GET REAL! ARCHITECTURAL REALITIES
What reality does architecture reflect? Can architecture only represent social contexts and concepts, or does it produce its own reality and contexts? This issue of ARCH+ takes Bungalow Germania—Alex Lehnerer and Savvas Ciriacidis’s partial replica of the Chancellor’s Bungalow in the German Pavilion at the 2014 Architecture Biennale in Venice—as a starting point, and approaches these questions from two distinct angles.
The first section of the issue examines the specific circumstances in which national, representational architectures emerged in West Germany and then in reunified Germany. How did architectures of power function from the end of World War II until reunification? How did the representational politics of the “Bonn Republic” differ from those of the “Berlin Republic”? This section questions the belief, prevalent during the postwar period, that architectural transparency is equivalent to democratic architecture.
The second part of the issue leaves behind the discussion of architecture’s representational concepts and its ideological affiliations. Rather, this section of the issue focuses on the reality and the effects of architecture, and inquires into the political, social, and economic realities that precede architecture. Can architecture only be a positive, “world-creating art,” or can it adopt a critical stance toward the world? This question is closely linked to the concept of realism in architecture. In this issue, a number of authors weigh in on this debate and elucidate its connections to a range of philosophical movements, including New Realism, Speculative Realism, and New Materialism—object-oriented theories that have the potential to infuse architecture with new energy.
Considered from this “realist” perspective, Alex Lehnerer and Savvas Ciriacidis’s installation in the German Pavilion can be understood as an attempt to let the “thing-itself” speak. Their partial replica of the Chancellor's Bungalow at a 1:1 scale required a significant amount of materials, a fact that points to the curators’ faith in the performativity of material itself, which does not primarily represent an ideal, but rather generates its own reality and summons us to action.
With essays by Olaf Asendorf, Robert Burghardt, Savvas Ciriacidis, Carola Ebert, Maurizio Ferraris, Ole W. Fischer, Kenneth Frampton, Lars Frers, Thilo Hilpert, Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm, Christa Kamleithner, Heinrich Klotz, Alex Lehnerer, Joaquín Medina Warmburg, Andreas Rumpfhuber, Martino Stierli, Stephan Trüby, Georg Vrachliotis, and Karin Wilhelm.
ARCH+ Verlag GmbH, Aachen 2014
Edited by: ARCH+ with Alex Lehnerer and Savvas Ciriacidis
196 pages, numerous illustrations
23,5 x 29,7 cm, Broschur, € 24,-
ISBN 978-3-931435-29-5 (German / English)