Amelie Bimberg | André Kempe | Oliver Thill  

Over the last three decades, architectural production appears to decline under the global influence of neoliberalism. Contemporary architecture is asked to be cheap, neutral and adaptable – basically it is asked to be nothing but easy. Risks of any kind shall be avoided. Requests put forward are ever so often limited to aspects of great comfort, a sense of security and so called ‘sustainability’. Rarely, architectural expression is considered an essential part of the discussion. At best, it is degraded to a personal issue of the architect. Beauty – once it costs money – becomes a problem rather than a cultural intention. One might say, there is nothing for architecture to express. Aside from the omnipresent power of the market, a common objective for the 21st century’s built environment seems out of sight.

The research “architecture in the age of neo-liberalism” is centered around conversations with prominent figures of the European architecture discourse. By discussing their attitudes towards the relation of contemporary architecture, society and economic pressure, not the “how” but the “why” of each practice is highlighted. In order to deviate from popular yet unprecise terms of the periphery, the research is organized around architecture’s classical categories: Form, Ornament, Monument, Structure, ... Questioning as to what extent these concepts are in danger or simply in need of rewritten meaning.

An accompanying publication project aims to collate various forms of fleeting conversation into writing. All guests are invited for lectures in Hanover, followed by seminars with student groups as well as interviews with André Kempe, Oliver Thill and Amelie Bimberg. We now look back on a semester focusing on FORM with Anne-Julchen Bernhardt, Job Floris, Kersten Geers and Kuehn Malvezzi as well as a Semester on ORNAMENT with Dirk Somers, Thomas Padmanabhan, Hans Kollhoff and Ambra Fabi.