What does update mean in the architecture and where do we need an update?
AJA 2020 is a radical update for the architecture faculty of TUM in two respects. It is the first annual digital exhibition and was initiated and organized by students for the first time. The exhibition raises the central questions of what kind of challenges architects and planners will have to deal with in the future and how social and political issues influence our architectural teaching. Is our system of architectural teaching and research at the cutting edge of today’s possibilities? Originally, AJA was planned as a physical exhibition of the academic year’s production in the rooms of the TUM and in the „Kunstareal“. Due to Corona crisis we had to change our concept to an online format within a very short time. Suddenly the topic “Update Architecture”, which we had already set in January, became more relevant than ever.
This semester we experienced a radical update in teaching and studying architecture. „Zoom“became the new meeting platform of our faculty. The continuing crisis already left clear traces in society and challengedarchitects and planners with numerous new topics: e.g. access to private outdoor space hasgota new meaning and more importance. Home office facilities are challenging office buildings and medical facilities are needed spontaneously. Developing our concept we asked ourselves “Are we UpToDate? Do contents and teaching methods already correspond to the different demands of our time?
Developing an update for architecture and architectural theory, we have to question conventional methods and have to establish innovative working methods that help us to work out new strategies. Even if updates require a certain amount of time, causing perhaps a short system downtime, it is advisable to do updates regularly, to reduce security risks and prevent damage from viruses.
We don’t need to reinvent architecture to meet today’s global challenges. Instead, we need to take a critical look on various areas of our discipline like town planning and rural development, buildings within existing structures, housing and public buildings, construction methods and the use of materials, but also our professional profile and practice, for flaws and viruses in the system. Climate change, increasing scarcity of resources, demographic change, housing shortages and rural flight are emerging challenges to name just a few. The evaluation is followed by the elimination of problems: space saving, crisis resistant urban and rural development, maintenance and conversions, use of renewable materials, recycling, a changed professional profile and inclusive planning processes. Certainly, this will also result in new approaches to solutions, smart technologies and innovative construction methods, new buildings, districts and entire cities. But it is mainly a matter of rethinking and improving deadlocked ideas and structures.
As a new format for presentation, the digital-AJA offers on one hand more and on the other hand less than an usual annual exhibitions. More, because it opens up to digital space, so that an unlimited number of visitors can access exhibition content, lectures and discussions. And less, because it follows a specific theme and shows consciously curated and selected content. The main focus of previous annual exhibitions was the presentation of design projects selected by professorships. Accumulated knowledge from seminars and research moved into the background. One of the most important decisions made by our team was to sort AJA according to theme rooms. We hope that this will lead to a stronger networking between different professorships and allow different answers to similar questions.
You, as a visitor, are asked to take a critical look at our work and you are invited to answer our questions in the commentary fields of the topic rooms. Feel free to take up your own position or to ask new questions. We are looking forward to your ideas, suggestions and criticism, which we would like to include in the next update.