Re-scaling the Environment. New Landscapes of Design 1960-1980

Organizer: Titular Professor's Chair Moravánszky
Date: Friday, 28 November 2014 to Saturday, 29 November 2014

Conference at the ETH Zurich, 28/29 November 2014 Institute gta, Theory of Architecture, Prof. Dr. Ákos Moravánszky

East West Central 02:
Re-scaling the environment.
New landscapes of design, 1960–80


The years between 1960 and 1980 were a period of a hitherto unknown scale of building production both in East and West Europe. The rhetoric of "great numbers", "no-stop city" or "megastructure" reveal the advent of new dimensions in architectural thinking. The shift from objects to processes, systems and networks went hand in hand with rapid modernization and gave rise of technocratic concepts and utopian ideals. Economic recession and social upheavals fueled a crisis-consciousness from 1968 on, leading to a widespread criticism of modernization and modern architecture which can be seen as a counter-current to the temptations on bigness.

After "Re-humanizing Architecture. New Forms of Community, 1950-1970" our second East West Central symposium focuses on the expansion of the territory of architecture between 1960 and 1980. The aim of this symposium is to analyze how architects in East and West reacted to such contradicting pressures, questioning the disciplinary confines of architecture as well as basic tenets of modernism.

The presentations of this conference will trace the development of novel approaches and strategies for a systemic and comprehensive design of the built environment and for architectural and territorial planning since the 1960s. Transdisciplinary encounters with new subjects such as cybernetics but also with established disciplines such as economic planning and sociology had a profound influence on architecture and urbanism. New ideas of scale, efficiency and centrality were fostered by new means of traffic, programming and production in all parts of Europe. We ask to what extent these innovations and shifts in both scale and method within the practices of architecture and urbanism were symptoms of convergence and/or outcomes of the competition between different economic and political systems. The conference will examine strategies behind the material, conceptual and design-oriented changes that have fundamentally transformed the European landscapes across the East-West dichotomy. It also seeks to trace exchanges and knowledge transfer between agents across the political divide through international professional networks.

Please find the conference program here.
Conference participation is open to everyone. As the number of seats is limited timely reservation is requested.

Prof. Dr. Ákos Moravánszky (chair), Dr. Karl R. Kegler (coordinator)

Department of Architecture
Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture gta
Chair for the Theory of Architecture
Prof. Dr. Ákos Moravánszky
ETH Zurich, Hönggerberg


Prof. Dr. Karl R. Kegler