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Reiseuni Report | Making Of European Architecture Dialogue
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Reiseuni Report | Making Of European Architecture Dialogue

Vol:I Reiseuni • Pilot Project

[V:I_1 Six Points] [V:I_2 EAD + Masters Programme] [V:I_3 Alumni Reflections]

V:I_1. Architect's Profession & Education – 6 Points | Dagmar Jäger
V:I_1.1_Point 1: Transforming the Existing
V:I_1.2_Point 2: Designing Participation: Designing Processes
V:I_1.3_Point 3: Team-Generalist – Thinking Together
V:I_1.4_Point 4: Architectural Research is Design Research
V:I_1.5_Point 5: Reloading Humboldt's Concept of University
V:I_1.6_Point 6: University as Multi Perspectival Think Tank for the Civil Society

Architectural practice has to deal with today's complex problems. The tremendous transformation of the European city requires individuals who are able to perceive things in association, as "team-generalists". Which are relevant research fields of re-thinking the cities within and beyond the limits of growth? How do phenomena such as de-industrialization, touristification or the never-ending urban sprawl affect our profession? And: How do we accumulate architectural knowledge and design experience in academic contexts, generating "open thought spaces" in a socially responsible mind-set, together with students and external experts? Six points unfold the key position of the Reiseuni_lab founder.

Instead of building new structures and appealing to growth paradigms, architectural challenges today are about dealing with already existent built fabric and existing urban quarters in a resource-saving, context-sensitive and inclusive way of contemporary transformation.

For decades, the transformation of the given, the amelioration and the design of hybrid living-working spaces in Europe has to be developed especially within given urban contexts – multi-layered structures representing historic traces of ownerships, characterized by physically visible ideas of public realm and buildings within their historic change, representing social, cultural and political conditions, testimonials and qualities of complex human urban existence.

[Fig. 01] Installation at Lessingbad – 2012-07-19 WS5 Kiel, Asif Iqbal Raiyan, Pierre Broca, Gregor Blisse, Class-02
[Fig. 01] Installation at Lessingbad – 2012-07-19 WS5 Kiel, Asif Iqbal Raiyan, Pierre Broca, Gregor Blisse, Class-02

The challenges for architects today revolve around the topics of dealing this complexity, via cautious urban repair, of rehabilitation, re-modelling, of conversion of usages, temporary usages, continuation or completion of building and densification of space.

Respecting ecological, economic and social aspects, the creative re-use of existing resources instead of its wastage, is the strong message, manifest of the limit of growth, ordered by the Club of Rome in 1972 and at least, generally re-known by the public of civil societies today. Unfortunately, this message has gained only little prominence all over the globe towards real consequences to get visible in activities during the past decades.

For global investors today counts: Building new architecture retains the promise of keeping time and monetary input low, because the resource input still is not adequately set in relation to the actual economic expenses of grey energy. More than this – for architects – building of new architecture promises much more freedom of individual expression and representation. But there are signs that a slow, societal change of consciousness is on its way.

For the responsible practice of architects, contemporary production of space means: transformation and re-programming, qualification and revitalisation, appropriation and re-cycling. Instead of focusing on growth-led new projects, today we should focus on existing buildings and structures out of function or in state of repair that are already part of urban life worlds, re-designing them in a sustainable way that includes the perspectives of all concerned parties.

[Fig. 02] Processual Graph, 2011-10-26 WS0_3, Juliane Kluenter, Class-02
[Fig. 02] Processual Graph, 2011-10-26 WS0_3, Juliane Kluenter, Class-02

Nowadays, a wide range of design approaches, interdisciplinary planning concepts, process-oriented practices and hybrid new building typologies are needed, regardless of national and disciplinary borders in Europe. All metropolitan areas of Europe have to rethink, renew and transform neglected urban districts like industrial areas out of function, modular settlements in a state of repair or re-organization, exploited and devastated landscapes, abandoned office buildings or lost urban spaces between infrastructures of mobility of past times and along the lost living veins of urban structure – the river- and seafronts, which are re-appropriated as urban public spaces by the civil society.

