Session B Data

Young Bauhaus Research Colloquium



Workshop Session B


Markus Schlaffke
Aritst/ Filmmaker, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Lost Sounds of Kabul.

When the international community entered upon nation building in Afghanistan in 2001, culture building followed in its wake. A number of these reconstructional attempts aimed at the musical culture, which had been the topic for political and religious controversy in Afghanistan in the past over a long period of time.
The devastation of traditional musical praxis, the loss of stylistic diversity and the impoverishment of musical forms became a cipher in cultural policy since then. While the iconoclasms of the Taliban, who had banned music in Afghanistan, outrage the west, the loss of specific auditive memories has left its traces in the cultural identity of many Afghans.
The “lost sounds” have thus become a projection of manifold intentions of reconstruction.
The collective memory of sound is being catalyzed by the ongoing process of digitalization that brings many forgotten auditive artefacts back to our attention. Historical archives are being digitized and published, ethnographic collections are being reevaluated, and private collections of music lovers are being published on social media networks in great numbers.
Among the growing transnational Afghan community, western institutions become key players in the aesthetical discussion of sound quality. Cultural promotion as well as research projects worldwide reshape the order of Afghan auditive identity perspectively.
Tonal memories thus become involved in dynamic processes of transformation and translation, which are driven by diverse policys of memory. Based on the lost sounds from Kabul, the project listens to the history of various involvements of aestethics and politics.

Markus Schlaffke studied Visual Communication and Fine Arts at the Bauhaus-University Weimar. As a filmmaker and media artist he produced numerous documentaries and participated in several exhibitions. Since 2012, he continuously travels to Afghanistan and documents the efforts to revive the music scene in Kabul. As a PhD candidate in the doctoral degree programme in Media Art at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar he continues these observations.

Francesco Sebregondi
Goldsmiths, University of London

A Million Tons of Cement Dust: Frontier Urbanisation in the Gaza Strip.

This paper presents a critical analysis of the ongoing process of reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. The 2014 operation code-named “Protective Edge” was not only the deadliest of the three attacks carried out by the Israeli military in Gaza since 2009; it also stands out for the extent of the destruction it brought about to the built environment. In spite of the critical need for reconstruction in the aftermath of the war, the blockade of Gaza remains in force. Brokered and managed by the UN, the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism was put in place to ease the entry of construction materials into the Strip. In practice, it consists of a database of unprecedented size and granularity, the operations of which are playing a central role in shaping a new urban condition in Gaza.
Rather than its initial outputs, it is the mechanism of reconstruction itself that the paper will examine most closely – namely the specific actors, techniques, instruments and protocols that it gears together to channel and modulate a material flow. In doing so, it will try to describe the constitution of a governmentality that takes the management of circulation as its object, and the urban as is its territorial form. In this perspective, the paper will argue that the ever-shorter cycles of un-making and re-making of Gaza’s urban fabric must be approached as a new model of urbanisation. Rather than a state of exception, Gaza increasingly constitutes the radical version of a new global norm.

Francesco Sebregondi is an architect, a researcher, and a graduate from the Centre for Research Architecture. Since 2011, he has been a Research Fellow at Forensic Architecture, and was formerly Coordinator of the collective project (2013–2015) and co-editor of its main publication, Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth (Sternberg Press, 2014). Francesco is the architect of the PATTRN project, an open-source tool for data-driven, participatory mapping designed to be used in the fields of conflict monitoring, human rights and citizen journalism. Between 2013 and 2015, he taught in the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, on the topic of “architecture and activism”. Since 2015, he has been a doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London. His current research explores notions of logistical power, data politics and planetary urbanisation.

Tommaso Franzolini

Fabrizio Ballabio

Digital Real Estate: Forecasting London’s Future Productive Landscape.

To address the city today is to engage with the entire spectrum of dynamic strategies and processes that shape the built environment that is still commonly referred to as real estate but that in truth is increasingly shaped by immaterial assets and once invisible infrastructures. Current trends highlight the convergence of energy, data and advanced manufacturing facilities within urban environments as a key driver of change for both lifestyles and real estate dynamics. By focusing on Greater London as a case study, the paper will provide an understanding of how current planning policies and development schemes are regulating and accelerating the emergence of the city’s future productive landscape, which can be termed Digital Real Estate.
The methodology of the research will consist of focused computational mapping and modelling exercises aimed at the spatial analysis of the layered sets of policies and market trends concerned with the development of Digital Real Estate. The objective is to develop both analytical and strategic tools to ground the topic within the discussion on architecture, the city and contemporary polity.
Although the research can be considered as a close reading of contemporary spatial practices within the realm of advanced technological infrastructures in metropolitan environments, it will also address their social and political implications in a given territory. Dealing with high performance building types conforming to global as much as local standards, we will not only inquire into their localization and supply chains but also their capacity to become employment generators and place-makers.

