History/Theory

If there is no theoretical framework, no grand narrative, no normative system of values that offers architects orientation today as there might have been fifty years ago, there is a chance to learn from the mistakes of the past, map out new horizons, and work towards more inclusive, global futures. For we should not take for granted the ways in which architecture has been, is, and can be brought into history. It is essential to recognize the fact that the canon of architectural knowledge, which is still largely treated as the basis of the discipline and its pedagogy, is founded upon inherited practices that all too often contradict the very principles put forward by the institutions themselves. Knowledge is produced through a plurality of forms and in a multitude of sites, and not just those sanctioned by privileged traditions.

The task that stands before us today very well might require unlearning what we know and treat to be history and theory in the first place. We need to rethink how it is formed, who it is for, what role it plays, and how it relates to architectural praxis and its cultural field more widely. It is not that architecture is currently in an a-theoretical or a-historical phase, but that it remains frustratingly irrelevant. It has become an academic discipline shaped by academic carriers for academics and not by or for architecture and its challenges. This is why history and theory has never been needed more than it is today, and in its most radical and nuanced forms.

Editors
Nick Axel
Maarten Delbeke
Ita Heinze-Greenberg
Nikolaus Hirsch
Laurent Stalder
Philip Ursprung
Anton Vidokle

History/Theory is a collaboration between the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zürich and e-flux Architecture.

1–10
Laurent Stalder
An Elementary Proposition
Peter Eisenman, Kurt W. Forster, Jacques Herzog, and Philip Ursprung
The End of Theory? A Conversation
Andreas Beyer
When Does History Begin?
Christophe van Gerrewey
Something Completely Different
Richard Anderson
Possible Conjunctions
Joan Ockman
Slashed
Philip Ursprung
The End of Theory?
Nick Axel, Maarten Delbeke, Ita Heinze-Greenberg, Nikolaus Hirsch, Laurent Stalder, Philip Ursprung, and Anton Vidokle
Editorial
Contributors
Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson directs the MSc Architectural History and Theory graduate program at the University of Edinburgh.

Andreas Beyer

Andreas Beyer is Chair for the History of Art of the Early Modern Era at the University of Basel.

Maristella Casciato

Maristella Casciato is Senior Curator of Architectural Collections at the Getty Research Institute.

Peter Eisenman

Peter Eisenman is the principal of Eisenman Architects and the Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice at Yale University.

Kurt W. Forster

Kurt W. Forster is founding director of the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities and Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture at Yale University.

Christophe van Gerrewey

Christophe Van Gerrewey is professor of architecture theory at EPFL Lausanne. He is preparing a critical anthology on the work of OMA/Rem Koolhaas, from Delirious New York to S,M,L,XL.

Jacques Herzog

Jacques Herzog established Herzog & de Meuron with Pierre de Meuron, which was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2001, and co-founder of ETH Studio Basel.

Sonja Hildebrand

Sonja Hildebrand was scientific collaborator and substitute professor at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zürich from 2001 to 2011. Since 2011 she has been Professor for the History of Modern Architecture at the Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio of the Università della Svizzera Italiana.

Bernd Nicolai

Bernd Nicolai is chair for Architectural History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Bern. He is currently writing the book Globalized Architecture – a critical history. 1970 to present.

Joan Ockman

Joan Ockman has taught history and theory of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Cooper Union, Cornell, Harvard, Columbia, and a number of other schools since the 1980s. Her book Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America appeared from MIT Press in 2012.

Vittoria di Palma

Vittoria Di Palma is Associate Professor of Architectural History and Theory in the School of Architecture at USC

Brigitte Sölch

Brigitte Sölch is Senior Research Scholar at the The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut.

Laurent Stalder

Laurent Stalder is professor for architectural theory at the gta Institute (Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture), ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Stephan Trüby

Stephan Trüby is Professor of Architecture and Cultural Theory at the TU München and associate of the magazine ARCH+. He was head of research and development for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, directed by Rem Koolhaas.

Philip Ursprung

Philip Ursprung is Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and Dean of the Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich.

Richard Wittman

Richard Wittman is Associate Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is the author of Architecture, Print Culture, and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century France (Routledge, 2007) and is currently completing a cultural history of the nineteenth-century reconstruction of the Early Christian basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura in Rome.

History/Theory 1–10 Contributors
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