Especially the collective destructions after industrialization, after expansion of private transport, after touristification and urban sprawl, the wastage of resources and cultural landscapes and the multiple borders of modernity – new national borders, borders of inner urban peripheries, crucial borders between industrial, living and infrastructural zones which at the same time are often social borders – are important and acute challenges for European architects today. These working fields require a commune mind, respecting the 'limits of growth' – sustainability, sufficiency, ecological balance and inclusion of civil society and humanity as binding forces.

Between real laboratory and thought space, the variety of questions challenges the profession towards the establishment of new tools, approaches and goals.

The notion of designing as a secretive science of geniuses is out-dated. The moderation and design of transparent processes in collective, interdisciplinary networks that develop the city and its spaces are determining architectural practice today! The focus of a resource-oriented practice of planning and project work lies on analysing the already existent – its history, spatial potential and its interdisciplinary context. The results become visible as investigations of opportunities in the form of programmes, scenarios and thought spaces.

Since the Enlightenment, the dialectical de-hierarchisation of communities has also brought about the transformation of processes that self-reflect and self-transform these exact processes. This transformation is not so much to read as radical paradigmatic turn, but to understand as a consequence of a dynamic shift in the handling of problematic fields: The on-going societal democratization, unpredictably accelerated during the 20th century by the student protests of 1968 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European and Western civil societies with their architects as potential interconnectors are asking more and more virulently for transparent, open procedures of planning and design processes.

Participatory structures in political, artistic and academic contexts have been developed in order to influence everyday practices and living conditions: it is still a struggle for equality and participation. These demands for democratic governance and participation of a growing civil society have been globalized and requested way beyond Western democracies. Open access to knowledge and knowledge production is requested and fought for on all societal levels. This development becomes manifest also in aspirations concerning living and working environments and expresses itself in a transformation of the European city and its actors who are producing this change – think about the dialectic revival of housing cooperatives during 100 years between democratic and totalitarian regimes in Europe, all sorts of contemporary common housing projects or the new we-traders movement.

[Fig. 03] 2011-10-14 WS6_5 Final-Presentation, Kenton-Card, Class-01
[Fig. 03] 2011-10-14 WS6_5 Final-Presentation, Kenton-Card, Class-01

Inclusion and participation within the city and adequate living space for all is not only requested by a strongly articulated civil society in Europe. In less democratic societies, the struggle for participation and civil rights is indispensably fought out with more pressure, and sometimes also violence. Recent examples of Istanbul (2013-2014 Gezi-park-protests, against demolition of public space), Tel Aviv (2012, protests for lower living costs and social housing), Kiev (2013-2014, protest for a democratic society) or Rio de Janeiro (2014, protests against waste of public means in football stadia)[1] are emblematic of this. These societal developments concern public interest; concern the architectural fields of urban context and the architect's self-understanding. It brings up new tasks and necessitates new fields of research and education.

[1] In 2015, the anti-austerity protests of the Greece civil society moves the public spaces of Athens [editing remarque of 08.2015]

The notion of designing as a secretive science of geniuses is out-dated. The moderation and design of transparent processes in collective, interdisciplinary networks that develop the city and its spaces are determining architectural practice today! Disciplinary border crossers, critical empirical group experiments, creative regulative frameworks or approaches of appropriation and a hermeneutic practice of planning are forming the cornerstones of contemporary thought and research in architectural processes.

[Fig. 04] 2011-10-26 WS0_3, Paulina Lopez Ochoa Mijares, Design Graph, Class-02
[Fig. 04] 2011-10-26 WS0_3, Paulina Lopez Ochoa Mijares, Design Graph, Class-02

Multi-dimensional processes of planning, design and strategizing precede the concrete design of a city or a building. A profound and constructive planning process begins within existing built urban structures and buildings. Before investigating aesthetic solutions, architects increasingly have to investigate the complexity of built fabric to condense the complexity towards questions, towards pathways and possible processes of how to re-think the existing.

[Fig. 05] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Kaisa Lasner, Pille Noole, Class-01
[Fig. 05] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Kaisa Lasner, Pille Noole, Class-01

By collecting and understanding what is already there, architects conduct an intensive analysis of the contexts of the present physical structures. Next to spatial and constructive knowledge about project work, the handling of the existing built structures necessitates scientific-analytical and artistic-creative methods to carry out examinations, reading of traces and developing of programmes that are sensitive towards socio-cultural and historical aspects of the context.