Tommaso Franzolini is a practicing architect and a researcher. Tommaso is currently project architect of the Advanced Technologies Sector for Scott Brownrigg Group in London, leading the strategic planning and architectural design of the largest Nuclear New Build project in Europe. Previously he worked at Foreign Office Architects in London on large-scale masterplanning and transport assignment. Tommaso is the founder and director of Factory Futures: a think tank at the Architectural Association School of Architecture run in partnership with the Adriano Olivetti Foundation and Gehry Technologies Europe. Through both practice and research activity, Tommaso continues to explore the European industrial heritage as a cultural matrix for the development of a new European productive landscape, including the development of innovative architectural strategies through computational design and manufacturing techniques.

Fabrizio Ballabio is an architect and educator based in London. He graduated in Switzerland at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio (AAM) and received his Masters with Distinctions at the Architectural Association in London, where he currently teaches as a Studio Master in architectural design and in the History and Theories Studies. Ballabio is a co-founder of åyr, an art and architecture collective reflecting on domestic space within the post-internet city. He has recently published in Harvard Design Magazine, Volume and the AA files. He has been a guest critic and lecturer in a number of Universities in UK and abroad. In 2016, Ballabio participated in the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale and in the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.

Wulf Böer
Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zurich

Breathing Walls and Windowless Buildings, or: Two Sides to an Atmospheric Utopia.

In the early decades of the twentieth century, the rapidly growing air-conditioning industry in the United States promised a new form of architectural interior. Recent inventions in modern ventilation technology, allowing for the full control of air’s heat, circulation, humidity and cleanliness, were accompanied by utopian concepts of life inside buildings. Proponents of artificial ventilation glorified total air-control as a vision of a bright and modern future, highlighting the potential benefits of hygienic, well-tempered spaces that were able to sustain the health and comfort of residents and optimize the efficiency of office workforces. If houses were equipped with uniformly climatized spaces in which controlled air and artificial lighting create a perfect environment, some engineers argued, any immediate physical connection to the exterior, such as windows, will inevitably become obsolete.
Meanwhile, intellectuals in Europe, such as former Bauhaus student Siegfried Ebeling (1894–1963), became equally engaged in the technical possibilities of controlling the atmosphere in buildings. In his nebulous, yet radical vision of a biologically inspired architecture of climate control, Ebeling conceives of the house as an organic structure, automatically mediating the flows of energy (air, light, radiation) between the inhabitant and the outer environment. He envisions the facade to become an organic building shell, a “breathing wall”. Contrasting the ideas of seemingly pragmatic engineers and those put forward by so-called avant-garde architects, this paper will explore concepts of atmospheric control developed during the 1920s and their relevance within the history of modern architecture.

Wulf Böer is a registered practicing architect, working both in the fields of theory and design. He studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich and the University of California, Los Angeles. Wulf gained experience working as collaborator at the firm Diener&Diener Architects, where he conducted several urban design and large-scale housing projects. His academic research focuses on technological and environmental aspects of architectural history in the twentieth century. Wulf is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at the ETH Zurich. The title of his dissertation is “Air-conditioning, Architecture, and Modernism. On the History of the Controlled Environment, 1906-1952”.


Ralph Stern received his professional and academic education in the United States and Germany. He has held professional licensure in Germany (Berlin) and maintains professional licensure in the United States (New York), where he is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and in Canada (Manitoba), where he is a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
He has extensive international teaching experience. Prior to joining the University of Manitoba as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Professor Stern taught in the United States and Europe, including at the Technical University Berlin and the University of the Arts Berlin, where he was co-director of the Program for Urban Processes. He served as Visiting Faculty for the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics; the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University; and the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art Program at MIT. He has also been a Research Associate in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Cambridge and is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Bauhaus University Weimar.
He lectures extensively, presenting research in the United States at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, MIT, University of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Dallas Architecture Forum. In Europe he has lectured at the Architectural Association London, University of Edinburgh, Cambridge University, American Academy in Rome / Bibliotheca Hertziana, Werner Oechslin Foundation, Art Historical Institute of Heidelberg University, Berlin Academy of the Arts and the Bauhaus University Weimar among many other venues.

Claudia Tittel (PhD) studied Art History, Cultural Studies and Architecture in Berlin as well as Paris. She received her PhD from the Humboldt University in Berlin. From 2009 to 2011, she was Assistant Professor at the department of Media Art at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig; from 2011 to 2015 for the Chair of Media History and Aesthetics at the department Art History at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Since 2015, she has worked as Assistant Professor for the Chair of History and Theory of Cultural Techniques at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. She has held numerous teaching positions at institutions including the Berlin University of the Arts, the University of Potsdam and the University of Music and Theater in Hamburg. Her curatorial projects include, amongst others, the festival “Re-*. Recycling_Sampling_Jamming. Künstlerische Strategien der Gegenwart” (Academy of Arts, Berlin, 2009) and the exhibitions “Editing Spaces. Reconsidering the Public” (Academy of Visual Arts, Vilnius, 2011), “Imaginary Landscape. Hommage to John Cage” (Kunstverein Gera, 2012), “Serielle Materialität. Imi Knoebel und Peter Roehr” (Kunstverein Gera, 2013), “Tilde. Die Anwesenheit der Abwesenheit” (Klinger-Forum Leipzig, 2013) and “Robert Seidel. Lux aeterna. Video Installations and Experimental Films” (Museum of Applied Art, Gera, 2015/16).