3rd research focus

Spatial and social forms : genesis, theories and configuration


Scientific context 

This theme explores the spatial and social forms on a long-term scale and from various fields : history, geography, archeology, architecture, sociology, philosophy. Since the 60s and the debate on urban architecture as a disciplinary field, the analysis of spatial forms on a urban scale has led to many trains of thought. In this research topic, the researchers intend to understand the influence of theories related to architecture in its relation to the town, and to define new methodologies to apprehend the urban fabric and historically inherited architectural objects. They focus their research on the urban scale and follow “morphological”, “archaeological” and “politico-philosophical” approaches. Towns have long been transformed on themselves, but during the second half of the XXe century, they tend to get rid of their old remnants and were changed with much less superelevation than during the previous phase. During the first phase, the reconstruction “on themselves” had the effect to develop a very specific knowledge that had rarely been studied until now : reusing existing states. In Strasbourg for instance, this knowledge has established itself successfully since the first vernacular or academic architectural programmes, and is still present in relatively more recent projects like “la Grande Percée” (1906-1930), which was the last big intramuros urban project of Strasbourg. Some researchers have carried out more research on this “archaeological” urban projects analysis approach. Others have studied the evolution of the urban fabric based on books by french and german geographers, along with urban planning and development projects by creating theoretical and practical tools to arrange the Upper Rhine metropolis since the 30s. In this research which is more focused on “morphological” approaches, the term “metropolitan project” takes another connotation depending on the cultural context : it refers to the urban or regional planning models of the Stadtlandschaft in Germany and the Rhineland model in France. Finally, other researchers adopt a “politico-philosophical” approach and focus their research on the concepts and processes linked to “urban art laboratories” of the XXe century. The researchers intend to highlight these approaches, theories and processes that have allowed the city to be transformed while adapting and reusing old strata, through juxtaposition or destruction. 



Historical and politico-philosophical approaches in the analysis of urban forms. Theories on urban morphology and morphogenesis. In-depth studies on the theories behind the disciplinary field of urban architecture. Analysis of the specific nature of urban and social forms of Strasbourg compared to other metropolises. Dépassement des faiblesses théoriques du champ disciplinaire de l’architecture urbaine. Décloisonnement des disciplines qui traitent du développement de la ville et des territoires (histoire, géographie, architecture urbaine, gouvernance politique, etc.).


Main events

  • ZIEGLER Volker : around the exhibition Interférences/Interferenzen. Architecture, Germany- France, 1800-2000 : many conferences, communications, guided tours, TV and radio interviews (France 3 Alsace, Deutsche WelleSüdwestrundfunkSaarländischer Rundfunk), creation and moderation of a cycle of conferences in the Mamcs (Strasbourg), in partnership with the Ensas, Goethe Institut of Strasbourg and the DAM of Francfort, between 2013 and 2016.
  • ZIEGLER Volker : organization and co-chair (with Klaus Tragbar) of the Third paper session Changing identities? Planning & Building in Border Regions, a difficult European heritage, 4e international conference, European Architectural History Network (EAHN), Dublin, 2-4th June 2016.
  • PIGNOL Alexandra : on the work of the artist David Diao and the “Stalker” group, Laboratorio di arte urbana, symposiums and exhibitions co-organized with the research team in Arts EA 3402 of Strasbourg University, 2014-2016. In connection with these symposiums and exhibitions, publication of a bilingual collective work (French/English), David Diao, under the supervision of Stéphane Mroczkowski and Alexandra Pignol, in Presses Universitaires of Rennes, 2014.
  • MAZZONI Cristiana, BORGHI Roberta, D'EMILIO Luna and GRIGOROVSCHI Andreea : organization of conferences and debates on  Cultures and architectural and urban process , in relation to the doctoral theses, 2012-2015. Co-publication of many articles and books on the tools of urban architecture, organization of the international symposium in Rome Riprogettare l’esistente. Idee per uno sviluppo senza consumo di territorio, Rome University la Sapienza, 14th October 2013. In connection with this symposium : scientific coordination of  Trasporti & Cultura n° 36.


Ongoing theses

  • GRIGOROVSCHI Andreea, Urban Architecture, project cultures and conceptual tools in debate : “figure, récit et scénario dans la pensée et la représentation de la ville contemporaine”, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, thesis presented in 2016.
  • STEINER Bruno, “Espace public et pensée-paysage”, under the supervision of F. Rudolf, thesis presented in 2015.
  • CHATOT Tristan, ROSSI Aldo, “trajectoire d’un architecte enseignant dans l’Italie des années 1960”. Pour une approche dialectique et épistémologique de la Fabrique du projet, under the supervisions of C. Mazzoni, thesis presented in 2014.
  • D'EMILIO Luna, Morphologie urbaine et ville durable : théories et projets au tournant du XXIe siècle, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, thesis presented in 2013.
  • FONTANA Francesca, La notion de densité dans la construction de l’espace métropolitain : entre Science et Mythe, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, thesis presented in 2013.
  • KHACHATRYAN Maryam, Un espace en transition : Erevan 1991-2006, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, thesis presented in 2011.
  • DEGOUL Jean-Philippe, L’image comme origine de la discipline architecturale et urbaine : les représentations modernes de l’espace, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni and A. Pignol, ongoing thesis.
  • REIBEL Cathy, Les enjeux du patrimoine - le cas de la Neustadt à Strasbourg. Vers une mutation muséale de l’habitat urbain ?, under the supervision of F. Rudolf and S. Glatron, ongoing thesis.
  • LANG Fan, Les relations de voisinage dans la métropole asiatique d'aujourd'hui. Types d'habitat et perspectives de cohabitation au prisme de la notion d'“harmonie”, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, ongoing thesis.
  • SHARIFI Tiam, Stratégies urbaines et projets paysagers dans les métropoles contemporaines. L’évolution de l’espace public en rapport à la notion de “mémoire” urbaine et paysagère, under the supervision of C. Mazzoni, ongoing thesis.