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Contemplating Environments

Organisational Units
Art and Architecture
Location Description
Location Venue (1)
Main Building
Location Address (1)
Schillerplatz 3
Location ZIP and/or City (1)
1010 Vienna

Lecture by Hannes Stiefel within the framework of the lecture series "Ten informants – Another View on Ecology, Sustainability and Cultural Heritage" at the Institute for Art and Architecture 2013/2014.

The speakers of this lecture series, the Ten Informants, have offered us a wide variety of thoughts regarding the topics Ecology, Sustainability and Cultural Heritage. Particular views on correlations between our societies and a multitude of their spatial, temporal and societal contexts were, after all, asking about the environmental function of architecture. This lecture will reflect aspects of the previously provided considerations. It will further question actual and potential mediating roles of architecture as part of this interplay. And it shall demonstrate that the way of thinking about environments can be developed and advanced through an observational design practice.

Hannes Stiefel is an architect based in Vienna. He studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and at SCI-Arc, Los Angeles. His work and the work of his office Stiefel & Company Architects (formerly known as Stiefel Kramer Architecture / since 2011 with Patrick Krähenbühl) was exhibited i.a. at the Venice Biennale (2006/2010) and in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna (Faux Terrains, 2012). He has received i.a. the Austrian Outstanding Artist Award for Experimental Architecture (1995), the Promoting Award of the City of Vienna (2007) and the Award of the province of Tyrol for Neues Bauen ("Landespreis", 2012) for Landhausplatz, a major public space in the center of Innsbruck, realized in collaboration with LAAC Architects. Stiefel and Company's most recent success is the first price in the competition for Bahnhofplatz Moedling, another urban topography including a bus terminal and a six-story office building. Stiefel taught architectural design and theory at Universities in Austria (among others University of Applied Arts Vienna, 2004-2008), in Switzerland, in North America and in the Middle East. He held the position of the McHale Fellow 2009/10 at the University at Buffalo, NY and was Azrieli Visiting Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada in 2010. Hannes Stiefel is professor for architecture and head of the platform ESC (Ecology, Sustainability, Cultural Heritage) at the Institute for Art and Architecture (IKA) of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Ten informants - Another View on Ecology, Sustainability and Cultural Heritage

Ecology, Sustainability and Cultural Heritage (ESC) in interaction create a frame of reference in which architectural culture is dynamically embedded: Ecology is the correlation of all organisms and their environments while Sustainability and Cultural Heritage guarantee the continuous evolution of diverse value systems. Thus the central themes of the Institute of Art and Architecture's platform ESC also determine the coordinates of architectural design and its genealogy.

Our 2013/2014 lecture series explores the potentialities of these themes regarding architecture and its wide range of socio-cultural, political and economical impacts on and within society - seen from the particular perspective of a School of Architecture as part of an Academy of Fine Arts. This includes a critical questioning of the inflationary use of these keywords and their often limited interpretation in regard of technological means (ecology and sustainability) or strictly conservational intentions (cultural heritage), as well as the attempt for a new or different positioning of these terms within the architectural discourse.

Ten Informants from various disciplines (History of Science and Ecology, Synthetic Biology, Visual Arts, Ecological Urbanism, Climate Engineering and Architecture and Landscape Construction) will present broader or other views on these ubiquitous topics Ecology, Sustainability and/or Cultural Heritage - terms that seem to be familiar for far too long. The diversity of positions and opposing ideas reference the complexity of the themes that are up for discussion here. Questions shall be provoked if, how and why the presented positions and methodologies can or shall be translated into an appropriate reflecting architectural practice - toward an architecture that mirrors its complex relation with nature and the built environment as well as its not-static position within (contemporary) history. (Hannes Stiefel)

Upcoming Lectures:
03/03/14 Franz Oswald
24/03/14 Rachel Armstrong
19/05/14 Baerbel Mueller & Faustin Linyekula
Mark Smout / Laura Allen

Lectures winter term 2013/ 2014
28/10/13 Sanford Kwinter
04/11/13 Vittorio Garatti
18/11/13 Volker Giencke
02/12/13 Matthias Schuler
20/01/14 Toshiko Mori

