Atmosphere - an investigation into the ephemeral

Seminar 2SWS/3ECTS IAAD/Dipl.A/Master.A

The concept of atmosphere troubles architectural discourse
- haunting those that try to escape it and eluding those that chase it.

Mark Wigley


According to Architects like Peter Zumthor, the struggle for a certain atmosphere is a necessary part of any architect's work. While in the high time of modernism, talking about such immaterial and bourgeois things like atmosphere was seemingly suspect, even the modernists did never fail to create a certain type of atmosphere.

What is atmosphere nowadays - just the sum of cheap ingredients to furnish shopping malls, or the driving force behind architectural design?

This class, starting immediately after the Bauhaus-Kolloquium, will investigate one of the predominant topics in architectural discourse: the creation of atmospheres in architecture.

We will investigate the phenomenon and the emanating theory from many sides, using a phenomenological approach as well as a text-based one. Starting with the analysis of various buildings perceived as 'atmospheric', each session will be assigned a topic and reading(s).
Discussions will be started by student presentations.
Each student will prepare a paper analyzing one or two buildings from a critical standpoint based on the texts they read and discussed, to be put together as a reader.

Participants are strongly encouraged to attend the Bauhaus-Kolloquium, especially the workshop 'Architecture and the Senses' on Saturday, April 3, 2009, 9.00h, Oberlichtsaal.

The class sessions, as well as most of the literature will be bilingual German/English.

open to:
Diploma A., Master A., IAAD, other programs (master/diploma level)
3 ECTS / 2SWS Testat
participation in class discussions, reading and preparing texts, presentation, final paper (analysis).


Dipl.-Ing. Olaf Pfeifer M.A.

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter 2005-2012


Dipl.-Ing. Kristian Faschingeder

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter 2008-2010