Infrastructural Critique. The Upside-Down of the Bottom-Up: A Case Study on the IBA Berlin 84/87


  • Eva Maria Hierzer
  • Philipp Markus Schörkhuber



Participation in planning is a logical consequence of the democratisation of society due to the social and cultural changes related to modernism. Anarchistic participation, as in Autogestion, within a development process, is a critical utopian alternative draft to existing power structures. The participatory turn represented by the International Building Exhibition Berlin 1987 (IBA) meant the institutionalisation of these utopian ideas, resulting in a heterotopian notion of participation instrumentalised by governing and economic forces.

The most important aspect to our argument is that participation is a matter of critique – with critique as the very core of the modern understanding of progress – and thus enabling forms of improvement in planning, regulating and governing with architectural and urbanistic means. Those means simply embody a specific form of resisting critique and certain shifts in the structures of governing revealing an infrastructural critique which both re-forms the elements and the relations of what is to be resisted.

Author Biographies

Eva Maria Hierzer

Eva Maria Hierzer is currently working as an architect in Graz. During the work for her master thesis (Squatting the City. A social-interactive development process for the former canning factory Massó, 2012) at Graz University of Technology she specialised in social-interactive developing processes for urban design, and anarchistic spatial theory in architecture and urban studies.

Philipp Markus Schörkhuber

Philipp Markus Schörkhuber graduated in architecture from Graz University of Technology in 2012 with a master thesis on the interactions between architecture and bio-politics as a process of normalisation. He is currently working as an architect in Linz/Danube.