The results of such creative research about multi perspectival options first culminate in documentation and analysis, than in evaluation of the spatial possibilities within the existing, further in developing scenarios for the existing, conceptualized in alternatives. The multi-disciplinary gaze becomes a crucial part of the architect's solution-finding process – a practice clearly different from designing new architecture within new urban plots.

[Fig. 06] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Jose de la Pena, Jose Pavon, Elena Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Class-01
[Fig. 06] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Jose de la Pena, Jose Pavon, Elena Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Class-01

Identifying the diverging interests of all concerned parties and initiating constructive dialogue are crucial to this 'open thought space'. The prior analysis implies the inclusion of experts in time, who assess the given situation, the inclusion of project responsible and all interested stakeholders from the beginning on. As these processes are always bound to aesthetic, political and economic criteria, transparent procedures and objectivated assessment criteria should be developed to enable discourses for balancing main concerns. The utmost priority of open processes aiming at the transformation of the present are shifted towards the creation of 'open thought spaces', where different perspectives, options, possibilities are developed and discussed – before dealing the physical realization – with the civil society and not against.

The architectural team-generalist holds a key role as a 'group-player' and 'interconnector' within the interdisciplinary production of architecture and urban transformation today. The large number of different specialists is to be included in complex design processes. The team-generalists interconnect the diverse and heterogeneous participants of urban processes and their particular interests and synthesises all perspectives into accepted outcomes of public interest, of the urban civil society.

The loss of importance of the architect in architectural production due to specialization, influence of real estate players and the withdrawal of social oriented housing policies has been discussed more intensively since the end of the 20th century – the investor-guided architecture we normally do not even like to debate as architecture but to oversee as multiple accidents – except it is prominent in place or person.

[Fig. 07] 2010-10-13 WS0_2, Sebastian Seyfarth, Class-01
[Fig. 07] 2010-10-13 WS0_2, Sebastian Seyfarth, Class-01

As in contemporary architectural projects and urban planning procedures, we have to include a multiplicity of actors from various fields in the planning process – specialists, administration and stakeholder, the architectural generalist (not the project manager) should play a key role as a 'group player' and 'interconnector' within the interdisciplinary production of architecture and urban transformation today – as team-generalists. Planning processes are evolving within a dense network of particularistic interests, all of which have to be integrated into the planning dynamics and problem solution process, as well as be meaningfully placed in relation to the course of planning.

The architectural generalist, who brings these interests together and interconnects them in the production of architecture and the development of the city, should take on a leading role in this process. And of course, this decision is not only up to the profession, but is part of political processes about 'to whom is the city' and who decides about the city. Our profession has the task to mix in these concerns through political engagement, through positioning and also through claiming research fields about traditional competencies within nowadays requirements about strategies of synthesizing:

Since antiquity the role of the architect as generalist in the duty of mediating the different expertise has been heavily discussed - handed down by the Roman architect Vitruvius mentioning this discourse already in his first (of 10) book.

Konrad Wachsmann's "Wendepunkt im Bauen" (Turning Point in Construction) published 1959 might be the first publication that documents methods of interdisciplinary teamwork which had been experimented in summer workshops first. The problem-solving processes are not developed as lonesome and intuitive work of a genius, but sketched out in smaller or larger teams of interdisciplinary group members. Depending on the complexity of the task, this teamwork today is – in best cases – expanded towards coalitions with engineers and other experts at an early stage.

[Fig. 08] 2010-11-03 WS0_4, Jaan Kuusemets, Diagram Design Methods, Class-01
[Fig. 08] 2010-11-03 WS0_4, Jaan Kuusemets, Diagram Design Methods, Class-01

To moderate fruitful thought collectives, architects are asked to mobilize capacities to think in an integrative, not an exclusive manner. For this form of synthesising work, the concerned parties need the experience of common learning processes; they need experience on dialogical processes in order to come up with solutions for complex problems.

Empathetic strength, a high level of integrative thinking, a clear individual position for a tolerant debate as also multiple talents are the qualities of an architect as team player and integrator. Needed requirements of a team-generalist are the enhanced level of sensitivity for the different positions and interests to be transmitted in alternative solution processes; sensitivity towards individual and diverse aesthetic conceptions of the involved people, towards conversational etiquette (German "Sprachkulturen") of the different disciplines being part of a process and the integrative attitude towards a heterogeneous cultural matrix is a needed prerequisite of a team-generalist. The creative control of methods and strategies of communication and visualization, procedures of analysis and synthesis form the central 'tool box', the methodological repertoire of a team-generalist.

