259.650 Wahlseminar Topos in architectural theory
Diese Lehrveranstaltung ist in allen zugeordneten Curricula Teil der STEOP.
Diese Lehrveranstaltung ist in mindestens einem zugeordneten Curriculum Teil der STEOP.

2021W, SE, 3.5h, 5.0EC


  • Semesterwochenstunden: 3.5
  • ECTS: 5.0
  • Typ: SE Seminar
  • Format der Abhaltung: Hybrid


Nach positiver Absolvierung der Lehrveranstaltung sind Studierende in der Lage...

mit Texten (Schreiben und Recherche) wissenschaftlich zu arbeiten, zwischen akademischem und journalistischem Schreiben zu unterscheiden. Sie haben den richtigen Umgang mit dem Zitieren und Bibliographieren gelernt, Grundprinzipien der Bibliotheks- und Internet Recherche, sowie Grundformen des Argumentierens. Sie können ein Thema so fassen, aufgliedern, organisieren und strukturieren dass es in einer Seminararbeit wissenschaftlich erörtert werden kann. Sie können wissenschaftliches von journalistischem Schreiben unterscheiden.


Montags 10:00-12:00, Beginn 11. Oktober 2021

Inhalt der Lehrveranstaltung


For apprehending a simple line for what it is, the Art Historian Wilhelm Worringer writes in Abstraction and Empathy (Abstraktion und Einfühlung) from 1906: “I have to expand my inner vision till it embraces the whole line; I have inwardly to delimit what I have thus apprehended and extract it, as an entity, from its surroundings.” Worringer foregrounded thereby a particular kind of psycho-motoric activity, which he called "apperceptive action", as a means for attending to the socio-political role of art in relation to an individual subject´s aesthetical sense and cultural technical "progress". What Worringer captures in this formula is how mathematical thinking is soaked in an element of time and its reckoning, which opens up a surprising view on the contemporary topoi of computation and the digital which we will trace and expound upon throughout  the seminar.

Throughout, we are attempting to lift this "psycho-motoric activity" of "apperceptive action" out of the rather strict context of art history in which it has predominantly – and somewhat reductively – been received throughout the 20th century; we are attempting to place it speculatively as the locus in quo of architectonic thought, which is, in this understanding, also always inventive thought.

With this aim, the seminar proceeds twofold: it revisits the topos of "abstraction" through the lens of mathematical thinking via a series of readings of key texts from philosophy, mathematics, semiotics, and computation; and it revisits, in parallel, the ancient topoi of a House of Intellect and a House of Wisdom, the former via a literary text by Virginia Wolf (To the Light House, 19.. ), and the latter via a compendium from the 9th century, "The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices" that emerged out of the Baghdad House of Wisdom around the mathematician Al Khwarizmi, to whom we owe the introduction of algebra as a proper mathematical domain.

In a projective gesture, the students will blend in their seminar papers the capacities of intellection with that of the body and the senses. Each student will compose her or his own treaties on their version of a contemporary Light House. They are expected to critically engage with, discuss, and relate to one another, insights gained from the readings;  and they are expected to articulate an own coherent vision of how these insights facilitate the conception of the Light House on the Digital Continent: what oceans does it refer to as a point of reference, what weathers does it measure and signal information about, and to whom does it signal its alerts? And who is the person inhabiting it, what does this person concern herself with, day in day out, all alone, but in spiritual social intimacy with the world of adventurers she wants to provide orientation for?

Fantastic Architectures of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in the Age of Photovoltaics.

Weekly Schedule of readings

Session 0__Our Topos: Light House (Virginia Woolf); Mathematical Thinking and Architecture: How to think of Abstraction through Mathematics. Geometry and Time Reckoning.

Session 1__Alfred North Whitehead, Introduction to Mathematics,"The Abstract Nature of Mathematics" & Elias Zafiris, Mathematical Thinking, ch. 1 "Wondering and Wandering Around the Vortex"

Session 2__Heinrich Wölfflin, Prolegomena zu einer Psychologie der Architektur

Session 3__Brian Rotman, "Mathematical Movement and Gesture"

Session 4__Michel Serres, A History of Scientific Thought, "Introduction"

Session 5__Michel Serres, A History of Scientific Thought, "Gnomon: The Beginnings of Geometry in Ancient Greece"

Session 6__Vitruvius, Book IX (De Gnomonice, Intro) & (De Gnomonice, first 4 pages) & Michael Potter, Reason's Nearest  Kin - Philosophies of Artihmetics (the Intro) (1-20)

Session 7__Mary Leng et.al, Mathematical Knowledge, here "Introduction" by M. Lang, and by M.Potter chapter 1: "what is the problem of mathematical knowledge" (1-33)

Session 8__Robert Blanché, Axiomatics, here ch. 1: "Defects und Axiomatics" (1-45)

Session 9__David Reed, Figures of Thought, ch 1 "The Opening of the Elements" (20p)

Session 10__Brian Rotman, Signifying Nothing: The Semiotics of Zero, "Number, Vision, Money" & "The Emergence of the Metasubject"

Session 11__Wilhelm Worringer, Emphathy and Abstraction, "Introduction" & Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of Text,  "Reading  toward Wisdom" & "The Emergence of the Meta-Subject"


Further Readings and Background Resources:

The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, by Donald R. Hill (Bhagdad House of Wisdom)

"De Gnomonice", Book 9 by Vitruv, Ten Books on Architecture.

Sundials: Design, Construction and Use, by Denis Savoie

The Ordering of Time: From the Ancient Computus to the Modern Computer, by Arno Borst

The Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace, by Jennifer Chiaverini

"Time in the 10’000 Year Clock", by Danny Hillis et al.

Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of Text, "Reading toward Wisdom"

Heinz Lüneburg, Einführung in die Algebra

Heinz Lüneburg, Von Zahlen und Grössen: Dritthalbtausend Jahre Theorie und Praxis

Vera Bühlmann, "The Digital, a Continent?" in Azimuth, 2019.




Lectures; weekly readings; writing exercises; group discussions.



Weitere Informationen

Ort: Montags, 10:00-12.00 Uhr  (online learning, individuelle oder Kleingruppen Sprechstunden live sind möglich nach Absprache)

Beginn: Erstes Treffen am 11. Oktober 2021, 10:00 Uhr.

Beachten Sie beim Verfassen der Ausarbeitung bitte die Richtlinie der TU Wien zum Umgang mit Plagiaten: Leitfaden zum Umgang mit Plagiaten (PDF)

Vortragende Personen



Presence and active participation in the online meetings; writing tasks: exercises as well as an academic seminar paper.


Wahlseminare13.09.2021 09:0027.09.2021 23:59


033 243 Architektur 6. SemesterSTEOP
Lehrveranstaltung erfordert die Erfüllung der Studieneingangs- und Orientierungsphase STEOP


Es wird kein Skriptum zur Lehrveranstaltung angeboten.


259.268 Ringvorlesung Methodologie der Architekturforschung ist Voraussetzung

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