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Talk Series Architectural Ethnography

11. July 2022 8:00 – 17:00 Uhr

Architectural ethnography deals with the manifold forms of coexistence between people and architecture. In cooperation between HCU Hamburg, TU Berlin and the Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft, the lecture series „Architectural Ethnography“ will be held this summer term online. Given the growing challenges for the planning disciplines to make sensitive, situated and appropriate spatial interventions, this series is about discussing the potential of ethnography in analysis and design. International guests from the fields of sociology, anthropology and architecture will provide insights into their architectural ethnographic practice and put theoretical and methodological considerations up for discussion.

The series is curated by Sabine Hansmann (HCU Hamburg, Architecture, Space and Society), Lidia Gasperoni (TU Berlin, Architectural Theory) and Séverine Marguin (TU Berlin, SFB Re-Figuration von Räumen). We would like to thank the Sutor Stiftung for its financial support.

Documentation of the series:

Letteria G. Fassari (Università di Roma Sapienza, Italy): “Performing space to cope with deterioration. Ethnographic notes from Sicily”.

Abstract: The San Berillo district is located in the heart of the lively city of Catania. However, it has all the contradictions of a marginalized area. Despite its small size, this neighbourhood has symbolic evidence also in terms of resilience. A historical demolition trauma together with the obstinate struggle for subjectivation of its residents gives rise to the numerous ambivalences of the place. I used ‘performance’ as an analytic construct to explore the case. Performance as an ‘affective’ and relational construct is particularly fruitful in accounting for the intertwining of bodies and space, which defines San Berillo’s qualities and stigma.

Sascha Roesler (Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland): “The Location of Architectural Knowledge”

Abstract: Empirical research (such as architectural ethnography) is not a clearly defined method in architecture; rather it indicates fundamental uncertainties in the modes of architectural design. Global challenges such as planetary urbanization, climate change, or energy transition require the capacity to create evidence and traceability in design processes, involving both the sensory apparatus of the architect and representational technologies. Wicked problems posed by new “hyperobjects” lead increasingly to a transdiciplinary character of the subjects of empirical research at the intersection of “data and things” (Timothy Morton). Evidence-based design relies on the capacity to collect data in the field and to critically question them. In my presentation I will highlight “microclimates” and “energy landscapes” as the subjects of architectural-ethnographic inquiry. I will present case studies, based on our own ethnographic research in Chongqing (China), Medan (Indonesia), and Singapore.

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Talk Series Architectural Ethnography

11. July 2022 8:00 – 17:00 Uhr


25. April 2022, 18:00 Uhr – Letteria G. Fassari
Sociologist, Università di Roma Sapienza, Italy

23. May 2022, 18:00 Uhr – Sascha Roesler
Architect, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland

20. June 2022, 10:00 Uhr – Shanti Sumartojo
Anthropologist, Monash University, Australia

11. July 2022, 18:00 Uhr – Pauline Lefebvre
Architect, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium