Stephan Birk appointed to Professorship of Architecture and Timber Construction

As of April 2021, Prof. Stephan Birk will directly succeed Prof. Hermann Kaufmann and take over the Professorship of Architecture and Timber Construction at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). "It is an important yet demanding time to be an architect, and a great challenge to be involved in education. Faced with the climate crisis and the very fundamental question of how may we build, both research and teaching take on a central role. Participating actively in this change is part of my motivation and vision for the engagement at TUM," Birk states.

Stephan Birk, Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Architekt BDA (Bild: Andreas Labes).

Together with Liza Heilmeyer, Stephan Birk founded an own architectural office in Stuttgart in 2005. Their work has been awarded various distinctions,  including the Deubau Prize for young architects, the promotional award of the "Architekturgalerie am Weißenhof", the North Rhine-Westphalia promotional award for young artists, and the award "Europe 40 under 40 - Europe's emerging young architects and designers". In 2009, Birk was appointed to the Association of German Architects (BDA) and also became a member of the Working Group of Young Architects (AKJAA). Since 2012, the partnership with Martin Frenzel has been established within the office Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten.

In addition to his work as an architect, Stephan Birk has been engaged in teaching and research since 2007. Until 2011 he worked as research assistant, and from 2012 - 2015 as deputy professor at the Institute for Building Construction and Design at the University of Stuttgart. Birk was appointed as university professor at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in 2015. In the last six years, he has led the Department of Building Construction 1 and Design and jointly established the research area T-Lab Timber Architecture and Wood Materials with Prof. Jürgen Graf.

The Professorship Architecture and Timber Construction provides important elements for the basic education in building construction at TUM.  Sustainability, resilience and climate protection are essential subjects of the study projects.

Birk covers a wide range of topics, from specialization in timber construction to solutions that are independent of materials. His research agenda primarily focuses on the reduction of restrictions in timber construction, the identification of new potentials regarding bio-based building materials, and the development of application possibilities in modern timber construction methods.
TUM is predicting high innovation potential from Birk's involvement. "The aim of interdisciplinary research conducted in the context of the climate crisis will be to increase the rate of timber constructions and to enhance the material substitution of mineral components in building construction and extension," Birk adds.

Stephan Birk will become a key driving force at TUM.wood enabling the joint identification of opportunities for a new era of wood. In this network, ten TUM professorships are investigating the technical, architectural, ecological and economic possibilities of the most important renewable raw material along the entire value chain: from its origins in the forest to timber harvesting and processing, from its application in the construction industry to recycling strategies. The new appointee is convinced: " A unique research network in Germany has been established with the TUM.wood alliance, which was founded in 2013. I am pleased to be able to continue my previous work in this setting and to expand it in collaboration with others."

Further information available on the office website and on Instagram @bhundf.