Prof.dr. G. Vrachliotis

Professor Theory of Architecture and Digital Culture - Department of Architecture

The key question for architects at the beginning of the 21st century is: what does it mean to design in a society that seeks its balance between Artificial intelligence and the datafication of all areas of life, increasingly rapid global migration, and urgent environmental issues?

The productivity of the technological unrest

My vision is to intellectually strengthen the discipline of architecture for the emerging age of artificial intelligence and to work towards a more social environment. The current technological unrest, which many are all too quick to confuse with a crisis of architecture, is actually a great source of productive potential.

Imaginations and the digital organization of architecture

Today the cultural space is far too digital to be understood only in a cultural sense – just as the digital space is far too cultural to be understood only digitally. Technological questions always imply cultural questions – and vice versa. Admittedly, this may sound like a truism at first, but it’s often not self-evident.

Taking this thesis as a starting point, it becomes clear that the search for a cultural manifestation of the digital sphere/realm is not a straightforward narrative, but one of dynamic controversies, heated debates, dreams and anxieties.

I therefore critically explore what imaginations are driving the digital organisation of architecture and our society. That means that it is by no means just about describing the emergence of new technologies. It’s not enough to just list and chronicle digital tools. Instead I investigate how a certain understanding of the digital in architecture gives rise to a ‘technical will’ (source: Hans Blumenberg) to design.

The influence of the digital realm

While our technological knowledge never seems to stop growing, the cultural, social and political impact of the digital realm handle on a daily basis is increasingly difficult to describe and define. 

This clearly demonstrates that digital technologies should be understood as an instance of introspection that no longer requires the strict definition or determination of a particular subject area. What is called for now is to open up to the idea of digital technology and reflection on digital technology as a constant intellectual catalyst and a source of new challenges for architecture. 

Accordingly, we must pay close attention to the current global and transnational discourse on the digital as well as to our own personal thoughts. The way to do so is to relate the histories of digital technology in architecture, time and time again: to put them in their respective historical context, and to discuss them theoretically.

From 2016 Georg was dean of the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) Faculty of Architecture and Chair for Architecture Theory (2014-2020). Previously he conducted research at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zürich. He studied architecture at the Berlin University of the Arts and did his PhD at the ETH Zürich in 2009. 

Besides that he was a visiting researcher at the Center for Cognitive Science of the University Freiburg, at the Spatial Cognition Center of the University Bremen, and at the UC Berkeley Department of Architecture in California. From 2006 to 2010 he was a guest lecturer on architecture theory at the TU Wien in Vienna. Georg Vrachliotis is member of the advisory board of the magazine ARCH+ and external examiner at Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL London.

He curated the exhibition “Fritz Haller. Architect and Researcher” at the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum in 2014 in collaboration with the Institute for History and Theory  (gta) at ETH Zurich (catalogue published by gta Publisher in 2014, with Laurent Stalder), the exhibition “Sleeping Beauty. Reinventing Frei Ottos Multihalle” (catalogue published by Spector Books in 2018) on the occasion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2018. Most recently he curated the exhibition "Models, Media and Methods. Frei Otto's Architectural Research" at the School of Architecture at Yale University (2020).

“My vision is to intellectually strengthen the discipline of architecture for the emerging age of artificial intelligence and to work towards a more social environment.” 

- Georg Vrachliotis

Georg Vrachliotis


Photo: Bernd Seeland, 2020