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Arnheim Lecture: Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Emily Pugh

23. Januar 2023, 18:00 bis 20:00 Uhr

Max Liebermann Haus


Scharoun / Saarinen / Gehry: Technology, Architecture, and Expressionism


Architectural history has not fully accounted for the influence of technology on twentieth-century design and construction, as evidenced by the historiography of Expressionism. Although it continues to be dismissed as mere fantasy, Expressionism should instead be regarded as the realization of visionary forms through the embrace of innovative architectural technologies.

This fact becomes readily apparent when one traces the evolution of Expressionism through the work of three iconic architects: Hans Scharoun, Eero Saarinen, and Frank Gehry. Each of these figures demonstrate a particular relationship to technologies of construction and design, such as post-stressed concrete and 3D modeling. Yet, the reception of buildings like the Berlin Philharmonie, TWA Terminal, and Walt Disney Concert Hall has focused almost exclusively on the extent to which they do, or do not, evince an aesthetic of technology. As I will argue, addressing the misconception of technology vis-à-vis the work of Scharoun, Saarinen, and Gehry is critical to writing more complete histories of twentieth-century architecture and, ultimately, to writing histories of architecture in our own time.


Prof. Dr Emily Pugh



Emily Pugh received her PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, where she focused on both postwar architecture and digital humanities. From 2010 to 2014, Pugh served as the inaugural Robert H. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate, with special responsibilities for digital humanities projects at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Since 2014, Pugh has led the Digital Art History team at the Getty Research Institute (GRI), overseeing research activities in connection with technology initiatives. Her expertise within digital art history centers on the digital media of art history and its related infrastructures, which encompasses the digitization of physical materials, 3D scanning, computer vision, as well as collections metadata and its related workflows and processes. Within architectural history, Pugh focuses on postwar architecture in Europe and the US and on forms of architectural representation, including moving image media, architectural models, and digital design files.




 About the Visiting Professorship


The Rudolf Arnheim Visiting Professorship goes back to the film critic and film historian Rudolf Arnheim, who developed the theory of "thinking seeing" and shaping. A high-ranking interdisciplinary jury appoints a foreign guest lecturer to Humboldt-Universität every year. This professorship is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Stiftung Brandenburger Tor.




View of slides documenting a model for the Walt Disney Hall project being scanned into the software program CATIA. Frank Gehry Papers. The Getty Research Institute, 2017m66. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/2017m66_70c2bd463d04d79ff41812892f5abbf4 © Frank O. Gehry.


 Portrait Prof. Dr Emily Pugh © Barbara Herrenkind