saai lecture with Ines Weizman and launch
Egon Eiermann Digital
Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 7:00 PM
With the introduction of the saai-Lectures, an annual lecture series featuring international guests, the Archive for Architecture and Structural Engineering (saai) actively integrates itself into the discourse of built environments as a dynamic hub of knowledge. Archives are the foundation of a sustainable future, the basis for the examination of societal heritage, and a generator of ever-improving questions.
Ines Weizman is the guest speaker with her lecture titled "Fevering Archives: Records, Documents, and Their Annotations." Ines Weizman is a member of the Centre for Documentary Architecture (CDA), a Professor of Architectural Theory and Design at the Academy of Fine Arts, Institute for Art and Architecture in Vienna, and the Head of the PhD Program in Architecture at the Royal College of Art.
In her lecture, she explores a series of encounters with architectural archives dealing with the more than a century-long history of architectural modernism. Prof. Weizman will demonstrate how documents, photographs, and even material samples can be understood on a molecular historical level. Collecting and archiving are always associated with an obsession for searching, researching, and collecting, catalyzed by a certain desire that some refer to as "archive mania" or "archive fever." "Fevering Archives" also aims to challenge the notion that archives are tied to a specific place or organizational system. Instead, archives are dynamic systems whose records must be continually reviewed, updated, interconnected, rewritten, and relabeled. The lecture will conclude with feminist and queer experimental practices that question the conventional coordinates by which objects and architecture are defined.
As part of the event, the digital catalog of Egon Eiermann's work will be presented and made accessible to the public. The "Egon Eiermann digital" project was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Egon Eiermann Society.
KIT, Campus Süd
Geb. 20.40, Egon-Eiermann-Hörsaal
The saai | Archive for Architecture and Civil Engineering is one of the most comprehensive and important architecture collections in Germany. The holdings include over 530,000 plans, drawings and sketches, 680,000 photographs, films and audio documents, 1,100 running meters of construction files, 900 models, 50 pieces of furniture and 400 running meters of journals and books.
The oldest documents date back to the 1700's. The main focus of the collection however is on the 20th century, especially its second half. The saai is home to the archives of Egon Eiermann, Otto Ernst Schweizer, Fritz Leonardt, Günter Wilhelm, Carlfried Mutschler, Rolf Gutbrod, Reinhard Gieselmann, Otto Herbert Hajek, Frei Otto and Günter Behnisch, among others.
The collection was built on a historical stock of the architecture department of the former Polytechnic School Karlsruhe (today KIT | Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Since the 1970s, the collection has been continuously expanded with important and extensive estates of contemporary architects. Finally, in 1989, the saai was founded by decision of the state government of Baden-Württemberg.
Image: Egon Eiermann and Sep Ruf, German Pavilion at the 1958 World's Fair, Brussels.
New dual leadership for SAAI
Since April 1, 2023, Anna-Maria Meister and Joaquín Medina Warmburg have been jointly directing the saai. As dual directors, they want to strengthen the saai in three main aspects: for the "saai Archive" as a cornerstone, a collection strategy will be developed that brings new voices to the archive and illuminates existing ones with contemporary questions. With "saai Research," the archive will be further expanded as an international research center. And "saai Digital" will develop a strategy for digital estates, future restoration techniques, and conservation of diverse media in an international alliance with other archives and collections, as well as further the digitization campaign.
Winter break 2023/2024
The archive closes at the turn of the year. We are looking forward to answering your inquiries again as of 15th of January 2024.