Research Project
Architecture and the Automobile

Research Project
Erik Wegerhoff
Since 2017

Image: From the HAFRABA-Mitteilungsblatt, March 1932, Bibliothek des Deutschen Museums, Munich, Germany

The research project examined references to the automobile in the architectural debates of the twentieth century. With its fast-forward dynamics, the car embodied a constant fascination for the avantgarde, yet it stood in a difficult relationship to architecture, necessarily bound to the laws of statics. This conflict, however, proved to be an impressively creative one: It inspired theories and fantasies of a dynamic architecture as well as an intentional return to tectonics and heaviness. In that sense, the project examined tendencies of speeding up and slowing down in a debate spanning the entire twentieth century. Both buildings and writings were understood as contributions to this debate (from Le Corbusier’s Ozenfant Studio to Kenneth Frampton’s “Retour à l’ordre”) which was traced and examined mostly in journals (from Architecture vivante to ADAC Motorwelt).

Central outcome of this research project is the monograph Automobile and architecture: a creative conflict (Automobil und Architektur: Ein kreativer Konflikt) which was published (in German) by Wagenbach this autumn.


PD Dr. Erik Wegerhoff