All these capacities demand a high level of self-reflection as foundation for consciousness about the own and attitudes of others, demand competencies of transfer in order to steer the problem-solving processes with involved people and disciplines. In the tradition of creative and research-oriented personalities, like the historic model Vitruvius towards the multiple grassroots collectives as urban pioneers and team-generalists after the big heroes, which we should encourage today, there have been lots of dialectic turns of our profession. We are responsible to maintain it vivid and powerful.

Architectural research moves between the poles of explorative design research by project work and research about design processes. Traditionally, architects develop social utopian visions, experimental real-laboratory projects or theoretical systematizations and reflections of practice to enrich our professional knowledge. The research-oriented design practice is located in studio contexts of universities and offices; it is characterized by critical, investigative design practice; it needs open strategies of appropriation (of interdisciplinary knowledge) and hermeneutic, diagrammatical search for traces. The early 21st century needs contemporary multi-perspectival thought spaces, the central concern for the research activities of the Reiseuni_lab.
 

The motivation for architectural research is politically, aesthetically and personally motivated. Research by project design serves to generate newness, derived from a critical examination of the present, which is rooted in its own time. The production of architecture and the genesis of its knowledge always take place in the context of specific societal debates, of contemporary conditions and needs and react to these developments. Thinking about social challenges which require spatial, dialogical and aesthetic answers, seems to ask for knowledge that transcends disciplines, seems to ask for openness towards a mix of methods and open-minded, experimental procedures as techniques, to be applied to generate new knowledge and projects.

[Fig. 09] 2010-11-03 WS0_4, Sebastian Seyfarth, Diagram Design Process, Class-01
[Fig. 09] 2010-11-03 WS0_4, Sebastian Seyfarth, Diagram Design Process, Class-01

Explicit architectural knowledge and reflection on project work never arise from nothing or without effort. Architects research in collaboration, across disciplines, self-reflectively and through experiment. Architectural research moves between the poles of explorative design research by project work and research about design processes. In laboratory-like studios or institutes, architects conquer new areas of knowledge, creatively renew their specific professional terminology and develop new approaches to methods, constructions or understanding of space. Prototypical projects are tested 1:1 and are critically assessed by diverse presentation and communication formats. As opposed to commissioned or dependent work, architectural design research requires engaged public institutions or courageous and independent co-partners, often exploring new technologies, new conceptions of social co-existence, new forms of project genesis, funding and organizational structures. In the particular architectural culture of competitions, during centuries architects have productively elaborated an open culture of debate with transparent criteria oriented assessment about alternative options as participants, initiators, organiser or jurors of competitions, to find out the best contemporary solutions and the possible attitudes for contemporary sites, urban situations and building typologies, accepted by the stakeholder or the society.

Many great experimental real-laboratories until the 21st century have shaped the research by design practice. Their strategies of seeking for new approaches in constructive, creative, aesthetic and spatial fields – just to remember some of the most important of the last century like the Spanish laboratory of Antoní Gaudí, the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright in Taliesin, the architectural workshop of the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, the summer academies of Konrad Wachsmann or the educative interdisciplinary research programme of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm, to only name a few – are role models for the numerous academic areas of experiment of the last decades, such as the research lab of Frei Otto or the Bauhäusle, both in Stuttgart University, or today's experimental field of the architectural faculty of Darmstadt or of the Baupiloten at Technical University in Berlin. The Italian studios of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the Netherlands research studio AMO of OMA's, the studio work and think tanks »The Why Factory« of MVRDV at TU Delft or the experimental workshops, exhibitions and publications by Herzog & de Meuron balance research-oriented experiment with business. The current generation of architects has been and is influenced by this tradition of generalists and socially responsible laboratories.

