KIT Karlsruhe Architecture Symposium 2023

KIT Fakultät für Architektur | Englerstr. 7 | 76131 Karlsruhe

Growing climate awareness puts architects in a position to comply with more and more specific demands from society, targeting the core of the profession from the outside. In response to these demands, positions emerged within the discipline, promising sustainable approaches to ecological resilience, social inclusion, and economic responsibility:

The Promise of Participation

Participation challenges the idea of the architect as sole author. Built upon the idea of “Nothing about us without us,” architects no longer serve as the principal decision-makers; instead, they act as mediators of the interests negotiated by others. To what extent can this shifted role still produce what was formerly known as architecture? Does the promise of participation lead to “Architecture without Architects”, or rather to “Architects without Architecture”?

The Promise of Climate Design

Advancements in scientific research have opened up new avenues for designing and controlling climates. Data production and collection become key to evaluating architectural projects. The emergence of new models questions the adaptation and updating of past architectural constructions. Does the promise of climate design narrow the discipline to aspects that can be simulated, measured and controlled? 

The Promise of Circularity

If we consider buildings as temporary configurations of components to be reused or designed for future disassembly, we risk reducing buildings to nothing but the sum of their parts. Does the promise of circulation and a known afterlife for all components of a building fall in the same trap as previous attempts to control the future of a man-made system? Do we really want to extinguish decay  and prevent the ruin?

The Promise of Agency

Professionalized developers drain a substantial amount of money from construction and project development, enticing architects to promote self-initiated projects and identify alternative funding strategies. To shift agency to those outside of the conventional power structures that shape the built environment promises political and social relevance for architecture. Does this promise of agency really change how architectures are produced, or does it produce a tokenized new value to overcome the traditional competitive structure?

The Promise of Form

The current change of shared values comes with a catalog of objective forms deduced from best practices directly impacting architectural expression. Is this how we want architecture to look? How can architectural form free itself from this new functionalism without denying the changed conditions? What about form can be discussed without slipping back (or forward) into meaningless formalist clichés?
The symposium brings together experts from practice and academia to establish a platform for dialogue and debate: we want to investigate the challenges these promises face rather than the promises themselves. We want to get behind and ahead of assumed value changes and new conventions. The symposium will be live-documented, and a final protocol transcript will be released shortly after its closing.


The program of the Symposium is structured as a continuous conversation spanning over two days. During six sessions dedicated to six different „promises“, invited speakers will interact with respondents mainly from the KIT architecture Faculty. The sessions will consist of a back-and-forth between the pair of speakers short presentations and the pair of respondents reactions. The speakers and the respondents will build the theoretical background in conversations beforehand.

20.10.23 Day 1
welcome and coffee

10:00-10.30 Intro
welcoming addresses

Session 1
Promises Upon Request

Simon Hartmann, KIT – Why Promises?
Mariana Santana, KIT – Promised
Federico Coricelli, KIT – Promises of Symposia
Marc Angélil, ETH Zürich
Anna-Maria Meister, KIT

Lunch break

14:00 – 16:00
Session 2 
The promise of participation

Jane Hall, Assemble
Tiago Mota Saraiva, Atelier mob
Anna-Maria Meister, KIT
Maroje Mrduljaš, University of Zagreb


Dirk Hebel and Ludwig Wappner 
Book presentation „Sortenrein Bauen“
Moderated by Christian Inderbitzin

17:00 – 19:00
Session 3 
The promise of climate design 

Philippe Rahm, Philippe Rahm Architectes
Charlotte Truwant, Truwant+Rodet 
Joaquin Medina, KIT
Georg Vrachliotis, TU Delft


21.10.23 Day 2
welcome and coffee

Session 4
The promise of circularity

Jan de Vylder, AJDVIV
Kerstin Müller, Zirkular / KIT
Mariana Santana, KIT
Marc Frohn, KIT 

Marc Angélil On errors

Lunch break

14:00 – 16:00
Session 5
The promise of agency

Dijana Vučinić, DVARP / KIT
Nanne de Ru, Powerhouse Company
Angelika Hinterbrandner, KNTXTR / ETH Zürich
Federico Coricelli, KIT


Lars Lerup on his forthcoming book “Distance”
with Marc Frohn and Simon Hartmann

17:00 – 19:00
Session 6 
The promise of form

Christine Binswanger, H&deM
Mark Lee, Johnston MarkLee
Marc Angélil, ETH Zurich
Simon Hartmann, KIT

Closing Party

KIT-Department of Architecture
Fritz-Haller-Lecture Hall
Englerstraße 7
76131 Karlsruhe

Free participation
No registration necessary
The event will be streamed online.

Zum Kalendar hinzufügen