Ela Kaçel (Friends of Theory!)
at the Department of Education and Research
Architectural theory at RWTH Aachen University
Afterimages of Migration: A Study on the Perception of the City, Architecture and Photography in Post-War Germany
The research project on migrants and their perception of urban spaces aims to establish new, interdisciplinary connections between architecture, migration studies and photography. The analytical focus of the research is on German urban neighbourhoods of the 1960s and 1970s that were occupied, inhabited and co-designed by migrants. If one were to consider these objects merely within the disciplinary boundaries of architecture and detached from the particular forms of habitation, the high-rise buildings erected on the periphery of Cologne for migrant workers could be chalked up as part of a success story of modern design and planning. By revealing critical readings of spatial alienation and migrant identity, the photographic works of Jean Mohr, Mehmet Emir, Candida Höfer, Guenay Ulutuncok and Gudrun Ebert open up critical perspectives and starting points for a new critique of spaces of migration for researchers in architectural history and theory.
Ela Kaçel is an architect, historian and architectural theorist. She teaches and researches as an assistant professor at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul. After studying architecture at YTU in Istanbul and the AA in London, she received her Ph.D. in 2009. in History of Architecture at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Building on case studies of post-war modernism in Turkey, Germany and the United States, she examines contexts of social change, cultural politics and transculturality that inform the production of knowledge, space and art and are conditioned by cultural exchanges between intellectuals, practising architects and lay people. Ela Kaçel began her field research on urban perception, architecture and photography in autumn 2013 as a DAAD scholarship holder at the Department of Architectural Theory at RWTH Aachen University, where she has been able to continue her research since March 2015 as part of a research fellowship from the Humboldt Foundation.