[Fig. 10] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Raiko Reinson, Jaan Kuusemets, Class-01
[Fig. 10] 2010-12-16 WS1_4, Raiko Reinson, Jaan Kuusemets, Class-01

Architects discover the areas of architectural research on a self-motivated basis. In contrast to second-hand knowledge about the art or about the architecture, process knowledge about design practice and project work (German "Entwurfswissen") is generated in the interplay between individual experience, documentation and reflection, in the interplay of experienced knowledge on processes, tools, creative strategies, communication and the interdisciplinary knowledge on architectural relevant fields of sociology, history, politics, construction etc. at the same time. This kind of architecture cannot one-sidedly be situated as either artistic production or academic research.

The research takes place in cooperation, in dialogue with constructors, stakeholders, universities or companies, often in order to realize 1:1 pilot projects or to investigate fields of social, historical or reflective interest within the context of city, space and built fabric.

Until today, the exceptional matter about the architectural knowledge production is the prerequisite of individual experience and direct participation of architects in processes of reflection and theory building. The architect examines from the inner perspective or with the individual experience of the creator himself. For centuries, architects have reflected their positions and observations from the makers' perspective and have handed down this knowledge by education of young people and in publications for the next generations – for the sake of historical contextualization, the creation of new concepts, standardization, objectification and systematization, the explorative genesis of primary knowledge for our discipline.

Interdisciplinary and solution-oriented project work, which interconnects research, education and architectural praxis of design opposes the tendency of university development towards a discipline-driven science, which differentiates between regimented teaching and independent research of specialists. This situation becomes manifest in large lecture settings instead of studio work in small groups, studying for exams instead of experiencing solution-oriented processes. Decision procedures in interdisciplinary faculties by non-architects, increasing bureaucracy and prioritizing of scientific specialization are weakening the universal discipline since decades! More about architect's specific trans-disciplinary needs within the institution:

In 1988, presidents of 388 Universities first signed the Magna Charta Universitatum in Bologna to strengthen the transfer of knowledge within Europe through mobility of professors and students, to strengthen the unity of education and research of the autonomous institution "university". The Bologna declaration initiated a 10-year conversion of the two-part bachelors-master degrees and the European Credit Transfer system throughout Europe. After this change, the loss of the research freedom and of universities' autonomy is one of the most discussed problems as a consequence of the new system, dividing university's task in the two fields of education on the one hand and research on the other.

[Fig. 11] 2011-05-27 WS4_6 Final Presentation at Wroclaw + Lisbon, Photos: Anne Gross, Class-01
[Fig. 11] 2011-05-27 WS4_6 Final Presentation at Wroclaw + Lisbon, Photos: Anne Gross, Class-01

The humanistic ideal of the unity of education and research with young people, the 388 presidents declared, was formulated 200 years ago by the reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt, who founded the reform university in Berlin 1809. Von Humboldt initiated a tradition, which until today represents a story of success of European universities, educating a civil society and a self-responsible individual as member.

Also in 1988, Jacques Derrida conjures up this tradition of the European University in his speech "The Unconditional University": that is to rethink the freedom of teaching and research and the idea of the critical individual as sources and core aspects of democracy and social change, always bearing in mind the tradition of the Enlightenment, of Immanuel Kant and Wilhelm von Humboldt.

In times of functionalization, equalization, bureaucratization, rationalization and economization of social spheres, it is not obvious how to re-establish (or to save) critical and open thought spaces of independent citizens at the institution "university", in the spirit of our European culture.

For centuries, the university system has only moderately been reformed from within the system. Today, changes are mostly made towards massification – more students educated with stagnating, or even reduced resources. The political struggle about tuition fees, de-bureaucratization and the obsession with selected excellence (opposed to the mass university) are not over yet. The academic system suffers from precarisation, from the separation of teaching and research, from over-specialization and missing trans disciplinary thought spaces for complex questions towards the society, their citizen, their needs and their spaces.

[Fig. 12] 2012-05-31 WS4 Final Presentation at Innsbruck, Juliane Kluenter, Class-02
[Fig. 12] 2012-05-31 WS4 Final Presentation at Innsbruck, Juliane Kluenter, Class-02

Moreover, the architects-professors themselves are critical for architectural research-oriented education in the mind of Humboldt today: The aspiration towards architectural education with a research mandate is, to this day, regarded as controversial within the faculty and the studio-teaching architects. Uncritical self-expression and master-education instead of self-reflection or even objectivising creative-process-transparency is expected – by the ranks of exploitative society and the colleagues – from the profession. The characteristic of self-promotion and focus on the work results represents a contradiction that is difficult to resolve with regard to the university's objective of research-oriented, transparent and open-minded knowledge genesis.

