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05.11. – 07.11.2020

• online


International conference: Architecture_Metaphor

LOEWE-project: Architectures of Order

We commonly and ubiquitously use architectural metaphors in both everyday speech as well as various professional contexts. Yet we rarely, if at all, register this connection when we talk, for example, about software architects, thought constructs, pillars of society, the architecture of the brain or the façade a person puts up. At the same time, metaphors also feature prominently in the fields of architecture and urbanism, where they are being used for the development of design concepts and provide useful means to communicate, discuss and evaluate design features. Examples range from crystalline buildings to the fabric of a city, but also include Le Corbusier’s infamous description of houses as ‘machines for living in.’

Architecture_Metaphor aims to investigate the relationship between architecture and metaphors from two angles. On the one hand, we want to examine the relevance of metaphors in and for knowledge production within the fields of architecture and urbanism and how they affect both design practices as well as theoretical discourses. Yet, we are equally interested in the capacity of metaphors as productive mediators in processes of knowledge transfer between the fields of architecture and everyday knowledges and between architectural and other professional discourses, and an exploration of the metaphor’s potential as a lens that allows us to zoom in and examine the involvement of architecture as a cultural practice in processes of social ordering.

Registration is open now:

Participation is free but places are limited.






Day 1 – Thursday, 5 November


13h       Welcome
13.30    Panel 1: Environmental Matters

Juliana Yat Shun Kei, University of Liverpool, UK:
The Environmental Metaphors between Architecture and Ecology c.1965

Christian Vöhringer, Universität Stuttgart, Germany:
Ahh, Landschaft! Metaphorical uses of landscape in office, work and research environments

14.45     Break
15h         Panel 2: Organic Urbanisms

Lina Dima, University of Thessaly, Greece:
Organic City. Modern Aspects of the Biological Metaphor in Architecture and Urbanism

Alejandro Campos, TU Delft, Netherlands:
Analogy versus Metaphor. Aldo van Eyck’s poetic images in-between fields

16.15       Break
16.45      Social Event

with an introductory talk by Martino Stierli, MoMA, NYC, USA


Day 2 – Friday, 6 November


12.50      Short welcome to second day
13h         Panel 3: Metaphor as Method

Avishek Ray, National Institute of Technology Silchar, India:
The Highway as a Metaphor. COVID Pandemic and the Politics of Mobility

Peng Xue, University of Edinburgh, UK:
From Metaphor to Paradigm: The Apocryphal Stories of the Mustard Seed Garden Reveals Dashilar as Heterotopic Urbanism

14.15      Break
14.30     Panel 4: Knowledge Foundations

Michael Friedman, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany:
Changes of the Architectural Metaphor in Mathematics during the 19th and the 20th century

Michael Faciejew, Princeton University, USA:
The Documentation Center: A Material Genealogy of ‘Information Architecture’

15.45     Break
16.15      Panel 5: Metaphorical Frameworks

Inés Toscano, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany:
Metaphors at the Top! Denise Scott Brown’s Speculative Feminist Analysis of the Sociology of Architecture

Ingrid Quintana-Guerrero, University of Los Andes, Colombia:
Inmundo: Architectural Metaphors from the Edge of the World

Day 3 – Saturday, 7 November

11.50       Short welcome to third day
12h          Panel 6: Memories of Space

Nadia Falfoul, University of Kairouan, Tunisia:
Disturbing Scenes: Architecture as Metaphor in Women’s Stories

Juno Hoay-Fern Ooi, University of Malaya, Malaysia:
Architecture as Political Spectre: The Rangoon University Student Union (RUSU) Building

13.15       Break
13.30      Panel 7: Constructive Metaphors

Konrad Matyjaszek, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland:
Concrete Abstractions: Production of Working Architectural Metaphors in the Design Practice of Warsaw’s Socialist Realism (1949-1956)

Mokóládé Johnson, University of Lagos, Nigeria:
Yorùbá Metaphor in Contemporary Public Realm Architecture

Devika Prakash, TU München, Germany:
The Metaphorical ‘Co-Construction’ of the Smart City: Studying urban future as envisioned by India’s Smart Cities Mission

15h         Break
15.30     Closing Remarks

Olga Touloumi, Bard College, USA