Institute for Principles of Modern Architecture (Design and Theory)


Our research is situated between architecture and cultural theory.



Since the Renaissance, the architectural discourse has also been based, above all, on the definition and analysis of architectural elements. Leon Battista Alberti´s six elements (region/location, site, division (floor plan), wall, roof and openings; 1452), Gottfried Semper´s four elements (hearth, roof, enclosure and mound, 1851) and Le Corbusier´s five elements of architecture (Pilotis, free façade, open floor plan, horizontal windows, roof garden, 1928) were all attempts to analyze the history of building in varying degrees of intensity and to codify the future of architecture. 

But since the globalization of modern architecture after the Second World War, the possibility of an element-related systematization of architecture has been largely ignored. With architectural consequences as: what was once the specialty of architects - the roof and the window, but also the façade - became an apparatus, evaporating into advanced technological spheres, decoupled from the architect's responsibility. 

The research question entails a paradox: despite standardization, despite devices becoming apparatuses and the attempts of the parametric architecture, distinct categories such as the roof, the wall or the window don´t merge into a continuous surface of architecture and are outlasted by certain elements of the architecture. 

Preliminary work: Stephan Trüby: Geschichte des Korridors (HfG Karlsruhe, 2011, Fink, 2018); Rem Koolhaas, James Westcott, Stephan Trüby (ed.): Elements of Architecture (Marsilio, 2014)

Contact Person: Stephan Trüby


The relationships between economics, architecture and urbanism find their relative zero in the term oikos. Under the term oikos one understood first the basic unit of society in Greek city-states in the sense of an economic municipality, which formed the center of life of a large family. Later, from the early modern period, the housekeeping turned into a city and finally a state or national economy.

The fact that economic contexts require design artifacts has perhaps been insinuated most meaningfully by the neo-Marxism of David Harvey. In The Condition of Postmodernity, Harvey presents postmodernism as the cultural logic of post-Fordist late capitalism or neoliberalism. Architectural and design forms, as can be seen after Harvey, always refer to economic contexts. As part of this research, through the examination of selected international examples, the spatial effects of historical and contemporary ways of dealing with money, credit and investment will be investigated and the question will be posed as to what extent a new (urban) ethic is necessary.

Preliminary work: Gerhard M. Buurman, Stephan Trüby (ed.): Geldkulturen. Ökonomische, philosophische und kulturtheoretische Perspektiven (Fink, 2014).

Contact Person: Stephan Trüby


When Kenneth Frampton formulated his concept of "Critical Regionalism" in the mid-1980s, he did so in polemical opposition to the two most influential architectural movements of his time: the high-tech wave and post-modernism. The latter considered Frampton as deeply "scenographic". Against the background of a "bad" scenographic backdrop, Frampton articulated a desire for a "good, non-scenographic" architecture that assures itself of "critical" regional building traditions.

Frampton's juxtaposition obscures the view of an advanced understanding of scenography beyond lying and deception - a scenography understanding that ties in with those decisive cultural developments since the end of late modernity, which have recently been summarized as "performative turn" - and in relation to this research project, should be systematically related to architecture.

Preliminary work: Stephan Trüby (guest curator): Archithese 4/2010: "Szenografie"; Stephan Trüby, Verena Hartbaum (ed.): Germania, Venezia. The German Entries to the Venice Architecture Biennale since 1991 (Fink, 2016)

Contact Person: Zsuzsanna Stánitz


"Stuttgart School" in the architectural context is commonly understood through the conservative architectural teaching of Theodor Fischer students like Paul Bonatz, Paul Schmitthenner and Heinz Wetzel. However, when talking about it, the much more progressive "Stuttgart School" of the aftermath of 1968, still yet to be researched, should not be forgotten. There are various reasons for that.

On the one hand, the "Stuttgart School" from the late 1960s and 1970s (also) stands for the radical experiment of a "faculty without professors", in which students independently organized seminars, design classes and exams, printed leaflets and founded magazines; on the other hand, the most important result of this "faculty without professors" from today's perspective is the foundation of the journal ARCH+ 1 in January 1968 in the Kollegiengebäude 1 (K1) of the University of Stuttgart. Furthermore, it stands for the founding of IGmA in the same year, the first institute for "architectural theory" in Germany directed by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Joedicke, who published books as the "Documents of Modern Architecture" and the "Arbeitsberichte zur Planungsmethodik" and at least indirectly influenced the early phase of ARCH+. Last but not least, it stands for intellectuals such as Max Bense, who worked from 1950 as Associate Professor and from 1963 as Professor (Emeritus 1978) for Philosophy and Philosophy of Science, or Horst Rittel, who worked from 1973 to 1990 as Professor at the Institute for the Foundations of Planning. A detailed analysis of the reception of Bense as Rittel in architectural circles is yet to be done.

Preliminary work: Stephan Trüby (guest curator): ARCH+ 221: "Tausendundeine Theorie"

Contact Person: Verena Hartbaum, Stephan Trüby


The magazine ARCH+ was founded in 1967 at the University of Stuttgart and has shaped the German-speaking architectural discourse for more than five decades. On one hand, it is a mirror of discursive developments, on the other hand the repercussion on architectural practice. The IGmA research project 50+ Years ARCH+ - Architectural Discourse and Innovation History (AT) funded by the BBSR (Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research / Initiative "Zukunft Bau") and the University of Stuttgart examines the ARCH+ issues of the past 50 years. The focus is its content of innovation, furthermore, it embeds exemplary thematic complexes into a broader discourse of German-language architecture magazines and the (inter-) national scientific and technical state of research. Emphasis is on individual topics such as cybernetics / digitization / new technologies, housing issues / social coexistence, materials / sustainability / ecology, modernity and methods of urban planning.

Preliminary work: Stephan Trüby (guest curator): ARCH+ 221: "Tausendundeine Theorie"

Contact Person: Sandra Oehy


Nothing seems to be safe from the current rollback under the notion of Western democratic present: the assumed impossibility of a return of dictatorship and fascism, the assumed condemnation of racism by broader social strata, the assumed lapse of traditional gender roles, the assumed extinction of homophobic propaganda, the assumed marginalization of religious opinions on political issues, etc. The emancipatory achievements of 1968 are contested by a partly already parliamentary, but above all extra-parliamentary opposition of the New Right, who want to turn back the wheel of time: back to a time of clearly contoured nation states with their matching "peoples"; back to a "Europe of the fatherlands". This front, which has become the greatest threat to the European unification project since its foundation after the Second World War, has international clout despite - or precisely because of - its nationalism. To what extent statements about culture in general and about architecture in particular are made with the upswing of the right, should be clarified with this IGmA research project. To convey the research results, so-called "right-wing spaces" walks were and are being offered in various cities, which previously took place in Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt am Main, partially in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Goethe-Institut.

Preliminary work: Stephan Trüby & IGmA (guest curator): ARCH+ 235: „Rechte Räume. Bericht einer Europareise” (“Right-wing Spaces. Report from a Journey Through Europe”)

Contact Person: Stephan Trüby

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