Another obstacle venues from the today's ideal of interdisciplinarity of the faculties: Subjects like art history, building physics or surveying are unchallenged accepted as research-based science. Research on architecture theory, on construction, architecture history, design theory, heritage etc. is less carried out by the architects with project portfolio, but rather in co-operation with them or just on behalf of them. Important decisions on essential future options and profiles in architectural education or research fields (and graduate schools) are made by non-architects, due to the majority of non-architects in faculty boards. The conservative frameworks of universities prevent useful interdisciplinary and fruitful teamwork of students as matter of grading, for master's degree or for postgraduate researchers and Dr.-Ing. or PhD degrees – despite the professional needs for architects to act as team-generalists within interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary contexts.

[Fig. 13] 2012-01-02 WS8 First day Impression, Photo: Anne Gross, Class-01 + Studio Work at BTU Cottbus
[Fig. 13] 2012-01-02 WS8 First day Impression, Photo: Anne Gross, Class-01 + Studio Work at BTU Cottbus

Beyond Germany's tradition of a free institution for research and education – and not entirely unchallenged in times of financial crises, today some European university's architecture studios still represent a critical and open-minded space for the civil society and its' high-quality teaching and research; multi-perspective investigations of relevant questions and the genesis of knowledge are worked out by students and professors in cooperative and interdisciplinary project contexts. Learning, teaching and research work are integral parts of project work also as a didactic method; the topics deal with real problems (to be solved in exchange with stakeholders) or future options of living spaces of urban societies nowadays. Competition practice, participation and shared experiences and knowhow, investigations in alternatives, defined in dialogue with governors and responsible activists are part of the research-oriented studio work.

Education related to practice in the architecture tradition of university is understood as responsible and social oriented research work on relevant topics of the society. "Since architecture is created in a field of tension between reason, emotion and intuition, architectural education should be regarded as the manifestation of the ability to conceptualize, co-ordinate and execute the idea of building rooted in human tradition".[2]

[2] UIA/UNESCO Charter, Education and Objectives, point 1, 1st edition1996

For a holistic, critical architectural practice, education and research and its anchorage in experiencing new paths and generating knowledge, the needed conditions, the research culture and spaces at university are very singular, much more rooted in the 20th century tradition of the experimental research-labs of Renzo Piona, Frei Otto or HdM: Instead of rigid hierarchies, today, open minded exchange with different tasks (and experience) define the relation of professors and students in exploring together the unknown towards multiple solutions. Open studio spaces, fully appropriated by students, allow open source exchange of increasing knowledge. Teamwork and individual work in interplay is part of this open research culture. Onsite-work- and onsite-experience as excursions characterise the research and learning processes of both – professors and students. Direct feedback between the more experienced professors and students through presentations and guest critics are vital elements of solution-oriented dialogues.

Seminaristic inputs – lectures by students and professors have to be focused to the specific field of research and towards the topics and open questions of the project focus. Work in contact with other disciplines, with non-academic stakeholders and within student teams as most important "learning cells" are to be enabled. Holistic design research and practice unfolds its strength in interconnecting multiple fields of knowledge, including current societal issues and challenges, in creating dialogue between different disciplines and always striving towards the amelioration of the quality and conditions of life in a complex life reality. To support the critical minds of students and professors, to investigate in distance of parties of interest, the elaboration of constructive spaces of thoughts ("Denkräumen") purely needs the studio's financial independence of stake holders, of bureaucrats and decision makers, which is furthermore an essential need to maintain a university space of independence and freedom of research. This should be in the mind of the civil society who should enable this independence for the sake of knowledge genesis, by financing the research and education with young people by taxes and not through third party funding towards private needs or the needs of special political parties who hold the actual power.

 

The Reiseuni_lab suggests an alternative educational track in contrast to the specialization, to reinforce the tradition of the European University in the mind of Wilhelm von Humboldt: Research by design about current demands together with professors and young people, reflection and knowledge transfer on design methods, architecture schools and workshop results, cooperation of universities with non-academic partners + local stakeholders, models of team-work, intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration and communication. These characteristics represent the key qualities of the pilot project of the Reiseuni_lab.

