Chair of Building History, Building Archaeology and Conservation

Bad Windsheim - roof truss exhibition (Photo: I. Mühlhaus)

Building history deals with the history of construction considering a very broad basis from Ancient Times to Modern Era. Contrasting the architectural history in the field of history of art, building history explores all facets of building, not just the top-class achievements of building art. Not only cathedrals are of interest, but as well vernacular buildings dating from mediaeval times.

Since the beginnings of architects´ education at the University, building history belonged to the founding disciplines of technical universities in Germany. Building archaeology represents the research-orientated branch of building history. Building archaeology aims at the decryption of historic buildings, using the edifices themselves or their remains, respectively, as source. Since approx. 130 years, building archaeology as scientific field has been developed within German research and counts among the key disciplines in the approach of historic building substance.

The Munich institute with its tradition for about a century mainly has concentrated on the research on ancient architecture until 2006. With the new cast research horizons have enlarged explicitly. Key interests range from Antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century. Still, the Mediterranean with its top-class architecture tradition forms an objective, extended by research in the former GUS states and Central Asia. Next to pure scientific interest, building archaeology serves as refurbishements´ scientific foundation for the assessment of historic constructions in respect of age, state of repair, alterations, potency or shortcomings. Since more than 60% of the building tasks throughout Europe have to deal with historic substance in conservation, re-use and re-orientation, the correct method of proceeding the projects will be increasingly valued. Therefore, building archaeology proves practice orientated as well as research led.

Building archaeology, being an exceedingly specialized discipline itself, has always been relying on cooperation with other scientific fields. So, interdisciplinary collaboration with the disciplines of history of art, archaeology and sciences belongs to everyday life. Of outstanding importance is the cooperation with other highly specialized partners, taking place in a unique form at the Munich Department of architecture, considering the close team play with the Chair for Conservation, Art Technology, Conservation Science and the Chair for Structural Design.