28/10/13 Sanford Kwinter

04/11/13 Vittorio Garatti
Art Schools for the third world, La Habana - Cuba 50 year later

Ballet School, 1964 © Vittorio Garatti

The complex of the National Schools of Art in Habana rises in the old Country Club. The main theme was to create a center to join the different cultures of the Third World countries, able to host students from Latin America, Asia and Africa. The goal was to develop integration between the various artistic disciplines with a clear articulation of integrated spaces in nature. The architecture is self-generated, result of historical, environmental, technical, economic and cultural analysis. All these considerations highlight the strong points, carriers and potential. The definition of the forms comes as late as possible, gradually materializing and modifying whenever entering new input, new feedback, whenever you draws from the "museum of memory". The result is the genesis of a unique language, organic. An unrecognizable product, not to be read because it is self generated, a new language of whom the author himself is surprised. Style do not exist.

Vittorio Garatti was born in Milan on April 6th in 1927. After his graduation in Architecture (1957) he moved to Venezuela and then to Cuba in 1961. Here he realized the School of Ballet and the School of Music, part of the complex of the National Schools of Art in Habana, the Technical School for Agricolture "André Voisin" in Guines and, with the Architect Sergio Baroni, the Cuba Pavilion for the World Expo in Montreal, Quebec (1967). He came back to Italy in 1974 where he is still working and collaborating with Architect Mariantonietta Canepa.

18/11/13 Volker Giencke
Nichts hält ewig | Leidenschaft und hyperästhetische Idiosynkrasie in der Architektur

Volker Giencke
Geb.1947 in Wolfsberg /Kärnten.
Studium der Architektur und Philosophie in Graz. Zusammenarbeit mit Merete Mattern und Günther Domenig. Josef-Frank-Preis, Shinkenshiku Preisträger, Friedrich-Zotter-Preis, Dedalo-Minosse-Preis, Fischer von Erlach - Preis. Davenportprofessor in Yale, Gastprofessor an der Ecole Polytechnique Nancy, External Examiner an der Bartlett UCL. Falling backwards in an alpine meadow… Prof. für Hochbau, Entwerfen und experimentelle Architektur an der Universität Innsbruck. Vorstand des ./studio3. Architekturbüros in Graz und in Riga.

02/12/13 Matthias Schuler
Thermodynamische Identität - Konzepte für Gebäude und Städte

Zollverein School, Essen, von SANAA, Tokyo, Foto © Anja Thierfelder, Stuttgart

Als KlimaIngenieure beginnen wir jedes Projekt mit der Analyse der lokalen thermodynamischen Gegebenheiten - Makro- und Mikroklima, Nachbarschaft, Baugrund, Besonderheiten - des Standortes. Die Bestimmung und Analyse der Standortcharakteristika ist eine Vorbedingung für alle nachfolgenden Entscheidungen. Unsere Standortanalyse endet jedoch nicht her, sondern versucht auch den "Genius Loci" zu ergründen. Welche Potentiale besitzt das Grundstück und seine Nachbarschaft? Wie können diese in der kreativsten und effektivsten Weise zum Vorteil des Projektes genutzt werden? Welche besonderen Ansätze lassen sich daraus ableiten? Welche Eingriffe ziehen welche Konsequenzen nach sich?

Dies sich hieraus ableitbare thermodynamische Identität - wie im Beispiel der Zollverein School in Essen das Grubenwasser aus der noch zugänglichen Kohlemine - kann einmalige ganz ortsbezogene Lösungen empfehlen, die im Planungsteam mit den Architekten zu einem Gesamtkonzept vertieft werden.

