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Practicing and Teaching Building Construction - Lecture Series & Panel Discussion
Jaafar Chalabi, Alex Gräf, Carmen Wiederin, Peter Massin, Diego Jiménez, Juana Sánchez, Rames Najjar

thu 1/12/16 at the institute
16-18 lectures by all the participants
18-20 panel discussion

FRI 2/12/16
10-11 lecture by Diego Jiménez and Juana Sánchez at the institute

Teaching Construction at University for contemporary and future practice Universities have a duty to research and develop, to advance our subject and promote original enquiry.
It is right and essential that it does this independently from the daily pressures of practice and instead facilitates genuine innovation, establishes future work flows and develops the profession in parallel with the latest advances in fabrication and construction techniques. On the on the other hand the architect’s everyday, however, largely consists of solving in technical terms mundane and often uninspiring problems.
Due to buildings’ complexity and economic and legislative pressures, these problems are challenging and time consuming, but students can find themselves unprepared for the realities of professional life and the impact they have on their ability to realise their ideas. Universities need to ensure employability whilst remaining on the cutting edge of the profession. However, limited resources forces prioritisation of their teaching and research focus and generates pressure to advance some theoretical positions and practical models of thought over others.
This series of lectures and subsequent podium discussion hopes to shed light on these diverse positions, explore pedagogic avenues, and discuss the importance of construction technology teaching at universities by addressing the following questions:

- What is and will be the impact of digital design and fabrication / manufacturing technologies, and when and to what extent do they necessitate a shift in the way we teach technology.
- Technical sophistication in the vast majority of buildings we produce today appears to lag behind the true state of contemporary technological advancement by several years. Considering the high competition within the industry, one would expect advances in the way we can do things to be reflected more immediately and directly in the way we actually construct today.
- How can we explain this inertia, and what can be done to overcome it?
- How do we, as architects, define innovation and what is the purpose of it?
- Are we prioritising innovation in design methodologies over the needs and requirements of the industry, and if so, are we right in doing so?
- Given the physical nature of architecture and its purpose to produce something physically tangible, isn´t the role of the digital to be viewed as strictly subservient?

Jaafar Chalabi DI. Dr. Tech.
architect and set designer
www.chalabi.at
Chalabi Architects is a Vienna, Austria based international Architectural Firm which was established in 1992 by the brothers Talik and Jaafar Chalabi. The firm’s legal framework was changed in 2006 to a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The firm established in 2010 a branch office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Chalabi Architekten und Partner explore for each task, a unique design that reflects the site specifics and the client’s brief. The cultural diversity of the firm’s founders and multinational team, explore a spectrum of alternative solutions before presenting them to the Client. Offering the Client good value for money is a fundamental credo of the firm. The firm received Merit Awards in Design Excellence such as the Austrian State Prize for Experimental Architecture, Prix Benoit and King Fahad Award for Design and Research in Islamic Architecture.

Alexander Graef DipArch MSc RIBA

www.agraar.com
Alex Graef is an architect living and working in London. He is founder and director of Alex Graef Associated Architects, a practice driven by high design ambition combined with a strong ethos of technical innovation and collaboration across disciplines. As author of and academic responsible for the development and validation of new courses and curricula, Alex has been deeply immersed in the contemporary conversation about the role of technology teaching in the context of new architectural tool sets and a changing profession in general. He wrote, set up and directed new courses at the Lincoln School of Architecture and led a ‘Makers’ research group with focus on design research and the role of digital and analogue production and manufacturing techniques in architectural design processes.

Carmen Wiederin
www.propellerz.at
propeller z entwickeln ihre konzeptuelle Architektur in produktiver Auseinandersetzung mit Sachzwängen und Funktionserfordernissen. Konzeptuell meint daher ihren Umgang mit Prozessen, die einerseits der Gestaltung voran gehen und andererseits aus der Gestaltung resultieren sollen; sie betreffen sowohl ihre Arbeitsweise als Team mit wechselnden Konstellationen als auch die gestalterischen Entscheidungen im Feld unterschiedlicher formaler Möglichkeiten. Die Gruppe agiert dabei gelassen interdisziplinär und unaufgeregt international. Die einzelnen Mitglieder sind geübt in Balanceakten zwischen Spezialistentum und Generalismus, Individualismus und ihrer Identität als Gruppe.

Peter Massin
Peter Massin is an architect and researcher who operates in the field of digital design and responsive architecture. He was born in Berlin, graduated in Innsbruck with distinction and worked for several offices, including LAAC architects. Since 2013 he holds a teaching position at the Institute for Experimental Architecture in Innsbruck led by Prof. Dr. Marjan Colletti. In 2016 he founded his own office ‘massinarchitecture’. He is co-organizer of the doctoral research colloquia ‘IARC’. Peter is a doctoral candidate; his work deals with the theme ‘The Responsive and the New Ornament’. The research investigates reactive architectural elements with inherently ornamental properties.

DJarquitectura
www.djarquitectura.com
DJarquitectura was founded in 2001 by Diego Jiménez López (1972, Motril, Spain), PHD degree in 2016, and Juana Sánchez Gómez (1972, Baza, Spain), PHD degree in 2016, both architects. They have been Lecturer of Architectural Design and Urbanism at the School of Architecture in Malaga since 2010. They are members of the investigation group “ Urban Recicling and Eficient dwelling”, that belong to Malaga, Sevilla and Granada University. They graduated in landscape master at Institut für  Landschaftsarchitektur, Berlin University. DJarquitectura has been awarded with several prizes both in national and international competitions, outstanding amongst The 1st Prize in Europan VII, VIII, X and XI. Its work has been recognized with several prestigious awards like Enor prize, AR or Bauwelt, finalist in European Mies Van der Rohe Award. They have been invited to give several classes and lectures about their professional practice at Las Palmas University, the Madrid School of Architecture (Camilo José Cela) Technische Universitat Munchen, Alicante Univesity. They were members of the Europan XII and XIII jury. They have been part of important exhibitions at RIBA (Londres), Dordrecht (Holanda), eme3-CCCB Barcelona, Atenas (Grecia), Viena, Cáceres, Ceuta, Munich, Granada, Elda, Alicante. Nowadays Diego and Juana combine their professional and teaching practice with the development of their respective Ph.D. Thesis at Granada University.

Rames Najjar
www.najjar-najjar.com
The Vienna and Beirut based practice Najjar & Najjar was founded in 1999 by Professor Karim Najjar and Professor Rames Najjar, and is renowned for its highly original work. Its designs are not only innovative and visually striking, but also highly functional - inspired by both nature and technologies transferred from various industrial domains. Activities include designing commercial buildings, residences, bridges, interiors, and furniture. Since 2006, the practice has also been involved in yacht design and won an award for innovative yacht design concepts. The affinity to ship building is tangible throughout their body of work. The architect’s interdisciplinary design approach and their research in different fields as buoyant and kinetic structures give the architects their specific edge. Since 2014 Rames is Professor at the University of Innsbruck / Austria teaching building construction and is involved in different research projects.
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