Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukr.

TU Wien presents
Selected symposium extracts
May 25–June 15, 2022

On 26 July 1721 the Wiener Diarium informed its readers that a new book by the general surveyor of constructions, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, was ready for subscribers to collect from the architect’s place. The price of the book was 30 Gulden (40 without pre-ordering) and it was titled Entwurff Einer Historischen Architektur. The Entwurff is a collection of 86 sheets illustrating the architecture of the Jews, Egyptians, Syrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, Siamese, Chinese, and Japanese, along with some of the author’s projects. 

The title of the book is challenging. Literally translated into English, it would read Project (but also as EssayDraft or Sketchof a Historical Architecture. Here the semantic realms of architecture and history are not combined the way we might expect. Fischer does not speak of architectural history; he speaks of historical architecture. But what does historical architecture mean? 

On the anniversary of the publication, 300 YEARS ENTWURFF proposes to look back at Fischer’s book as a project, and to discuss it as a precise historical initiative linked to a defined context, and as a possible attitude to respond to contemporary architecture. 

The Entwurff is an attempt to bring monuments from across the globe into an infinitely expandable classicism, and, through this, an attempt at transforming this very same classicism by confronting it with new tasks. What is the implicit geopolitical perspective of this project? What is its relation to the archaic and fragile Empire that made it possible? What is the Entwurff’s conception of time? What were the criteria for the selection of buildings? Why does Fischer present monuments from Iran and China, but not from India or Mexico? Why Stonehenge? Why no Gothic cathedrals? Why the Nile waterfalls? Why does Fischer seem so contemporary? Just because he has never been modern?

On 29 April 2022, at TU Vienna, a group of international architects and historians discussed the Entwurff Einer Historischen Architectur by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, 300 years after its first publication. Coordinated by Pier Paolo Tamburelli and the Chair of Gestaltungslehre and Design, the symposium collects diverse positions on Fischer von Erlach’s work in an attempt to reconsider its legacy in architectural theory, history, and practice.

The video on e-flux presents selected extracts of the symposium that will stream from May 25–June 15, 2022. A full version of all the lectures is available here.


Pier Paolo Tamburelli – Morning Session Introduction
Maarten Delbeke – Reclaiming History. The Entwurff as a historical compendium
Dubravka Sekulić – On the trouble of situating, on the trouble of situating historically
Caroline van Eck – From Stonehenge to Alexandria: Models and Sources for the Entwurff
Sam Jacob – (In Praise of) Bad Cover Versions

Christian Kühn – Afternoon Session Introduction
Manuel Herz – Against Experience
Steven M. Lauritano – Verso Recto. Reading the Entwurff from Back to Front
Mark Lee – Von Fischer von Erlach bis I.M. Pei
Shumi Bose – Once Upon A Time
Hermann Czech – Autonomy and Contextuality in particular cases 



Historicity & Historiography, History, Publications

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