IGmADe: 50+ Years of Architecture, Theory & Poiesis

An exhibition by the Institute for Principles of Modern Architecture (Design and Theory)
November 23 - December 9, 2018
Exhibition at Querungen

Opening:
 November 23, 2018, 7 p.m.
Introduction by HANS D. CHRIST, STEPHAN TRÜBY, IASSEN MARKOV

In 2018, the architecture community celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Institute for Principles of Modern Architecture (Design and Theory) (IGmA), the first and largest institute for architectural theory and design in Germany. On the occasion of this anniversary, the University of Stuttgart is hosting an international conference on architectural theory from 22 to 24 November 2018 entitled IGmAde – 50+ Years of Architecture, Theory and Poiesis. In cooperation with the Württembergischer Kunstverein, the eponymous anniversary exhibition will open on the evening of 23 November 2018.

The IGmA was founded in 1967 in answer to the prevailing anti-theoretical stance of modernism paralyzed by dogma, and in the revolutionary year of 1968 launched its regular teaching operations. Its founder, Jürgen Joedicke, was head of the institute for more than a quarter of a century, from 1967 to 1993. During his tenure, the institute came to prominence by focusing not only on the history of modern architecture and interpretations of contemporary architecture, but also on the theoretical foundations of architecture and their implementation in practice. The two publication series – Dokumente der modernen Architektur (Documents of Modern Architecture, published by Karl Krämer Verlag in 14 volumes, 1961–81) and Arbeitsberichte zur Planungsmethodik (Proceedings on Planning Methodology, published in 9 volumes, 1969–75) – bear witness to this orientation. From the very start, the institute dedicated itself to contemporary issues, such as the potential of planning theory and user participation, and the relevance of the historical city. At the IGmA, the combination of design theory and theoretical reflection was a program in itself. This trained the contextual thinking of the students, who were encouraged to direct their attention and actions to the question: How do we want to live and what urban environment do we want?

After Jürgen Joedicke’s retirement, Werner Durth became the new director of the institute, and from 1993 to 1998 continued his research on the historical relationship between tradition and modernism. During this period, an important, though subtle, change was made to the institute’s German name, so that “principles of the modern architecture” became “principles of modern architecture.” Especially given the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of East and West Germany, it was more than understandable that “modern architecture” could only be thought of in its plural form. Durth’s IGmA research is documented in the two-volume publication Architektur und Städtebau der DDR (Architecture and Urban Planning in the GDR; 1998).

After an interregnum, during which a symposium for the 30th anniversary of the IGmA was held in the winter of 1998/99 under the direction of Wolfgang Schwinge, Gerd de Bruyn served as head of the institute from 2001 to 2018. Under de Bruyn, the IGmA continued to live up to its special role as an interdisciplinary institute that extends and transcends the conventional boundaries of architecture, one particularly dedicated to teaching theory, art, technology, and the natural and cultural sciences. In addition, de Bruyn dealt with phenomena such as fashion and new media, the analysis of the scientific nature of architecture, and building with living plants (biotechnical design).

Initiated by Stephan Trüby, the new director of the IGmA since April 2018, the exhibition and conference now aim to provide new insights into 50 exciting years of architecture and the IGmA, which are not least about the entanglements and distances between theory and design, and accordingly, the notion of practice. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes that practice is action that finds its purpose in itself. He contrasts this with “poiesis,” an action whose purpose exists independent of and beyond the action. Only poiesis culminates in artifacts and buildings, not practice. For this reason, when we speak of buildings, we prefer to speak of the poiesis – not the practice – of architecture. And by extension, we use the word “poietics” to refer to all the books, magazines, buildings, excursions, travelogues, research papers, and courses that have come into being over the last half-century at or in the context of the IGmA. As such, they invite us to reflect upon them as “ig-made artifacts.”

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