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Winter term 2023/24

• TU Darmstadt

Research Workshop on the History of the Institute for Tropical Building in Darmstadt (1960s–1990s)

Adrian Franco, Dr. Frederike Lausch

In the winter semester 2023/24, Adrian Franco, PhD student at the Department of Modern History at FB 02, and Dr. Frederike Lausch from the Department of Architecture and Art History at FB 15 of TU Darmstadt will organize a seminar in the form of a research workshop on the history of the Institut (Arbeitsgruppe) für Tropisches Bauen at the former TH Darmstadt.

In 1970, a group of architecture students from Darmstadt travelled by car to Accra, the capital of the Republic of Ghana, and back again. The aim of this transcontinental journey was to document climate-adapted building techniques on site. At the same time, an Institute for Tropical Building was taking shape in the Department of Architecture. The founding of this institute coincided with a period of structural change at the TH Darmstadt. Until the 1990s, students explored building projects in the so-called Global South. Student papers, field trip reports, field studies and research publications were produced. The Institute, or later the Department of Planning and Building in Developing Countries, attracted international students and a global network of researchers and institutions emerged.

The research seminar is dedicated to the documents produced by the Institute for Tropical Building and the Department of Planning and Building in Developing Countries, and interrogates the perception of “developing countries” at the time and the forms of knowledge transfer. The aim of the seminar is to tap the preserved sources in group work, to analyse them critically and by means of digital humanities methods, and to make them accessible to an interested public in the form of a digital exhibition (website). The seminar is aimed at Master’s students of architecture and history and strives for an interdisciplinary dialogue through approaches in architectural history, the history of knowledge and the history of institutions.