Socio-cultural architecture

This research sector of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning addresses the interplay of social and spatial structures, with a focus on microstructures in terms of the actual architectural spatial and interior design of individual objects and building ensembles.

The built environment reflects a society’s social, political, economic and technical capacities, but it influences them likewise. The complex interdependencies between spatial and social structures within buildings or architectural structures are examined using various methods: philosophical analyses, investigations based on the history of building and art, sociological and anthropological methods. Three key focuses can at present be identified within this research sector:

  1. Architecture as performative instrument: architectural examples are investigated from a historical perspective and also from that of gender studies: separation techniques, mechanisms of inclusion, of surveillance and monitoring, of hierarchisation and control, which are designed to organise the behaviour of the users by generating private and public spheres, subjectivities, sex relations, social values and roles.
  2. Architectural analysis based on the philosophy of technology: history impressively demonstrates how technical inventions – especially the development of new materials, constructions, etc. – has led to radical changes in architecture. Today, intelligent materials, media technologies and digital design tools offer the potential for fundamental new developments. The influence of new technologies on architecture involves complex social constructions that are analysed from a point of view based on the philosophy of technology.
  3. Discursive analyses of architecture relating to culture: the specific contribution of architects to the built environment cannot be found solely in a technical discipline, but has to be viewed in the context of the socio-cultural setting. (Understanding of a cultural phenomenon, with influencing factors of an economic, political, technical, psychological and artistic nature) In relation to Bourdieu’s definition of cultural fields, architecture is seen per se with its own values and legitimations. Investigation of the interdependence between social and spatial structures by means of actual architectural case studies must of necessity be interdisciplinary.