The conflicting nature of architecture

New Research Training Group approved


The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding for the new “Organising architecture” Research Training Group (GRK) involving Goethe University Frankfurt and TU Darmstadt. The GRK will investigate architectures as symptoms and tools of modern institutions, networks and discourses and will receive funding over a period of five years. Co-spokesperson is TU Professor Sybille Frank.

The Research Training Group explores how architectures are socially organised, how they themselves become part of organising structures – as shown here in a panoptically designed prison building – and how they can contribute to undermining regimes of order.

Architecture results from the multi-layered interplay of social processes that manifest themselves in the form of buildings. Spaces that already contain buildings have an impact on society and thus themselves influence the emergence of new architecture. The new GRK will investigate this conflicting nature of architecture as both a product and at the same time an impulse for collective processes.

By following this approach, the GRK will shift the focus from the dominating architectural concepts of the day towards greater consideration of its procedural conditions. Architecture will not only be considered as a representation of social ideas and power structures but also as a trigger and catalyst for them.

Spaces for dynamic negotiation processes

This is why the GRK believes that architectures are in fact spaces for dynamic negotiation processes that are directly and inextricably interconnected with organisational forms such as institutions, networks and discourses. These provide a structure for the research programme at the GRK in the form of fields of research. In this way, it will be possible to productively combine a wide range of theoretical concepts, disciplines and methodological approaches and analyse the complex field of organised and organising architecture at the interface between theory and practice.

Twelve researchers from the fields of architectural history, the social, cultural, legal and historical sciences and architecture and urban planning from Goethe University Frankfurt, TU Darmstadt, University of Kassel and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt, will work together in the GRK. The spokesperson is Professor Carsten Ruhl from the Institute of Art History at Goethe University, while the deputy spokesperson is Sybille Frank, Professor for Urban and Spatial Sociology in the Department of History and Social Sciences at TU Darmstadt.

Funding of the “Organising architecture” GRK begins on 1 October 2024 and runs for a period of five years.

The GRK now being funded has its origins in the LOEWE Research Cluster “Architectures of Order”, which was funded by the RMU Initiative Funding for Research of the Strategic Alliance of Rhine-Main Universities and will be completed at the end of 2023.

GRK 3022/cst