Call for Contributions GAM 21
“Confronting the Environmental Crisis”
Deadline: May 31, 2024

The next issue of GAM, guest-edited by Alexander Passer and Marcella Ruschi Mendes Saade, invites proposals from the disciplines of architecture, civil engineering, environmental studies, urban planning, or material and cultural studies, to discuss the architectural design that a shift in perspective might take when it comes to environmental performance. In this context, we also welcome proposals discussing pedagogical shifts that are required for a reevaluation of the discipline. Abstracts on the topic “Confronting the Environmental Crisis” can be submitted together with a short biography until May 31, 2024 to gam@tugraz.at senden.

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Open Access Articles
from Past Issues

GAM 19 The Domenig Tapes Andreas Lechner

When I started working as a university assistant at the Institute of Design and Building Typology at TU Graz in the summer of 2007, I discovered four audiocassettes in the bottom desk drawer of my new workplace. The handwriting on the adhesive labels identified the cassettes as recordings of various lectures given by Günther Domenig in the winter semester of 1987/88. Intending to listen to them in due time, I placed them in a storage tray in my freshly occupied office at the very back of the former “Domeniganischen Republik” (Domenigan Republic)—which is how Institute of Design and Building Typology on the fourth floor was identified on the sign in the lobby of the annex building at TU Graz, completed in 1994 according to plans by Domenig’s office (competition won in 1983). While all reminders of that republic continued to fade, the cassettes remained where they were in order to help create an image of the past at a particular moment in time, one which Walter Benjamin characterized as such: “To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it ‘the way it really was’ (Ranke). It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.” Read more

→ GAM 19 Professionalism
GAM 18 Going beyond the Program Anne Lacatan and Jean-Philippe Vassal (L&V) in Conversation with Karine Dana (KD)
Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal designed the Nantes School of Architecture in 2009. In this interview, they look back on this decisive experience during which the concept of “free space” was considerably expanded, opening opportunities for completely new educational exploration.   KD: What are the specifics of an architecture school program, and could you reminisce on the genesis of this project?   L&V: Nowhere is there more knowledge, information, and energy about urban planning than in a school of architecture. More is in circulation there than in an urban planning…Read more → GAM 18 Beyond the Institution:
Transforming the Learning Environment in Architectural Education
GAM 17 “It’s about Respect for the Material.” Kai Strehlke (Blumer-Lehmann AG) in Conversation with Urs Hirschberg (GAM)

For the past five years, the architect Kai Strehlke has been in charge of digital processes in CAD/CAM production for the Swiss timber construction company Blumer-Lehmann. Before that, he worked as head of IT for ten years at the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. At Herzog & de Meuron, he worked on many of the firm’s internationally famous projects. He is familiar with the practice of architecture and not just from the perspective of timber construction that has since become his specialty. Blumer-Lehmann is a family business in eastern Switzerland with a rich tradition. The Erlenhof, where its first sawmill was founded in 1875, and where, together with a second site nearby, the entire production takes place, is an idyllic rural location near Gossau. For contemporary architecture in wood, especially in the area of freeform geometries, Blumer Lehmann is a prime address with an international profile. In the recent past, Kai Strehlke has been a crucial collaborator on projects such as the new Swatch headquarters (architecture: Shigeru Ban Architects, Paris/Tokyo) and the mosque in Cambridge (architecture: Marks Barfield Architects, London). Read more

→ GAM 17 Wood. Rethinking Material
GAM 16 Together We Thrive!
Informal Appropriation of Space and Resistance in the Urban Density of Hong Kong
Fritz Strempel

Hong Kong of 2019 is symbolic for how many of the most pressing social questions of our time, about human life, and, rightly, about urban commons need to be looked at through the lens of the conditions of urban cohabitation. At no point in recent history have we seen a city articulate its frictions and its historic ambivalences in the manner of such largescale informal appropriations of its space as in Hong Kong of 2019, with millions of people on the streets for months. The thoughts and photos to this essay were produced in July 2019 during the first height of the first popular protests of two million urban residents against the feared loss of fundamental democratic freedoms. Read more

→ GAM 16 gewohnt: un/common
GAM 15 The Mystery of American Reality
Exploring the Edge of the Megalopolis
Paola Viganò

This short essay is a reflection on territories and (interpretative) gazes. The title I use is a quotation from Baudrillard’s America.[1] It evokes, today, the urgent need to reconnect the intellectual work of architects and planners to reality and its mystery.[2] More specifically, it is an attempt to clarify how we work, what we do to start an investigation on space, when that very space we wish to explore and to understand is far beyond the scope of our exhaustive comprehension, when our capacities are clearly insufficient to cover its complexity. When our traditional tools appear inadequate and our time forcefully limited. When the scale is vast and far beyond the architect’s and urbanist’s domain. When, in fact, the problem cannot be tackled with the tools we have to hand. Read more

→ GAM 15 Territorial Justice
GAM 14 “Aesthetics Is a Tool to Understand Reality at Another Level, in a State of Suspension” Nicolas Bourriaud (NB) in Conversation with Milica Tomić and Dubravka Sekulić (GAM)

Leading theorist, curator, and director of the art center La Panacée in Montpellier, Nicolas Bourriaud, in his latest book, The Exform (2016, first published as La Exforma, 2015), introduces art as a tool to understand the world in which we are living. For him, art is an “optical machinery” having the ability to capture the neuralgic moments and diagnose the contemporary condition by revealing the ideological mechanisms of exclusion from the public sphere and distinguishing the productive and the product from the unproductive and the waste. Going back to Courbet, Bourriaud outlines the process of rehabilitating the despised as one of the corner stones of modernism and, consequently, of modern art. Read more

→ GAM 14 Exhibiting Matters
GAM 13 “The Things Outside”
On Architecture in the Arctic
Claudia Gerhäusser (GAM) in Conversation with Sebastian Behmann (Studio Other Spaces)

The idea of working in icy, arctic conditions evokes the association of an adventurous expedition into an inhospitable wilderness. The question arises as to whether and with which parameters space takes form in such a situation. Is it possible in this context to develop a different approach within the architectural practice, one that could be transferred to other sites and tasks? The office for art and architecture Studio Other Spaces, which evolved from the studio of artist Olafur Eliasson, is focused on addressing these questions. It probes and pushes boundaries in order to expand the established architectural vocabulary, building on the knowledge that problems can be solved in unconventional ways. The studio, which is headed by artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann, sets out to realize a research-based understanding of the things in the world. Projects by Studio Other Spaces enter uncharted territory and articulate the studio’s particular strengths in how they encounter the unexpected. In this conversation, Sebastian Behmann expounds on the studio’s proposal for Ilulissat Icefjord Park, explaining how Studio Other Spaces aims to make a difference—even though (or precisely because) they didn’t win the competition for this project above the arctic circle. Read more

→ GAM 13 Spatial Expeditions