Elective subject

  Detail photography of Theaterstraße 92 © A. Hensel  

Hässliche Entlein

The most sustainable approach to architecture is always its preservation. However, the demolition of a building  is often not only based on its usability or even technical obsolescence but also depends on the aesthetical appreciation of a certain era. Especially buildings of the 70s or 80s, so-called “ugly ducklings”, do not correspond to contemporary taste and therefore are often demolished. The goal of this project is to identify such buildings in the urban areas of Aachen and the make their architectural qualities visible again by the means of photographical portrayal to create a new positive image. In the sense of aesthetic sustainability, the appreciation and ultimately also the motivation for the further use of such buildings shall be increased. Architectural photography is able to emphasize the aesthetic qualities of a building, that may not be noticeable in reality and thus change the view of the object or the architectural style. Critical for the positive perception of the architecture is always also the urban context, which legitimizes the existence of the building in exactly this place. The view through the lens while wandering through the urban structures sharpens the attention and allows the discovery of hidden ,beauties’.  That architecture photography is able to produce such a change in the perception of architecture is proven by the recent example of brutalism. For decades labeled as repulsive, inhospitable concrete blocks, this style is currently experiencing a renaissance, for which photography was in large parts responsible. A development that was firstly was initiated by professional architectural photographers, mostly in the artistic context (illustrated books, exhibitions, etc.), is now continued by amateur photographers for instance via social media. The project aims on highlighting the importance of building culture issues in the very practical and technically oriented field of building research. The awareness für this topic of sustainability can be raised not only by the development of new building techniques or materials but also by engaging with theoretical approaches from the humanities, such as sociology or psychology. In the course of this project methods of the ,Bildwissenschaft’ such as media theoretical approaches to photography and basics of the aesthetic theory will be analyzed in order to clarify whether the representation of architecture in an image can change the view on the architecture and furthermore influence on the practical handling of architecture. In short, it is about the question of the power of images in the context of the evaluation of architecture and the role of photography in the spreading of architectural ideas.

The project includes a preparatory, theoretical seminar in the spring term 2022, followed by a practical workshop in cooperation with the architectural photographer Prof. Roman Bezjak from the FH Bielefeld on photography and, as a conclusion, the presentation of the results by means of an exhibition in the context of Zukunft Bau - Pop up Campus in September 2022 and an accompanying publication.