Ab 1979 Maschinenbaustudium an der Universität Stuttgart mit Schwerpunkt Technologien zur rationellen Energienutzung, 1987-1992 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Thermodynamik und Wärmetechnik, 1992 Gründung und Geschäftsführer Firma Transsolar, Stuttgart, Lehrtätigkeiten an der Fachhochschule Biberach und Universität Stuttgart, seit 2001 Gastprofessor und seit 2008 Professor für Environmental Technologies in der Architektur Fakultät, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Transsolar arbeitet heute an den Standorten Stuttgart, München, Paris und New York mit 50 Mitarbeitern in internationalen Projekten mit Architekten wie Frank Gehry, Peter Zumthor, Jean Nouvel, SANAA, Steven Holl, Behnisch Architekten, Sauerbruch Hutton und Renzo Piano, aber auch jungen unbekannten Architekturbüros zusammen.

20/01/14 Toshiko Mori


Cohesive Dialogue: History, Technology, Society and Culture
In civil society, architects bring cohesion and develop a holistic balance of technology, science, history, culture and society. Architecture presents a legible and understandable structure to offer different models for life to propose approaches to environmental sensibility.
Instead of treating complex agendas as sound bites, or sweeping them under the rhetorical rug of ecology and sustainability, I seek to articulate questions and propose that these agendas are nuanced, woven and interconnected.

# 7 Subway line for the Hudson Park and Boulevard in NYC.

Toshiko Mori is the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture, principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, founder of VisionArc, a think-tank promoting global dialogue for a sustainable future and one of the founders of Paracoustica, a non-profit to promote music in underserved communities. Her firm's recent work includes the Cambridge Headquarters for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, the School of Environmental Science for Brown University, and canopies for the new

Her recent publications include her essay Innovation and Judgment in Architecture is Life, the Aga Khan Architecture Award 2013 publication, where she was on the jury of its 12th cycle, Cloudline: Architecture/Art/Site, and her article Design and Innovation: Catalysts for Change, published on the World Economic Forum Blog in 2012. She is also one of the 2013 editors of PLAN Magazine where her editorial Constellation of Architecture Practice was published in the October 2013 issue. Her article Innovation and Cities was published in the December issue of A+U Magazine. She is also the Head of the North American Regional Jury for the 2014 Holcim Awards.

She has most recently delivered lectures at The University of Pennsylvania, Aalto University and Kiasma Museum in Finland, and the Kyoto Institute of Technology..

She is an advisor to A+U Magazine, and is a Board member of Architecture for Humanity. She is a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Design and organized the conference on Innovation of Cities; designs for cities and lifestyle which took place on October 17th in Tokyo.

03/03/14 Franz Oswald
Das Recht auf Stadt | Schlüsselgeschehen im Stadtlabor Buranest, Äthiopien

"Warum sollte man sich daher nicht auf die Stadt anstelle der Fabrik als wichtigsten Ort der Mehrwertproduktion konzentrieren?" - David Harvey

Beim Stadtlabor Buranest, Äthiopien, handelt sich um einen Versuch, die Voraussetzungen für die städtisch kooperative Mehrwertproduktion auf Basis von Landwirtschaft zu schaffen, anstatt in gewohnter und individueller Subsistenzwirtschaft zu verharren. Der Versuch wird in direkter Zusammenarbeit mit der lokalen Bevölkerung ausgeführt. Er dient als Erfahrungshintergrund und Grundlage für die Realisierung einer Vielzahl weiterer Landstädte in der Region Amhara.

Der gegenwärtig vor Ort laufende Versuch ist explizit die Weiterführung eines bereits vor knapp zwei Jahrzehnten in Äthiopien initiierten, aber stillen Transformationsprozesses. Er verändert den Alltag tradierter, auf Familienhaushalte gestützter Bauernkultur zu modernen, kommunal städtischem Zusammenleben.

Die Transformation bringt eine Reihe von Schlüsselgeschehen hervor, die im Vortrag identifiziert und kurz diskutiert werden. Vor diesem Hintergrund ergeben sich zum Rahmenthema der Vortragsreihe ungewohnte, eventuell neue Perspektiven zum postulierten 'anderen Blick' auf Nachhaltigkeit, Ökologie und kulturelles Erbe. Die Lessons learned aus dem Stadtlabor Buranest, Äthiopien, lassen sich zu sechs Thesen zum Recht auf Stadt zusammenfassen. Am Ende werden sie als ein vorläufiges Fazit vorgeschlagen und zur Diskussion gestellt.

