Two Marie Curie Individual Fellow grants awarded

Two researchers of the Chair of Methods & Analysis have been awarded with Marie Curie Invididual Fellow grants for their research proposals with Tom Avermaete. Cathelijne Nuijsink investigates the possibilities for a new analytical research methodology to rewrite the history of modern architecture into a more inclusive and unbiased ‘cross history’.  Aleksandar Stanicic works on investigating manifold narratives of post-war urban transformation of cities in all the complexity of political, economic and cultural transition of post-socialist societies.

Architecture as a Cross-Cultural Exchange

Architecture as a Cross-Cultural Exchange: The Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition, 1965-2017
Cathelijne Nuijsink and Tom Avermaete

To open up new lines of inquiry for the writing of architecture history currently caught up in ‘static’ chronological periods, geographic preferences, heroic figures, aesthetic styles, and fixed gender categories, it is necessary to introduce an entirely new analytical research methodology to the field of architecture. This project investigates the possibilities of such alternative approach by organizing history around complex cross-cultural exchanges, or “contact zones”, between different architecture cultures. To elucidate the potentials of such social spaces ‘where different cultures meet and inform each other’, I focus on an unprecedented example in architecture culture where “East” and “West” meet: The Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition (SKRDC). SKRDC is an international housing idea competition organized by the Japanese architecture magazine Shinkenchiku since 1965. Through not only studying the competition briefs of the past 52 years, the characteristics of the winning entries and multiple honourable mentions and the judges’ final remarks, but also the difference in nuance between the Japanese and English debates resulting from the actual design proposals as well as the wider ‘aftereffects’ disseminating into both Japanese as well as English literature, I trace the reciprocal transfer of architectural knowledge and how that affected larger local and international architectural debates. While the SKRDC here serves as a qualitative case study to develop and test my analytical research method, the larger aim of this study is to construct a new historical narrative. By applying the analytical model to different architectural contact zones around the globe, I foresee to contribute to the rewriting of the history of modern architecture into a more inclusive and unbiased “cross history”, which is non-static and interdisciplinary in character and includes hitherto underrepresented aspects such gender dimensions.

Transition urbicide: Post-conflict reconstruction in post-socialist Belgrade

Aleksandar Stanicic with Tom Avermaete

The project investigates manifold narratives of post-war urban transformation of cities in all the complexity of political, economic and cultural transition of post-socialist societies, taking for a test-bed the revealing case of Belgrade after the 1999 War between NATO and FR of Yugoslavia. Research on modalities and complex socio-political context in which transformation of post-war cities occur demand collection and processing of interdisciplinary sources and documents (secondary objective of the project), followed by the construction of histoire croisée of multiple actors (the primary objective) involved in reconstruction processes. Work programme is specifically tailored to achieve these goals. I will join the team of researchers at TU Delft engaged in the emerging field of documenting urban conflicts and exploring post-war urban environments. There I will use TU Delft’s web platform for spatial data collection to develop new sections of the digital archive that will contain diverse material on post-war reconstruction of Belgrade. Then I will undertake extensive training at ETH’s Institute of Digital Architectural History (secondment phase) that will help me improve on the cutting-edge tools for automatized data analysis and processing of digital architectural archives. I will then apply this knowledge to analyse collected material and develop new research protocols for architectural historiography of post-conflict cities. During the return phase at TU Delft I will transfer acquired knowledge to students and peers, refine conclusions on “transition” urbicide in Belgrade and disseminate research results.Finally, the project will offer new set of guidelines for impending urban reconstructions in active conflict zones that will shape the research of war and post-war transformation of cities in the coming years.