Teaching and research are focused on the history and theory of contemporary architecture. The work conducted seeks to understand the profound changes in technology and society over the course of the twentieth century, on the one hand as the new framework for architectural production and on the other as new points of reference for architectural design. Current methodologies in the history and theory of architecture are thereby complemented by approaches derived from the history of technology and social history. Thus the traditional understanding of architecture – as a discipline defined primarily in terms of authorship – is called into question by comparing it with actual building practice. Architecture is here taken to encompass the artefact itself (hence architecture, including auteur architecture, plus any equipment, device or infrastructural installation that decisively influences the built environment), as well as the various factors and players involved (not only users and specialists but also building regulations, patents, economic constraints, and so forth). The aspiration to a “theory of practice” here implied seeks to elucidate those sources or media decisive for how architecture is envisaged today.

Research and teaching rest on a triple hypothesis. Architecture may be regarded at first as a technological system expressed in parameters such as construction, material or functional contexts. Accordingly the history of architecture may be understood as a history of technological development in the form of constructive innovations and functional improvements. Architecture is not simply technology, however; it also belongs to the realm of practical objects. Developments in architecture thus lead not only to a redesign of the built environment but also alter how the latter is experienced and perceived. It is therefore a matter of understanding what impact technological developments such as the mechanisation, automation or digitalisation of architecture have, also in relation to changes in the human body and its experience of the environment. Finally, such changes can be understood only in the light of their socio-political context, as an expression and perception of new – real or imagined – needs.
The challenge of teaching architectural theory lies in these contradictory preconditions. Neither a purely speculative approach, which superimposes a normative system on different cultural, social or technical developments, nor a model all too closely deducted from the professional practice and contradicting every systematic, can do justice to the task of this academic discipline.