The Architect´s Image

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This Field of Research shines a light on the way how architects deal with photographs of themselves, their buildings and in the context of design processes in all their facets. While in today´s digital world photographs are massively distributed and the single picture by itself barely noticed anymore, the situation in the beginning of the 20th century used to be rather different. With the establishment of photography as an important part of newspapers, magazines and books there was also a differentiated use by architects. Therefore, this seminar will be dedicated to that generation of modern architects that were only at the beginning of their career during the time of media upheaval using this media as an instrument for self-presentation like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius or Erich Mendelsohn. Thereby it is significant to answer questions such as why photographs of buildings and portraits of architects become icons, who is responsible and whom does it serve. How is public perception of an architect generated? What has to be done for it and who has the responsibility? Does the architect provoke his own myth or is someone else creating it for him? Inevitably, we will also discuss why certain architects in today´s view are not counted among the first rank of modernist architects. Is this a destiny only for architects that explicitly did not make use or even rejected vehemently the instrumentalization of photography for their “image” or the distribution of their work? What about those that used photography as a tool for orchestration for instance like Otto Bartning? This generation of architects was also confronted twice in their careers with massive cuts as a result of the two world wars, which had to be reflected both in their work and in the way they presented themselves to the outside world. Since they were not able to bring their building with them into exile they were literally forced to reposition themselves there by means of photographs. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify to what extent the further success of these architects, and thus also their current perception, depended on these advertising measures in their own cause.



Field of Research
M.Sc. // all semesters

Dates and Times

On thursdays, from 4.00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., online lecture
Start: November 05, 2020

Current Situation

Regarding the current situation all lectures and classes will be held digitally. You will receive information on the exact procedures from your lecturer. Please make sure to have access to the corresponding moodle platform. If this is not the case, please get in contact with our administrative office.

Accompanying Content

You can download the corresponding lecture content for follow-up purposes on RWTHmoodle. Please note that the access is password protected.