Prof. Salge, you are the deputy spokesperson for the LOEWE project Architectures of Order, which has been funded since 2020 – what can one imagine by the title?
Architecture has a very strong impact on all of us; it orders society, both our private and public lives. In the LOEWE Research Cluster we investigate from different disciplinary perspectives how architecture affects social, cultural but also scientific-technical ordering practices, but also how architectural practices are influenced by society, culture and science. In my subproject we analyze knowledge orders in architectural teaching media and teaching concepts to investigate how the constitution of knowledge over the centuries has affected the design process of architects and thus the built environment and the ideas of order of the respective society.
Would you like to tell us a little more about your personal career and why research in the humanities is so essential for society?
As a humanities scholar with a focus on the early modern period, I see my task as reconstructing history based on the sources, reflecting on it theoretically, communicating it to society, and at the same time taking a critical look at the present from this perspective. As an architectural historian, I worked only at humanities institutions until 2016. Since 2017, I have been a Professor of Art History at the Department of Architecture at the TU Darmstadt, thus training future architects. To impart to the students here a sensitivity for past architecture, but at the same time also a critical awareness of the tasks of the present, so that they respectfully pick up on the old with the current scientific and technical possibilities as well as their creativity, is a beautiful task.
Which project within your field of research is keeping you most busy at the moment?
I am currently starting a project in which I am working on the digitization and indexing of part of our old art-historical glass slide collection. In addition to reproductions, it includes unique holdings, such as photographs from the Nazi art protection campaigns in France and Italy in the 1930s and 1940s, or images from the 1910s/1920s of buildings now destroyed by war. In addition, I am interested in the collection as a teaching medium, and this connects the project to the LOEWE center Architectures of Order, because in this collection of slides the canon of knowledge of teaching architecture at a technical university in the 1960s and 1970s has been visualized and systematically ordered.
LOEWE research funding in Hesse is something unique nationwide, and something that is the envy of other parts of Germany (and even beyond). What do you think makes the LOEWE program so enriching for scientists?
Apart from the wonderful opportunity to carry out my own sub-project with two motivated research assistants within four years, I have benefited above all from the interdisciplinary network that we have built up in the priority area. Especially for me, as a relatively new professor at TU Darmstadt, the LOEWE program was a great opportunity to establish contacts with colleagues at my own university but also at other research institutions in Hesse and to exchange ideas with scientists from a wide range of disciplines.
The question of reconciling family and career is always a passionate discourse, so we would like to ask you as a professor and dean how you currently assess this in Germany (and also how you have managed to reconcile both)?
Reconciling family and career is difficult; even with the best childcare conditions, someone usually has to take a back seat, and that is still predominantly women. The advantage over many other professions is that as a scientist you can manage your time more freely. However, it is also the phase of life in which "young" scientists are often employed on temporary contracts with an uncertain future. The pressure to combine a scientific career with family planning and the desire to meet the respective demands can be very exhausting and stressful. I myself had two children in my first years as an assistant professor (without tenure track) at the Freie Universität Berlin, which was not easy, and without the support of my partner and my mother, I probably wouldn’t be doing the interview with you today as a professor.
About the Person
- deputy spokesperson of the LOEWE-Cluster "Architectures of Order"
- Professor of Architecture and Art History at the Department of Architecture of the Technical University of Darmstadt
- Dean of the Department of Architecture at the Technical University of Darmstadt
Published in ProLOEWE NEWS
In the spring issue of ProLOEWE NEWS, we introduce you to the two new LOEWE Cluster Tree-M and CoroPan, which have been funded since January 2023. In addition, you will learn more about current research results of the LOEWE Center TBG on the extraordinary flight skills of the hummingbird. Last but not least, two events and a policy paper by LOEWE-emergenCITY on disaster management.
Prof. Dr. Christiane Salge, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the TU Darmstadt and Deputy Spokesperson of the LOEWE Focus "Architectures of Order“