CONSTRUCTING KNOWLEDGE / DAS WISSEN DER ARCHITEKTUR
CONFERENCE: 6 and 7 November 2009 in Aachen, Germany
CALL FOR PAPERS (ABSTRACTS) CLOSES: 20 July 2009
ORGANIZERS: Department of Architecture Theory, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE: See conference sessions below.
AUDIENCE: Professionals and academics of architecture, planning, design as well as the social sciences and humanities debating the question of architectural knowledge.
November 2009 will mark the launch of CANDIDE. Journal for Architectural Knowledge, a new peer-reviewed German-English language journal published by the Department of Architecture Theory, Faculty of Architecture at RWTH Aachen University. Not unlike Voltaire’s fictional character Candide, who travelled the eighteenth-century world on an eager but often disappointed search for knowledge, the journal’s editors have embarked on a twenty-first century search, in their case, of architectural knowledge. To celebrate the first issue of CANDIDE, the editors are organizing a two-day, international conference.
The conference, like the journal, has two main goals:
First, CONSTRUCTING KNOWLEDGE / DAS WISSEN DER ARCHITEKTUR will discuss the types of knowledge specific to architecture. What is architectural knowledge? How is it generated or how is it found, evaluated and passed on? What is the relationship between implicit (and not easily articulated) and explicit (and readily quantifiable) knowledge? An underlying goal is to address a pressing issue in architecture academia today: if research is the process by which new knowledge is generated, what methods are acceptable? Need they be “scientific” or might fictional practices be just as meaningful to architecture?
Second, the conference will test the hypothesis that different formats are necessary to access and communicate the spectrum of knowledge being generated in architecture. Accordingly, CONSTRUCTING KNOWLEDGE / DAS WISSEN DER ARCHITEKTUR seeks examples of ways to generate and write about, represent and communicate architectural knowledge. Besides historic forms of treatises and handbooks, various forms of print- and online media, frequently making use of fictional genres, are staking out a claim to generating architectural knowledge.
CONSTRUCTING KNOWLEDGE / DAS WISSEN DER ARCHITEKTUR aims to bridge the divide between the observation-based knowledge of architecture generated in the social sciences, and the practice-based knowledge specific to the disciplines of architecture and planning. Therefore, contributions from practitioners, academics and researchers of architecture, urban design and planning, the social sciences and humanities are all equally welcome.
CONFERENCE SESSIONS AND SCIENTIFIC CHAIRS
1 What is architectural knowledge?
Session Chair: Sophie Houdart
Research Scholar in Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris / France
Architectural knowledge: What is it? How is it obtained, how does it get passed on? What support networks does it depend on? What are the roles of experimentation, validation and proof in the field of architecture? Where do the social sciences connect to architecture? What are the implications of the term knowledge when we talk about design research and academic credibility on the one hand, efficiency and creativity in practice on the other? How can the concept of knowledge provide a point of reference in a world flooded by images, data, and information?
2 Do we search for or do we generate architectural knowledge?
Session Chair: Ingeborg Rocker
Assistant Professor of Architecture, Harvard GSD, Cambridge / USA
Research: What is it we want to know and how do we go about it? Who determines what is worth knowing? What methods do we need to find or produce this knowledge? What role do the so-called new media play in this process? In the sciences, usually it is novelty which makes knowledge worth publishing. In architecture, concepts may be novel, but the knowledge associated with them often is not, making it hard to work scientifically within the design realm. Reflecting on the term “novel” may well be central here.
3 Why should architects write when what they do best is design?
Session Chair: Pier Vittorio Aureli
Head of the "The City as a Project" PhD Program, Berlage Institute, Rotterdam / NL
The Project: If an architectural design is a solution to a specific problem, how can it simultaneously be the basis for broader, theoretical reflection? Can knowledge generated in one situation be transferred to another? What are the findings can be taken away after years of work, what can be generalized and applied to future projects? What conceptual, verbal and visual tools are necessary to do so? Which exemplary forms of a “theoretical project” are there? This session is specifically interested in including practicing architects.
4 Architecture, Fiction and other Stories
Session Chair: Jane Rendell
Professor in Architecture and Art, Director of Architectural Research, University College London (UCL) / The Bartlett, London / UK
Stories. Cartoons. Fairy Tales. Satire: This session will explore the relationship between architectural knowledge and fiction. Why can fictional and other narrative-based approaches often tell us more about architecture than established forms of criticism, theory or history? Is it valid to posit that architectural projects too, in describing imaginary spaces, are forms of fiction? This session is specifically interested in including authors of fiction.
Conference organizers: Department of Architecture Theory, RWTH Aachen,
Axel Sowa, Susanne Schindler, Ariane Wilson
Conference languages: German and English. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.
Proceedings: To be published in forthcoming issues of Candide in 2010.
Submissions: Proposals should relate to the questions outlined above.
Proposals will be reviewed anonymously by the session chairs and members of the Candide Advisory Board (see theorie.arch.rwth-aachen.de for further information).
The organizers aim to select four 20-minute contributions per session. Proposal abstracts should be no longer than 500 words. Please add a short CV of the author(s). Send both as Word files, named AUTHORNAME_ABSTRACT.doc and AUTHORNAME_CV.doc, to firstname.lastname@example.org
23 May 2009 Call for Papers issued
20 July 2009 Abstracts due
3 August 2009 Authors informed of results
5 October 2009 Completed papers due
6-7 November 2009 Conference in Aachen, Germany
For further Information on the conference and on CANDIDE. Journal for Architectural Knowledge, please visit theorie.arch.rwth-aachen.de
For any questions, email Susanne Schindler, email@example.com
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