“The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York (1967-1985). A Cultural Project in the Field of Architecture”
Department of Architecture (D-ARCH), ETH Zurich/Switzerland
For my doctoral dissertation (2007–2011) I produced the first comprehensive institutional and intellectual history of the legendary Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York (1967–85). The research involved extensive archival research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal and at various institutions in the New York metropolitan area, an oral history with over 100 people involved, and a textual analysis of publications and original documents.
In my institutional analysis, I focused on the Institute’s four main roles, which it performed in the 17 years of its existence and under the leadership of Peter Eisenman as a research platform, school of architecture, cultural institution and publishing house. The objective of this critical study was to challenge the dominant myth of the Institute as a think tank and to evaluate both its relevance for architectural education and for theoretical and historiographical debates in North America, as well as its impact on cultural production in architecture more generally.
During the preparation of my PhD thesis I presented my research at colloquia at MIT and Columbia. Since my defense, I gave papers on some chapters at symposia and conferences, i.e. on networks in architecture (TU Darmstadt), on the crisis of housing in 1973 (ETH Zurich), or the institutions
of architectural education (University of Pennsylvania). In addition, I published some essays in selected journals (Candide, Archithese, ARCH+).
I am currently working on the revision and translation of the dissertation into English, which will be published by gta Publishers at the ETH Zurich in 2014 and for which I have recently received a Graham Foundation Production and Publication Grant. The publication is addressed to the English-language market and as a reference book should make a contribution for future research on the Institute, on the architectural debate and architectural education in the U.S., on networks in architecture, on the transformation of architectural culture in the 1970s and in general the interrelation of knowledge and cultural production.
research at the CCA, February to June 2009
In the course of my PhD project, I visited the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) in Montréal several times in 2006, 2008 and 2009, to study both the Peter Eisenman Archives and the IAUS Archives, each time with a travel grant from the Erich-Degen-Foundation.
On the basis of a Joint Research Grant of the Department of Architecture at the ETH Zurich and the CCA, I spent four months from February to June 2009 at the CCA to study the IAUS Archive closely. One of my main insights was to focus on the four institutional roles, that the Institute had performed during the time of its existence as a research center, and architecture school, a cultural institution, and a publishing house, both as structuring device for further research and as the main structure of my thesis.
research in New York, August 2009 to July 2010
With a fellowship of the Swiss National Research Foundation, I lived and worked in New York for one year from August 2009 to July 2010 to work on an oral history of the Institute. My main objective was to understand extracts from individual biographies as part of a complex biography and to investigate the history and organization of a collective actor, by organizing, preparing and following up on interviews and by locating, screening and interpreting primary sources in private and public archives. Over the period of my research stay, I conducted over 100 interviews with more than 80 persons (Institute fellows, staff, trustees, faculty, students, interns, editors, critics, etc.), who were involved in the diverse cultural productions. The interviews, I have recorded, transcribed and analyzed. The information gathered feeds directly into the text production.
In addition, I have researched in various archives: personal archives which are publicly accessible or which have been made available by individuals; the archives of the Museum of Modern Art; archives of various private and public foundations or endowments (Noble Foundation, New York State Council on the Art, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, etc.); archives of architecture schools, in case they have archived material on their curriculum in the 1970s, and on public events that they organized (Columbia University, Cooper Union, Princeton University, Yale University); archives of Liberal Art Colleges, who had cooperated with the Institute (Sarah Lawrence College).
oral history of the IAUS
In the course of my PhD project on "The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York (1967-1985)", I have conducted interviews with the following individuals (in alphabetical order): Diana Agrest, Stan Allen, Emilio Ambasz, Andrew Anker, Samuel Anderson, Stanford Anderson, George Baird, Jonathan Barnett, Andrew Bartle, Michael Bierut, Thomas Bender, Vincent Benedetto, Barry Bergdoll, Deborah Berke, Rosemarie Bletter, David Buege, Colin Campbell, Walter Chatham, Kees Christiaanse, Nathaniel Coleman, Roger Conover, Joan Copjec, Douglas Crimp, Peggy Deamer, Livio Dimitriu, Linda Dukess, Peter Eisenman, William Ellis, Kurt Forster, Kenneth Frampton, Suzanne Frank, Mario Gandelsonas, Deborah Gans, Paul Goldberger, Peter Greenberg, Robert Gutman, Sarah Halliday, Laurie Hawkinson, Henry Hecker, Christian Hubert, Thomas Hut, Margot Jacqz, Louise Joseph, Brian Kaye, Kevin Kennon, Jonathan Kirschenfeld, Silvia Kolbowski, Randall Korman, Rosalind Krauss, Lawrence Kutnicki, Robert Lane, John Leeper, Theodore Liebman, Kevin Lippert, Peter Lynch, Andrew MacNair, Mary McLeod, Jay Measley, Richard Meier, Tom Mellins, Robert Meltzer, David Mohney, Elizabeth Moule, Joan Ockman, Miguel Oks, Kyong Park, Patrick Pinnell, Alan Plattus, Stephen Potters, Tim Prentice, George Ranalli, Mark Robbins, Joseph Rykwert, Pat Sapinsley, Michael Schwarting, Richard Sennett, Lindsay Shapiro, Coty Sidnam, Robert Silman, Carla Skodinski, Michael Sorkin, Suzanne Stephens, Robert Stern, Jon Stouman, Mimi Taft, Frederieke Taylor, Bernard Tschumi, Anthony Vidler, Massimo Vignelli, Lauretta Vinciarelli, Laura Waltz, Peggy Weil, Richard Wengenroth, Terrance Williams, Peter Wolf