The Bartlett School of Architecture


Alessandro Toti

[Arthur Laskus, Ulrike Pampe and Jürgen Sawade], Berliner Brandwände


From O. M. Ungers’ to the radical students’ architectural and urban production at the Technische Universität Berlin (1963-1977)

First and second supervisors 


My research inquires into the relationships between architecture and society in West Berlin between 1963 and 1977, through the analysis of two groups of architectural production developed at the Berlin Technical University [TUB].

Following massive transformations in West German economy and society, from the mid- 1960s onward the image of a humanist and democratic modernism was gradually called into question, replaced by new models of architecture and urbanism. Within this process, my research investigates and connects two different groups.

The first is the Veröffentlichungen zur Architektur, a collection of 27 pamphlets illustrating the activity of O. M. Ungers’ chairmanship between 1963 and 1969. The pamphlets represent a significant innovation in their contemporary academic environment, thanks to the variety of topics they address, their urban interpretation of architectural design, the concrete relationship with West German socio-economic conditions they draw, the wide range of editors and authors, and their clear orientation towards an external readership.

The second area of investigation is the activity of TUB radical architectural students, who self- organised seminars, exhibitions and journals from 1967 to the mid-1970s. Driven by a solid Marxist ideology, the students’ works largely focused on the urban and social cleansing perpetrated by the municipality and supported by Berlin building corporations; their engagement took the form of grassroots activities in depleted neighbourhoods as well as the publication of mainstream and niche magazines.

This process ended in 1977, when the urge for individualisation and commercialisation would progressively detach architecture from social conflict and political radicalism.

In my research, these two bodies of materials are considered in a dialectical relationship, with the aim of investigating continuities, discontinuities and reciprocal influences between them. Connecting them yields a better understanding of both their historical development and their contemporary legacy for architectural debate.


Alessandro Toti is a PhD candidate in the Architectural History and Theory Programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture. Having studied at Roma Tre, HCU Hamburg and PUC Santiago de Chile University, in 2013 he completed his MA in Urban Design at Roma Tre with a dissertation on the AEG industrial settlements in Berlin.

In 2016 he completed his second MA in the Architectural History Programme at The Bartlett, researching on O. M. Ungers’ Veröffentlichungen zur Architektur. He has tutored architecture history and theory at the Roma Tre, Camerino and Cornell University, published essays on online and print media, and taken part in international conferences.

Image: [Arthur Laskus, Ulrike Pampe and Jürgen Sawade], Berliner Brandwände (Berlin: Veröffentlichungen zur Architektur, 1969), p 12.