A Symposium on Herbert Kramel with Chinese Architectural Education: It’s More Than a Piece of History

An academic event to be held on June 26, 2022, Sunday, in Nanjing as a tribute to Prof. Herbert Kramel’s contribution to Chinese Architectural Education, co-organized by Southeast University and Nanjing University.

Professor Herbert Kramel, the Emeritus Professor of ETH-Z and Honorary Professor of Southeast University and Nanjing University, has passed away on January 29th, 2022. The Nanjing Exchange Program between Southeast University and ETH-Z started in 1986 and ended in 2011 for 28 years. From 1986 till 2001, Prof. Kramel was the responsible professor at ETH for the Nanjing Exchange Program and about 20 junior teachers from SEU under his supervision, out of 33 in total studied at ETH. They exposed themselves to a very different architectural and educational culture in Zurich and learned from Prof. Kramel the pedagogy on “how to make modern architecture teachable”, a question which troubled Chinese architects and educators for decades. Returned back to China, they have developed new teaching programs and demonstrated the new design methodology through practice first at Southeast University and later at Nanjing University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and eventually exerted influences to other universities across the nation. 

36 years has passed since the first two SEU junior teachers arrived at Zurich in 1986. The Nanjing Exchange Program could be seen as a pure historic event. But it is more than a piece of history. Its impact on Chinese architectural education lasts up to today and even longer. At this particular time we will invite the participants of the Nanjing Exchange Program to share their reflections on what have learned from Prof. Kramel and how these have changed their ways to think about the task of architectural design and design education. We would also like to invite other scholars, who are familiar with either Prof. Kramel or the works done by those learned from Zurich, to provide their comments on the impact of the Nanjing Exchange Program.