ARP – Architectural Cultures of the Recent Past – assembles researchers who examine architecture and its relation to conceptual discourses, materiality and artistic representations during the course of the twentieth century. The group studies the shifting relations between architectural form and meaning in theoretical debates and building practices. They draw on architectural history, art history, philosophy and the history of ideas. They look at architecture not just as a part of culture, but as a crucial site of culture itself. Architecture, so they believe, merges the lived-in order with the dreamed-of and offers a direct entry to understand the circulation of architectural knowledge.
Since ARP comprises of researchers from different backgrounds (philosophers, architects, architectural historians and cultural or art historians), it develops a transdisciplinary ambition when addressing material design and discourse production. Its aim is to unravel the interwoven aspects of ideas and design. This approach not only focusses on canonical texts or buildings but also on ‘minor’ sources like drawings, sketches, pictures, images or maquettes which are all seen as important producers and/or products of theoretical discourses.
The focus on the conception, materialization and transmission of architectural ideas and practices in the twentieth century, opens up a broad thematic field. The members of ARP work on projects including the history of architectural pedagogy and architectural theory; the re-use of heritage in a globalising world; spatial sensitivity and phenomenology; the forgotten connections between religion and architectural modernism; architecture and travelling culture.