This blog makes the ‘thoughts and news’ section of
It also publishes news related to the teaching activities by LITRA’s founder Claudia Westermann.
LITRA :: is virtually present on the web at www.litra-design.com. It is a privately held practice that has been involved in projects at the intersection of (media) fine art and architecture for more than a decade, with the first internationally published project being the blue room (1998).
Claudia Westermann is the founder of LITRA :: and the maintainer of this blog. She is also a licensed architect holding a postgraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Karlsruhe (Dipl. Ing.), a second postgraduate degree in Media Art (Fine Art) from the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany ( ..and yes, this was a spheric experience ), and a PhD from the Planetary Collegium‘s Center of Advanced Inquiry in Integrated Arts (CAiiA) at the University of Plymouth. The PhD thesis An Experimental Research into Inhabitable Theories was supervised by Prof. Roy Ascott and Prof. Mike Phillips, and examined by Dr. David Cunningham and Prof. Dr. Alessandro Aurigi.
Her works have been presented and exhibited internationally, including at the Architectural Association (AA), the Venice Biennale for Architecture, the Moscow International Film Festival, Isea Symposium for the Electronic Arts in Japan, and the ZKM in Karlsruhe.
Publications include ‘The Architect’s Circle, or The Geometrical Incline of Truth’ in ‘New Realities : Being Syncretic‘ (Springer, 2008), and ‘An Entry without Inscription, a Letter, and a Map’ in ‘Orientation _ Dis-/Orientation’ (Lars Müller, 2009). They also include articles, such as ‘Resonances of the Unknown’ (Kybernetes, vol. 40, issue 7/8, 2011, Emerald,), and `Myths of Complexity‘ (Design Ecologies, issue 1.2, 2011, Intellect).
She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Ubiquity, whose first issue is going to be published in 2012, and was a member of the Leonardo Reviews panel (when she still had time), contributing to the reviews section of Leonardo, the journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
Claudia Westermann is a passionate teacher. She has been invited to workshops, lectures and reviews at various universities including at the Architectural Association (AA), the Bartlett, Zurich University of the Arts, School of the Art Institute Chicago, and Innsbruck University. Before taking on a position as Associate Professor in Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in 2012, she held the position of a Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design (Univ.Ass. postdoc) at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria from 2006 to 2010. She received the teaching prize for the Most Innovative Teaching Practice from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in 2014, and – also in 2014 – the Excellent Educator Award from Suzhou Industrial Park. Claudia Westermann has been the coordinator of the final year of the Bachelor programme since 2013, and was a core member of the committee ensuring RIBA international validation of XJTLU’s Bachelor in Architecture.
Previously taught Final Year Project students have worked for well known practices such as Skew Collaborative, and Neri & Hu in Shanghai, have had work included in the department’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale and at the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) Culture Centre, as well as at the RIBA President’s Medals Student Awards exhibition in London (西浦学子作品在英国皇家建筑师学会活动展出), and have received offers for further study in well known professional Master programmes, such as the MArch at the Bartlett (UCL) in London.
China reminds us – every day – that there is an urgent need to re-think how inhabitants can be re-situated within methodologies of architectural design. This need cannot be addressed without fostering creative speculation and a critical engagement that aspires to cross cultures.
We have been using the domain www.ezaic.de since the year 2000, and the name Laboratory for Experimental Research in Inhabitable Theories — which emerged from Claudia Westermann’s PhD research — since 2004. In 2011, we decided to match domain name and company name, and thus the virtual presence has moved from the former (and still active) domain www.ezaic.de to this new one at www.litra-design.com. The domain name now contains an acronym of Laboratory for Inhabitable Theories and Research in Architecture.
Works that were developed between 1998 and 2010 are still available on the www at www.ezaic.de. It will be kept as an archives. www.litra-design.com currently holds a copy of www.ezaic.de but is soon going to be subjected to an extensive redesign.
Back in the days, when net.art was created one could assume we spoke French to make history. This blog is certainly never going to become as cool as 2balles’ voir venir or its blueprint upgrade, but it might display here and there a specific resistance against being primarily useful.
We have added to this blog on the right hand side a section called (World) Feed. It takes its updates from blogs and news pages ranging from architecture and philosophy to new materials and technology research. Some of these feeds are taken from the blogs of friends. These latter are more persistent than others. The section Selections from (World) Feed presents reading recommendations (for us and others).
With several adjustments to the style sheet and code, this blog runs on the wordpress twentyten theme.
Inhabitable Theories were initiated through a series of questions that architects confront when asked to create and to speak about what can be understood to be(come) frameworks for (unknown) life. The research thus deals with the question of the unknown and, related to this, the question of open form. It develops on the idea that a concept of inhabitation may be feasible exclusively on the basis of a theory that extends the well known two-valued logic that has been dominant from Aristotelean times onwards. Rooted in philosophy, the research extends contemporary architectural and critical theory, notions from poets such as Paul Celan, Marguérite Duras and Samuel Beckett, and second order cybernetics research with an emphasis on Gotthard Günther’s writings on non-Aristotelean logic.
The research focus is on the notion of Architecture as a transcendental concept. It advances the understanding of Architectural Design as a performative process that creates borders rather than borderlines, limits rather than limitations and, is therefore, a discipline of radical communication that always seeks to extend itself towards an Other – the unknown – addressing it without quantifying it to make it provable.
Updated: March 2015 — Claudia Westermann | email: info [_at_] litra-design [_dot_] com