Gemeinsam Räume schaffen : Facetten kollektiven Arbeitens in Architektur und Planung

Faculty/Professorship: Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies  
Author(s): Herold, Stephanie; Stackmann, Sophie  
Title of the Journal: Journal of literary theory : JLT ; new developments in literary theory and related disciplines
ISSN: 1862-8990, 1862-5290
Publisher Information: Berlin : de Gruyter
Year of publication: 2022
Volume: 16
Issue: 1
Pages: 150-173
Language(s): German
DOI: 10.1515/jlt-2022-2020
Even though it is well known that only very few buildings have been planned and built by individuals alone, dominant conceptions of art and architectural history still are shaped by the idea of a few, self-sufficient artistic personalities. However, the fact that the production of architecture is always integrated into societal and social contexts, i. e., that it always takes place in interaction with a variety of actors, has garnered scholarly attention in recent years. At the same time, there has been increasing interest, from the point of view of architectural practice, in considering different forms of collaborative work. One specific form of this collaborative approach to work is that of the collective. During the interwar period, in particular, this concept was influenced by the various protagonists of classical modernism; in most of its iterations, it is based on a socio-critical foundation questioning established hierarchies (including the construct of a formative author figure) as well as the conditions of living and working under capitalism. Instead, they conceive of building as a task to be taken on by society as a whole. This idea already was politicised in the early Soviet Union, where it went hand in hand with a centralised notion of the state. In the German Democratic Republic, also, government building policy was tied in with this notion, as is evident from GDR agencies organising the entire building process in collectives. This led, at least in part, to resentment (discussed more or less openly) among contemporary architects, whose self-image as creative workers had thus been called into question (a fact which found expression in various debates about the organisation of working methods and the role of the author or collective leader within the collective). Certain persistent difficulties in the practice of architectural and art history – those in assessing and valorising buildings from that era – also reflect this problem: Even today, dispensing with a clear attribution of authorship apparently still is difficult (though this phenomenon may also be attributed to a lack of knowledge and understanding as regards the organisational and working methods of collectives at that time. Starting from this problem, the present article focuses on the various processes that take place during the creation of a work of architecture. One of the questions to explored is whether there are – or have been, historically – specifically ›collective‹ ways of ›doing architecture‹. In order to focus on this question from another angle, the article also points out significant parallels (and differences) between the working methods and self-image of architecture and planning collectives, then and now. Initially, work in collectives appeared to have taken a backseat after German reunification – a circumstance due in part, possibly, to the association of collective working modes with the failed socialist utopia of the GDR. In more recent years, however, there has been renewed interest in the topic of collective work. Taking up ideas from the interwar period, these new collectives usually choose to inhabit a decidedly critical framework which questions both widespread working methods and production systems. Terms such as ›participation‹, ›multidimensionality‹, and ›inclusion‹ have become core concepts, expanding the focuses of ›classic‹ collectives with genuinely contemporary perspectives. Here also the question arises, however, as to how this new focus is reflected both in the concrete work and in dealing with the created object or with spatial interventions. In partial answer, the first part of this article derives the genesis of the term or concept of ›the collective‹ from its sources in architectural history, before taking a closer look at the specific form the collective took in the GDR. Next, an empirical analysis examines the working methods of two collectives active in the GDR and today, respectively, are examined and contextualised vis-à-vis the respective contemporary discourse on collective work. This empirical investigation focuses on the conflicts surrounding the so-called Zitronenpresse (›lemon squeezer‹) in Gera, East Germany, a café building planned and built between 1973 and 1978 by several architect collectives, before being demolished in 1997 and, finally, reconstructed in a spatial intervention by a planning collective. Throughout, the juxtaposition of different working methods – represented by the different collectives in their respective historical and social contexts – serves as a basis for the presentation of ideas and practices of collective working in in architecture and planning. A concluding analysis then summarises the similiarities and differences between the two collectives – for example, with regard to their hierarchical structure, modes of everyday cooperation, and divergent notions of authorship.
GND Keywords: Deutschland (DDR); Architektur; Kollektiv
Keywords: Autorschaft, Werkbegriff, Kollektiv, DDR, Partizipation
DDC Classification: 720 Architecture  
RVK Classification: LK 79550   
Type: Article
Release Date: 12. July 2022