Franz Oswald, Professor emeritus für Architektur und Städtebau der ETH Zürich; Programm Leader in Singapore, ETHZ Future City Laboratory; Experte für Curriculum Reform, Addis Ababa University, Äthiopien; Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Technion, Haifa; Gastprofessuren in USA und Europa. Seit 1974 eigenes Büro für Architektur und Stadtforschung (AUS) in Bern. Projekte, Bauten und Städtebauliche Gutachten im In- und Ausland, hauptsächlich für Wohnungs- und Siedlungsbau; diverse Auszeichnungen. Wettbewerbsjuror im In- und Ausland, Mitglied akademischer Kommissionen, wissenschaftlicher Beiräte und der Eidgenössischen Forschungskommission Wohnungswesen. Vorsteher des D-ARCH und ORL (Institut für Orts-, Regional- und Landesplanung) ETH Zürich. Präsident-SCUPAD (Salzburg Congress for Urban Planning and Development); Gründungspräsident von NESTown Group, Bern.
Publikationen über Architektur, Lehre im Entwerfen und Städtebau, z.B.: Franz Oswald und Peter Baccini: Netzstadt: Einführung zum Stadtentwerfen , 2003; Franz Oswald und Nicola Schüller (Hrsg.): Neue Urbanität - das Verschmelzen von Stadt und Landschaft, 2003; Peter Baccini und Franz Oswald (Hrsg.): Netzstadt: Transdisziplinäre Methoden zum Umbau urbaner Systeme, 1998.


24/03/14 Rachel Armstrong
Icological Cities

My research proposes it is possible to directly work with matter using a different kind of technological platform than machines. I will introduce these as "assemblage" technologies and describe how they apply "lifelike" strategies to address design challenges - by performing some of the functions of living systems without the full status of being truly "alive" - and whose activities can be shaped by the techniques of natural computing - which is a term that refers to an overlapping group of scientific research practices that share Alan Turing's interest in the computational powers of Nature. I will also develop the idea that an alternative production platform may provide architects with the opportunity to develop new concepts of sustainability that are not bound by the logic of industrialization but are life-promoting, stochastic, may be shaped using existing techniques in agriculture and gardening and as such, are also directly compatible with Nature. Indeed, the outputs of this new production platform are post-natural or, "icological fabrics" - that interweave nature, technology and culture - and may form the building blocks of 21st century cities that can be combined in ways that are as rich and diverse in terms of their environmental performance as life itself.

Rachel Armstrong is a Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) specializing in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. She is also a 2010 Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Center for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called "living architecture," which suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She collaboratively works across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach.

Rachel has been frequently recognised as being a pioneer. She has recently been added to the 2014 Citizens of the Next Century List, by Future-ish, listed as one of the Wired 2013 Smart List, as one of the 2013 ICON 50 and one of the ten people in the UK that may shape the UKís recovery by Director Magazine in 2012. In the same year she was nominated as one of the most inspiring top nine women by Chick Chip magazine and as one of the BBC Focus Magazineís August 2011 edition's "ideas that could change the world".


Acupuncturing Kisangani
Baerbel Mueller and Faustin Linyekula

Since 2008, architect Baerbel Mueller and artist Faustin Linyekula have been collaborating on the conception and and creation of decentralized spaces for art and urban culture dispersed throughout the city of Kisangani, located in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Spatial strategies and physical interventions have been conceptualized, designed, and partially realized for Studios Kabako, Linyekula's renowned dance/theatre studio and long-term initiative that is promoting artistic and cultural activities in Kisangani. What does it mean to produce art and to generate knowledge from a specific territory?Which parameters need to be considered in order to generate responsive spatial strategies or architecture that can sustain (a network of) new social and artistic spaces? And what do these structures need to look like in order to blur the boundaries between the spatial frame, art, and the everyday? The talk illustrates and questions the ongoing process leading up to decisions on how to contextualize, program, and spatially define Studios Kabakos' decentralized hubs.

