Theory – Building. Searching for a referential framework for architectural design after Modernism
“Designer as a magician”, J. Christopher Jones: The state-of-the-art in design methods, in: Geoffrey Broadbent, Anthony Ward (Hg.): Design Methods in Architecture, Architectural Association Paper Number 4, London: Lund Humphries Publishers, 1969, S. 193-197 (hier: S. 194).

Subproject B2

Theory – Building. Searching for a referential framework for architectural design after Modernism

This dissertation project examines the role of theory in the architectural design process against the backdrop of the institutionalization of architectural theory at German-speaking universities in the 1960s and 70s.

German architect Jürgen Joedicke is appointed professor at the University Stuttgart in 1963. The IGmA, founded by him in 1967, deals intensively in its initial years with planning methods and the mainly in Anglo-American regions operating Design Methods Movement, and thus plays a crucial role in the dissemination of systematic design approaches in German speaking countries. In the same year the gta Institute at the ETH in Zürich is founded. Bernhard Hoesli is one of the founding members and was a professor at the ETH from 1960. Though independent from (if not negative about) the Design Methods Movement, Hoesli´s endeavor to convey structured procedures for comprehensible design decisions seems to show interesting parallels in regard to Joedicke´s intentions. But whereas the Design Methods Movement acquires theory as a principle of order for the design process by transferring methods from other disciplines, Hoesli derives his approach from research on the characteristics of modern architecture, which he conducted together with the group of the so-called Texas Rangers at the University of Texas in the 1950s.

This is not a coincidental resemblance: the struggle for a scientific basis for the architectural work is stimulating architectural debate at that time, and not only in Stuttgart und Zürich. As part of the scope of this work, the socio-cultural climate from which this need arises, as well as different ways to respond to it, will be illustrated. In the context of contemporary debates about research perspectives in architecture, this discussion is particularly topical.