Iron. A material writes architectural history

  Democracy as Builder. Selected Buildings.  


Iron is still a material with special properties: first and foremost it is heavy, initially rusty and only castable, and later - when refined into steel - it is largely weather-resistant, plastically deformable and capable of withstanding not only pressure but also tension. In terms of cultural history, this material was so important that an entire era was named after it. In architecture, on the other hand, its use marked a turning point, and it was to have a unique success story: This began in the 18th century, in the age of the Industrial Revolution, in England, where initially bridges and greenhouses were built. These were then followed in Paris, the metropolis described by Walter Benjamin, not without reason, as the "capital of the 19th century", by arcades, department stores, warehouses, exhibition and market halls, train stations and libraries, churches and towers, among which the one built by Gustave Eiffel for the World's Fair of 1889 was undoubtedly the most prominent and at the same time the most controversial. The aim of the seminar is to focus on these great moments in the early use of iron, but above all on the new building tasks that were inextricably linked to them. Wherever possible, the seminar will also give a voice to those voices that shed light on how iron, its production conditions, and the new architectures built from this material were perceived at the time of their creation.



Elective module
B.Sc. // from 3rd semester


On wednesdays, 2:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Start: April 12, 2023
R 220

Accompanying Content

You can download the corresponding lecture content for follow-up purposes on RWTHMoodle.