Baerbel Mueller is an architect and the founder of nav_s baerbel mueller (navigations in the field of architecture and urban research within diverse cultural contexts), which has focused on projects in Ghana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2002. She studied architecture at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Germany, and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where she graduated with honours in 2002. She received several scholarships and awards, such as the Tische scholarship and the Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky project grant. Baerbel Mueller is an assistant professor at the Institute of Architecture (IoA) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and has been professor at the New Design University in Sankt Pölten, Austria from 2013 to 2014. Between 2002 and 2011, she taught at the studio of Wolf Prix, directing student realization projects and interdisciplinary courses. Since October 2011, she has been the head of the IoA lab [applied] Foreign Affairs, which investigates spatial and cultural phenomena in rural and urban sub-Saharan Africa through research-based workshops and field trips.

Dancer and choreographer, Faustin Linyekula lives and works in Kisangani, located in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After studying literature and drama in Kisangani, he moved to Nairobi in 1993, and set up Kenya's first contemporary dance company, the Gàara Company, in 1997 with Opiyo Okach. Back in the DR Congo, he created a space dedicated to dance and visual theatre in June 2001 in Kinshasa, providing training programmes, as well as supporting research and creation: the Studios Kabako. Memory, forgetting, and the suppression of memory: in his works, Faustin addresses the legacy of decades of war, terror, fear, and the collapse of the economy for himself, his family, and his friends. Faustin has created twelve pieces with the Studios Kabako. Recent pieces includes his first Solo Le Cargo (2011) and Drums and Digging (2013). Other collaborations include the staging of Racine's Bérénice for the Comédie française (2009), Sans-titre, a duet with Raimund Hoghe (2009) and La Création du Monde 1923-2012 for the Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy (2012).In 2007, Faustin received the Principal Award of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development. He is an associate artist to the KVS Theater in Brussels and is a founding member of the Akademie der Kunste der Welt in Cologne. Since 2007, Studio Kabako's activities have resettled in Kisangani, and have extended to other artistic fields, including music and cinema/video.


02.06.2014 Mark Smout
British Exploratory Land Archive

Smout Allen, working with Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG), were one of 10 teams selected to contribute research and exhibition material for the Venice Takeaway show in the British Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, 2012 ( The project applies research techniques derived from the Centre for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI) in Los Angeles to develop an architectural analysis, documentation and curation of British land use. The Venice exhibit was the first iteration of an ongoing research project to establish BELA as a UCL resource. BELA focuses on architectural field study and instrument design as a kind of expeditionary archival process, documenting unusual and familiar, but overlooked, UK landscapes to provide a robust interpretive framework through which to understand and appreciate exceptional cases of land use.

Mark Smout is a Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where he is the Coordinator of the MArch Thesis programme and runs MArch U11 with Laura Allen. His Design Research Practice, Smout Allen undertakes work proposing that the built environment can develop a reading of and synergy with its surroundings informed by understanding the complex interaction of living and artificial systems, environmental processes and emerging technologies. Smout Allen have produced award winning designs for the East Anglian landscape, published 'Augmented Landscapes' issue 28 of the seminal Pamphlet Architecture series and produced the centre piece installation for the Landscape Futures exhibition in the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. They have won the prestigious Royal Academy Award for Architecture and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2012. Their most recent work, commissioned by the Mayor of London as part of the 2012 Olympic festival, was a large binary calculator powered by marbles that made tea for passers-by.

Laura Allen is a Senior Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she is Director of Special Projects and has been teaching Architecture in undergraduate and post graduate design studios since 1994, including leading MArch Architecture Unit 11 with Mark Smout. Her Design Research Practice, Smout Allen, scrutinises and interprets the fluxing urban and rural landscape and its reaction and adaptation to natural environmental events and the 'artificial' influence of man. It undertakes a design-based approach to architecture, landscape and climate change via political, technological and artistic disciplines on the basis of what architecture can do with them and for them. Themes and pedagogy developed via the Bartlett teaching programmes are explored via international workshops with very disparate student groups and using unfamiliar and sometimes 'live' sites. Recent workshops have been in Oslo, Australia and Canada.