms and patterns. With this concentration on the objective character of the environment the sensing subject threatens to be lost out of sight. Despite the historico-cultural founded concentration on the perception of the objective and visual urban spaces are not only visible. Urban spaces are rather present in tactile, auditory, olfactory and gustatory perceptions and sensations and reveal themselves in different atmospheres. Especially the olfactory perception and sensation is quite important for exploring the atmospherical effects of the designed and built environment - not least because urban spaces of odour are already in the focus of marketing strategians conceiving comfortable atmospheres in office and shopping spaces as an instrument for customer loyalty and coworker incentive.ro- und Konsumräumen als ein Instrument zur KundInnenbindung bzw. MitarbeiterInnenmotivation begreifen.

(Paper in German)

___Jürgen Hasse
Frankfurt am Main
Der Mensch ist (k)ein Akteur -
Zur Überwindung szientistischer Scheuklappen in der Konstruktion eines idealistischen Menschenbildes

The article deals with a central concept of theory of acting; this is the idea of people as an only acting human. This is conceptualizing man as a brain-machine. In the focus of phenomenology and philosophy of life this fiction will be criticized as an anthropological reductionism. There is no living life which could be understood as an aseptic realisation of controlled cognitive intentions. To ignore mans feeling and only semiconscious motives makes sense in an ideological and psychological look at science. If mans doing is conceptualized as a clean way from intellectual thinking to practical doing, the scientist himself not will be discussed and criticized in his own no-rational motives to do or not to do anything. The discussion leads to the following question, which is important in the frame of theory of architecture: How is the relationship between doing through acting and through feeling? This question is important for the process of perception as well as the process of production of architecture.

(Paper in German)

___Thomas Adam
Nineteenth-Century Housing Reform
and Family Structure in a Transatlantic Perspective

Guided by the belief that the family is at the very heart of society and that a stabilization of society cannot succeed without a stabilization of its very basis – the family – German and North American philanthropists who engaged in social housing projects dedicated much time to the planning of apartment buildings. They believed that intermixing of different neighbors in an apartment building caused a breakdown of social rules and standards and was to blame for the outbreak of infectious diseases. The open structure of families and flats appeared to them in general, as a threat to the state. By providing a building structure that allowed for the isolation of nuclear families from each other and the outside world, nineteenth-century architects and housing reformers believed that they had achieved a healthy social basis for society. Housing reform thus became societal reform. By making decisions about the architectural structure of apartment buildings, philanthropists and their architects were in a position to define the concept of “family.”


(Paper in English)


Political Science
___Helga Fassbinder
On the Reflexive Planning of Urban Beauty

Central issue of the discussion about the “risk society” and “reflexive planning” is the necessity of a new thinking about cities, insufficiently covered by the term “sustainability”.
The preposition of the essay is: Sustainable planning and building will only then be able to assert themselves when they are associated with a new language of form, which makes the complex content tangible for all engaged in urban affairs: the planners, architects, residents and politicians. A language that, with a new beauty, makes visible which world we move in; what is good and what is bad for the preservation of environmental conditions.
The conception of ‚biotope city’ offers such an inspiring new vision of the city, asking for a fundamental turnaround in thinking: the city is regarded not only as a largely self-regenerating overall system with minimal external effects, but also as a specific form of nature. This concept incorporates also, logically, a new idea of beauty. As this the conception of ‚biotope city’ integrates form and content anew.


(Paper in German)


The editorial staff keeps all rights, including translation and photomechanical reproduction. Selections may be reprinted with reference:
(Wolkenkuckucksheim, Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, Vozdushnyj Zamok >http://www.cloud-cuckoo.net
if the editorial staff is informed.

Link to Part 1 (Issue 1/05)