november 8–9, 2018

On the 8th and 9th of November, 2018 the Institute of Architecture at the TU Berlin will hold the conference THINK. DESIGN. BUILD. 2. TYPE, TYPOLOGY AND TYPOGENESIS IN ARCHITECTURE. This will be the second international conference of the Think. Design. Build series, organized every two years by the Institute of Architecture. The first conference took place in 2016 under the title Think. Design. Build 1 – Architectural Matters.

This year’s conference, Type, Typology, and Typogenesis in Architecture, will address the process of type formation in terms of THEORY (THINK), PROJECT (DESIGN), and PRACTICE (BUILD). The conference will pick up on a complex and current topic. As a result of the introduction of Web 2.0, a differentiation between labour and production worlds, free time, as well as individual patterns of dwelling and partnership can be observed, demanding more than ever the emergence of new typologies in architecture and urban planning.

Against the backdrop of new methods of communication, whose permanent innovation sweeps up all areas of culture and society in its wake, the question of typology returns on a new, conceptual level. The debates are long beyond the point at which in the beginning of the twenty-first century mass customization was used to stigmatize typology as an overcome old-fashioned, or even reactionary standpoint (Carpo, Lynn, Migayrou). Yet, despite all of the prophecies, the opposite happened. The all-pervasive mediatization of everyday life, the densification of cities, and the need to build within existing built environments, all lead to a greater differentiation of the living environment and, as a result, to a PROCESS OF TYPE-FORMATION that is far from complete.

The conference is based on an understanding of typology that on the one hand defines typology as the science of the specific orders, classifications, uses, and forms of building types, while on the other hand, it understands typology much more significantly as the process of type formation or TYPOGENESIS. While until recently type formation was considered slow and evolutionary, today the creative friction between existing buildings and new usage requirements changed the process of typogenesis. Today, typogenesis no longer seems to be an evolutionary optimization process, but is a disruptive-revolutionary process of reinterpretation of the existing. In contrast to the approaches of Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Aldo Rossi and Christopher Alexander, the term typology has its own blurriness today, one in which the specifics of time is revealed.

Typology is a deeply modern concern, whose beginnings go back far beyond the 18th century, and thus, the Age of Enlightenment and Rationality (Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu), into the Renaissance. The focus on industrialization and mass society, on Werkbund (Muthesius, van de Velde, Behrens) and Bauhaus (Gropius, Meyer), obscures the fact that with the emergence of an urban morphology (palazzo, central-plan building, grid), typology had its beginning in the Renaissance. This means that typology is as much a project of Renaissance humanism as one of the „type-creating machine“ (Gropius).

This is the conceptual framework of the conference Think. Design. Build. 2. Type, Typology and Typogenesis in Architecture. The two poles of a humanistic-anthropological and a technical-functionalistic approach reveal the historical depth and theoretical breadth of the subject. Hence, the permanently changing working environments of Start-Ups challenge the classical concepts of classification and systems of orders (the Black Forest House, the Access Balcony Houses, The Frankfurter Kitchen) and, with them, the very foundations of architecture. To what extent, by contrast, is the blurring of the term becoming an INCENTIVE FOR CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION? Is it still true that not the types, but at best, the uses change (Aldo Rossi)? Durand’s system of typological modularity in the 19th century was suitable for the new construction tasks of industrialization, the emerging metropolises, and the individualization of bourgeois living, but how does today’s concept of type, prototype, archetype, pattern, and model change under the conditions of Building Information Modelling (BIM), 3D-printing, 3D-sculpting, 3D-milling, 3D-designing, and ever more complex building regulations? How does DESIGN, its METHODS, its MATERIALITY and its THEORETICAL SUBSTRUCTURE change – and what remains the same?

On the 8th and 9th of November, the Think.Design.Build 2 – Type, Typology and Typogenesis in Architecture conference will invite 20 internationally renowned architects, theoreticians and historians to participate in the three panels “Think2, “Design” and “Build” and to discuss TRANSFORMATIONS IN THEORY AND PRACTICE. The conference will be held in close cooperation with the newly opened international and English language Master’s degree program M-ARCH-T, which deals with topical issues of typology. To promote research in architecture, a DOCTORAL COLLOQUIUM will be part of the conference. To this end, doctoral candidates are invited to present and discuss their research papers in front of an international audience via a call for papers.


dot  The complete exposé can be downloaded here.