The approach of matching practical projects and teaching in experimental and reflective studio work stands in the long tradition of anti-academic discourse of the reform movement in Europe, which Germany debated in the first Werkbund congress in 1908. As Walter Gropius emphasized for the conception of the Bauhaus Experiment: [3]"Knowledge will come to life only by individual experience", education instead of training means supporting young people in finding positions, in experimenting adequate means and methods, taking part in knowledge genesis and finding out opportunities of a social responsible design. The unity of teaching and research and the right balance of experience, discovery and know how within a Master' s programme serves the quest for a lively growing architectural knowledge and appropriation of it and is not detached from social civil life and education circumstances, but rather takes place in the process of experimental realization and the reflection thereof.

[3] Walter Gropius: Scope of Total Architecture. 1962 Collier Books NY, page 56. Is there a science of Design: Copyyright, 1947, by American Federation of Arts.

[Fig. 14] 2011-05-27 WS4_5, Jose Pavon, Maria Bello, Erko Luhaaru, Class-01
[Fig. 14] 2011-05-27 WS4_5, Jose Pavon, Maria Bello, Erko Luhaaru, Class-01

The reframing of the teaching and research goals of Reiseuni_lab for the Master's Degree of the international architecture education and the European Architecture Dialogue [EAD] are situated between 2 poles: the research by design and the research about design. Within the European contexts of experimental real laboratories of university studios, the research-oriented exploration takes place as a critical and solution-oriented thought space examining alternative options, processes or scenarios for the transformation of urban contexts, architecture and public realm of urban life. The task of Reiseuni_lab, TTÜ and all partner institutions means, "research and teaching by synthesizing and interconnecting project design", means to collaboratively excavate processes which have been subject to analysis within research projects of responsible individuals, in the free spaces of the university and in exchange with external partners and the requirements of democratic civil societies. Together with these partners, processes are developed and reflected in order to generate, experiment and to exchange knowledge and design experiences in critical and also tolerant open discourses.

The qualitative success of teaching concepts that are based on the participation of young people, their handling of self-acquired knowledge through reflective research and critical discourse through a teaching concept which aims at the development of personalities, positions and expertise cannot easily be compared to quantitative and empirical evaluation. The simple testing of canonical knowledge or the comparison through grades says little about long-term learning outcomes, individual progress or the societal relevance of design, projects or initiated thought processes.

[Fig. 15] 4 Points of the Reiseuni Charter
[Fig. 15] 4 Points of the Reiseuni Charter

Reiseuni_lab is currently realizing a second period of the international master of European Architecture in collaboration with TTÜ, Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (UAL) and five Partner Institutions. Thanks to the engagement of individually engaged people, the public resources and support of ambitious European Universities and together with selected highly motivated students and now alumni, we have been able to take a radical path aside the developments and obligations described above.

Multi-perspective research on design has the great potential to bring independent thought spaces to a society that is confronted with growing economic and ecologic distribution battles, permanent growing conflicting interests. Especially through the uniquely synthesizing and interconnecting attitude and means of team-generalists, research by design can contribute, moderating and interconnecting many specialized areas of the knowledge-based society and their problems beyond any academic ivory tower.

[Fig. 16] Reiseuni_lab Logos
[Fig. 16] Reiseuni_lab Logos

It remains open, to debate to which extent the inclusion of architecture and its culture of "project-oriented and interdisciplinary, studio-based project work in small groups" can be unfolded in academic context of universities in the long run and to which extent the university is able to save the institutional independence, that enables critical research in open spaces between creating and thinking, between problem solving and reflection, between the contradicting interests and society's requirements and between teaching and practice. And lastly, to which extent the university is able to find the right way for the institutional independence between European socially stressed reality and the European academic landscape with its current struggle between the traditions of the social-market and neo-liberal economy, the middle European and the Anglo-American political and financial tradition?

With a lot of effort and ambition from all concerned parties, we have already pushed diverse problems and processes of urban and architectural tasks towards public discourses, and together we gained a lot experiences during the first period of the laboratory. The future of Reiseuni_lab and its platform "European Architecture Dialogue" is now open to the next challenges.

The text was first presented as opening lecture at EAD#5, Tallinn University of Technology, May 2014.

[Dagmar Jäger, revised in August 2015]