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Dresden International Symposium of Architecture
Aesthetics & Architectural Composition
In search of principles of visual order in buildings and cities
A SYMPOSIUM ORGANIZED BY THE CHAIR FOR SPATIAL DESIGN DRESDEN UNIVERSITY OF
16.06. - 19.06.2004
Dresden, Saxony's capital city, is located in the eastern part of Germany
close to the borders with the Czech Republic and Poland. The urban area is
dominated by the valley of the Elbe-River, with wide meadows and steep
hillsides framing the river valley. The legendary architectural heritage
includes world-renowned building ensembles especially from the Renaissance
and Baroque periods, e.g., the "Zwinger" by Poeppelmann, the Opera House and
the Gallery by Semper, the Cathedral, the Castle and the "Bruehl Terraces"
painted by the famous Italian painter Canaletto. The spectacular
reconstruction of the "Frauenkirche" cathedral has received worldwide
attention and is almost completed. Numerous architectural monuments have
contributed to Dresden's reputation as a city of remarkable beauty.
This International Symposium aims to resurrect a strong tradition in the
theory of aesthetics and architectural composition at Dresden University. Up
to the middle of the 20th Century, architectural education was organized
around three primary aspects: form, function and structure. While functional
and structural aspects still dominate the field, it seems that aspects of
building form and spatial aesthetics have been marginalized in the recent
practice of architectural education. This development can be interpreted as
a reorientation of architectural ideologies after WW2 as well as an
increasing insecurity and lack of consensus on criteria for the evaluation
of buildings and for the design of good architecture.
Yet despite disagreement on the right kind of principles that should be the
basis of good architectural form and space, for centuries there was common
ground for the assumption that good form can be systematically analyzed and
Principles of this kind can be traced from classical essays by Vitruvius,
Alberti and Palladio as well as in writings by french theorists such as
Blondel and Durand and even in modern manifestoes by Corbusier and Frei
Otto. Building composition was not an exclusive domain of architects, but it
was inspired by the arts and sciences such as painting and music as well as
physics and biology.
As one of the oldest schools of Architecture in Germany, Dresden has a long
and continuous tradition in the field of building composition. One of its
special characteristics is a unique link between architecture and landscape
architecture in one area of study and the subdivision of the department into
teaching clusters along the lines of funcional aspects of architecture. Both
research and education have been developed by architects such as Fritz
Schumacher and Otto Schubert, who revitalized that tradition after WW2, and
layed the foundation for a scientific description of the correlation between
optics and architectural design. At present, the organizing institute
focusses on the psychological foundations of architectural design as well as
on theories of proportion and mathematically based ordering systems of
To celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Technical University of Dresden
and the 125th anniversary of Prof. Otto Schubert, the Institute of Spatial
Design hosts a symposium on the role and relevance of form-finding and
form-generating processes in the recent field of architecture and design.
The focus of this symposium is to discuss the role, the relevance and nature
of a systematic and scientific discourse of architectural and urban form. A
particular focus will be the role of systems of mathematical order and
proportions in the design process. Furthermore, of interest is the aspect of
form as it relates to research in cognitive sciences and environmental
psychology. In summary, the overall framework of the conference is
architectural aesthetics and its application to the practice of design.
This call for papers addresses not only architects, urban designers and
planners, but also scientists, artists, philosophers, practitioners and
theoreticians from related fields. Below we list some themes around which we
would like to organize work-groups.
. The role and relevance of architectural aesthetics in a field that is
currently dominated by economic factors on the one side
and short lived architectural fashions on the other. Is there a contemporary
need for a discourse on building and urban design for
which transcend these aspects, and can such a revitalized focus improve the
overall qualities of our built environment?
. Which are the central, scientific findings to be identified for the
development of an understanding of architectural and
. Are there systems of visual order that have gained importance in the
design field both in history and the recent past?
Are there new theories on the horizon?
. What is the role of proportioning systems in contemporary architecture and
urban design. Can a rediscovery and further
development of such systems have an impact on the perceived visual qualities
. Digital tools for visualization and form generation: Order and harmony
generated by computerized algorithms.
Virtual realities as a test for spatial cognition. Shape grammars and form
. Psychological aspects of aesthetics and architectural design. The role of
perception and cognition in the process of form
The symposium is organized in sessions with presentations and discussions.
The presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes to allow for a
10-minute discussion afterwards. There will be poster-sessions where
presentations can be made on posters in A0-landscape-format. A detailed
schedule of events will be available at the conference and it will be sent
to participants two weeks before.
Please sent your abstracts and papers prior to February 1, 2004 via email
to: [email protected]
The conference languages are English and German.
TU-Dresden Fakultät Architektur
Lehrstuhl Raumgestaltung Prof.Dr. Ralf Weber
Zellescher Weg 17
01069 Dresden, Germany
Email: [email protected]
Tel.: +49-(0)351-4633 4473 Fax.: +49-(0)351-4633 5006
Location: BZW /Neues Hörsaalzentrum TU Dresden
Accommodation: Guesthouse of the TU-Dresden, Hotels
Conference fee of 100 EURO (US$ 110) includes:
Guided Tour through Dresden
Dinner on a Steamboat-trip on the Elbe-River
Broschures, and various conference documents
Deadline for fees: May 25, 2004 via international money order to the
If paid after that date or on site there will be an additional 30 EURO (US$
The organizers offer assistance in finding accommodation.
Abstracts to be received by February 1, 2004
Information of selected participants April 1, 2004
Registration via mail or email to be received by June 10, 2004
Payment of conference fee to be received by May 25, 2004
Registration in person June 16, 2004
Symposium June 16 -19, 2004