Interdisciplinary Colloquia

To unpack the key question of how building is to be categorised in its cultural and technical significance within different historical and cultural contexts, an interdisciplinary colloquium on these central themes is organised every one to two years. These represent fundamental aspects of the ‘Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings’ cross-cutting theme and are particularly suited for interdisciplinary discussions. The two- to three-day interdisciplinary colloquia are intended to produce a complex, innovative overall view of the phenomenon of construction, as well as the historical epistemology of specialised research, and particularly resonate for the dissertations of the Research Training Group.

Fifth Interdisciplinary Colloquium “Shifting Values – Processes, Strategies and Conflicts in the Built Environment”

25–29 September 2019, Cottbus


Valuating the built environment is always part of a process of valuation influenced by political, economic and social circumstances. With the fifth interdisciplinary colloquium at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, the Research Training Group 1913 Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings will focus specifically on the changing valuation of the built environment.

Ever since antiquity, negotiating values has been part of philosophy and, with the advent of capitalisation of the modern world, theories of valuation have been discussed explicitly since the 19th century. Generally, values can be defined as something, which “for various reasons is being singled out from reality and presents itself as desirable and necessary for him, who valuates”[1].

Values direct human behaviour, which is always oriented towards the future and therefore imbued with uncertainty. Valuation bridges the gap between knowledge and action. Planning processes in particular are always linked to valuation, because they are directed towards the future and values are fundamental for the necessary decision making processes. At the same time, preservation and adaptation of built structures are based on long-existing patterns of thinking and deeply ingrained value systems.[2] Phenomena of shifting values can be observed when planning from scratch, when changing existing structures, during renovation and structural reinforcement.

At the interdisciplinary colloquium, processes of value appropriation, value internalisation and the (individual) formation of values will be discussed using specific examples from construction and planning history. These processes can range from antiquity to the present time and should be discussed using an interdisciplinary approach. The colloquium would like to specifically engage disciplines such as archaeology, architecture, construction history, architectural conservation, engineering, art history, sociology of space, urban and regional planning.

A recapitulation of the conference in English can be found here. The German version of the text was also published on H/SOZ/KULT.

[1]             Baran, Pavel: Werte, 806, in: Europäische Enzyklopädie für Philosophie und Wissenschaft, published by Sandkühler, Hans Jörg, Bd. 4, R–Z, Hamburg 1990, 805–815.

[2]             Starick, Anja: Kulturelle Werte von Landschaft als Gegenstand der Landschaftsplanung, Dissertation Technische Universität Dresden, Institut für Landschaftsarchitektur, Dresden 2015, 12.

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