The development of the AJA – An annual exhibition by students for students
Since 2014, the Faculty of Architecture of the TUM has been presenting the highlights of an academic year in annual exhibitions. So far, they have taken place with different concepts, changing organisational bodies and at different locations. In 2019, we students joined forces with the aim of establishing a recurring annual exhibition with a permanent exhibition concept at our faculty. Over the past year, in cooperation with the Chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial Practice of Prof. Andres Lepik, we developed a new concept for an annual exhibition that would take place annually after the end of the summer semester in the rooms of the TUM Architecture Faculty.
We had to adapt our original exhibition concept for the summer of 2020 because a physical exhibition at TUM is unfortunately not possible due to the current Corona regulations. AJA 2020 becomes a digital exhibition.
Update Architektur! – the topic of AJA 2020
New start. For us, this is the big topic of 2020, not only in relation to our new exhibition format. We want to shed light on these changing times from the perspective of architecture students. What does the new decade bring with it? What challenges do we as architects have to face? To what extent do the various earlier generations influence today’s designers? How do we deal with current social and political issues in teaching? Are we up to date?
Throughout the semester, we collected different opinions on the questions of what an update in architecture means and where we need an update at the TUM Faculty of Architecture. Contributions include quotes from a student survey, excerpts from interviews with research assistants (DurchDieWand), edited trailers from supporting program contributions from student initiatives and the doctoral student pitches.
More on the topic of Update Architektur!
The icons on website home page represent the nine theme rooms in which works on various aspects of Update Architektur! are exhibited. By clicking on the black arrows, visitors can access the bachelor exhibition in the Weißer Saal, the semester exhibition of the Professorship of Visual Arts in the Königssaal and the map of the city outside, which shows the locations of the shop window exhibition.
The colorful symbol in the middle links to content related to the topic Update Architektur. The yellow star leads to the supporting program – the AJA TV, a YouTube channel for lectures, talks and other contributions. In the background, a floor plan of the TUM university building is shown, which establishes a link to the venue of the Faculty of Architecture – the heart of our everyday study life.
In addition to thetheme room navigation, conventional navigation via a menu bar and the search function makes it easy to find specific information.
All contents of the exhibition are available from August 13th2020 until the end of October 2020. After the end of the exhibition, only individual contributions and memories will be shown and the next AJA 2021 will be announced. The digital exhibition’s limited duration is very important to us, since the annual exhibition is not intended to compete with existing (archive) formats such as tum.collect and the websites of the chairs, but on the contrary, to provide them with a new format.
Contents of the exhibition
We have organized the diverse contents of the annual exhibition in nine themed rooms that discuss various questions and aspects of Update Architektur!. This type of presentation allows the viewing of various works – design and theoretical projects, research papers, contributions from seminars, publications – from different chairs and institutions of TUM’s Faculty of Architecture, sorted by topic, thus creating new thematic interconnections within the faculty.
In these theme rooms we wonder how we will/ should deal with the challenges and possibilities of our time: How will smart technologies and alternative construction methods change our buildings and lifestyles? How will redensification combat the housing shortage in the cities? What spatial concepts can be generated for regions experiencing rural exodus? How can conversions help to preserve and use valuable stock? What new living and working concepts do we need in a changing society? How can we build in a climate-friendly way? And, what do we actually think about the built architecture of today?
We also focus on the various teaching and research methods, and the communication of architecture at our faculty: Do we need new visionary illustration techniques such as photorealistic renderings or can we get by with traditional representations such as hand drawings, watercolors and interior models? Do new formats like DesignBuild and interdisciplinary projects help us to answer current questions? How do we undertake research in architecture? What role does digital teaching play, especially given the current situation?
A part of the exhibition is dedicated to impressions of the special summer semester 2020 (#stayhome). We ask: How do crises like the Corona Pandemic, but also climate change or the flight from war change our built environment and ways of life?
We are also integrating the presentation of all bachelor theses and the semester exhibition of the Professorship of Visual Arts into AJA 2020.
Selection of works
In the planning process, we have intensively dealt with the question of which works we want to show at the annual exhibition and how we can select suitable projects.
From the very beginning it was important to us to dedicate the annual exhibition to a current topic, which is discussed through contributions from teaching and research. This decision was accompanied by the decision to curate the exhibition contents by an organizing team. We therefore formed a curatorial team consisting of all seminar participants as well as the head of the seminar (Prof. Andres Lepik), which was responsible for the selection of all contents. Nevertheless, it was of great importance to us to always let the individual students and researchers of the Faculty of Architecture participate in the various planning phases.
We therefore developed a strategy for the selection of the works, through which we could, on the one hand, compile high-quality content that fits the exhibition topic and, on the other hand, enable every member of our faculty to be part of the annual exhibition. We worked closely with the faculty’s chairs and institutions, who made suggestions for works on the various aspects of Update Architektur!and then invited the authors to contribute. We also invited students and researchers to submit their own work on Update Architektur!, which we were able to classify thanks to prior consultation with the chairs.