Publikation # [336]

»Design is not a Science«: Otl Aicher's Constitutional Putsch at the HfG Ulm and His Credo for the Social Responsibility of Designers. In: Design Issues, Vol. 31, No. 1/2015, 7–17. Translated by Kate Hunter.


The terms design science and design research currently hold great importance in international discourse. Countless publications, presentations, symposia, and conferences—as well as announcements for positions for research assistants, PhDs, and teachers—all indicate that design is a “scientific discipline” and that it is struggling for the self-assurance of its own unique nature. This debate bears essential features of a vicious conflict that, at its argumentative core, took place once before: 50 years ago in Ulm, at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG). At least two things can be learned from this 1962 debate. First, we can easily follow the lines of discussion presented then and since then, for clear language was encouraged at Ulm. Second, Ulm was established on the belief that design does not exist for its own sake, but rather should make a substantial contribution to a socially responsible construction of the world. If we bear the Ulm debate in mind, we should remember that design always operates in a social context and that design discourse must not allow this to fade from view.

The Impulse to Establish the HfG: An Independent Center for Humane Design

The HfG Ulm was supported by a private foundation; its founders hoped that this funding structure would lead to the greatest possible autonomy.[1] Otl Aicher, in particular, was convinced that the greatest possible degree of freedom of thought and action could best be practiced in a place not under the influence of the State. This fundamental motivation did not end with the successful establishment of the school.[2] Striving for independence remained a driving force throughout the entire existence of the HfG, in terms of both organization and content.

Aicher was forced to recognize that the German education system had not helped overcome the crisis of the 1920s:[3] The educated classes, who valued their culture so highly, were not able to put a stop to the barbaric insanity of the Nazis. German society had not learned to show either good judgment or decisiveness at

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the moment when these traits were needed most. The heaps of knowledge surrounding Goethe and Schiller, Bach and Brahms, Schinkel and Semper, and Dürer and Spitzweg could therefore be of no help in shaping the languishing post-war Germany into a modern western society of democratic and free citizens. Aicher’s belief was that, after 1945, Germans could no longer base their convictions on an adherence to cultural traditions, nor re-establish the social hierarchies that had been in place until 1933. Instead, the Germans were to trust themselves to shape their own future by coming to terms with uncertainty and by daring to do something new. From the viewpoints of both Aicher and his future wife, Inge Scholl,[4] Germany needed to establish a new society. They did not want to leave the task of creating the basic conditions for this society in the hands of politicians. Instead, such creation was the responsibility of all those who created “everyday culture” but whose work had hitherto been considered inferior to “higher culture”: “When we speak of civilization, we mean things like electric lights and fast trains. But when we speak of culture, many think of a concert they attend in their best clothes.”[5] In light of their perspective, Aicher and Scholl believed that, for instance, urban planners and architects were responsible ensuring that the bombed-out Late Medieval city centers would not be restored with a view to building a historicizing backdrop. Rather, they should concern themselves with building affordable apartments with prefabricated elements to provide modern alternatives for the future requirements of a city life characterized by technology. All designers should work toward bridging the gap they had seen emerging between the worlds of work and leisure, material civilization and spiritual values, the individual and society. Only such bridging would overcome the results of the alienation of people from their activities—alienation that had appeared with industrialization. As a consequence, Aicher felt that art could no longer complacently remain in its inherited position as the point of reference for all tasks concerning the design of the artifacts of industrialized civilization. He believed that the aesthetic criteria for assessing opera, theater, poetry, and paintings could not help in the development of mass communication and mass production for modern industrial societies.

The HfG Ulm: Cultural Means of Coping with Technical Civilization

In this point, the programmatic goal of the HfG differs fundamentally from that of the Bauhaus. The intention of the HfG’s founders was not to follow in the footsteps of the Bauhaus, and particularly not the Dessau Bauhaus under Walter Gropius. Gropius’s motto, “Art and Technology—A New Unity,” meant that art (or a new art) was supposed to be the reference point for all designerly activities.

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In contrast, Aicher established a goal of humane design for material civilization, which imitated neither cultural nor technical traditions, but rather was meant to develop from its own conditions. For him, humane design was any design that did not emotionally overwhelm—a reaction to the staged violence of Nazi marches and torch lit parades that had captivated so many people and debased the individual to an interchangeable, meaningless part of a superhuman whole. Design was humane when it informed objectively and convinced with its own arguments. Finally, design was humane when it accounted for the concrete connections for which it had been developed. Aicher was not interested in expensive, one-of-a-kind objects; he was seeking systems for mass production and mass communication.[6] In Aicher’s eyes, the development of serialized products in terms of the media, artifacts, and cities in the technologically driven industrial societies should not be dominated by either the artist or the technician (or, for that matter, the salesperson). Instead, these things should be organized by a new type of specialist who had not existed before and who became known as the designer only at the end of the 1950s. He judged a designer’s social responsibility by whether the designer succeeded in making a contribution to the cultural response to technological civilization.

This difference did not prevent the Ulmers from using the Bauhaus as a reference during the early years to make their fuzzy goals easier for representatives of West German economics and politics to understand.[7] Their rejection of a Bauhaus succession was more than merely a formal question. They also lacked a terminology for what was new. The word “design,” for instance, had not yet made its way into the German language.[8]

Science at the HfG Ulm

During Max Bill’s rectorate, which lasted from August 3, 1953, until March 31, 1956, HfG’s activities first took on the appearance of a Bauhaus succession.[9] Nevertheless, impulses developed that, although hardly perceived from the outside, paved the way for a new direction. For instance, Tomás Maldonado and Konrad Wachsmann were appointed as lecturers in 1954.[10] Norbert Wiener spoke about cybernetics at the HfG on July 14, 1955. In the invitation to Wiener, Max Bill had written that “it is the goal of the Hochschule für Gestaltung to achieve unity in designerly creation. Therefore, we follow with great interest the development of cybernetics and teach the fundamentals of the subject in lectures within the framework of ‘cultural integration.’ As a science of information and communication, cybernetics is, in particular, also one of the foundations of the information department of our school.”[11]

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Until these impulses bloomed with their full effects, the HfG appeared to be continuing in some form of the Bauhaus tradition. This apparent continuity alone explains the extent of uncertainty and incomprehension caused by the final departure of Max Bill on March 14, 1957—especially among supporters of the HfG. No one had expected this end to the public conflict that had arisen months before. Then, just a few weeks later, the Rectorial College decided in favor of a fundamental change to the organizational structure and content-related orientation of the HfG.[12] The pace of this change was a clear sign of just how influential the powers — operating behind the scenes, of those who supported a program other than a so-called Bauhaus succession— had become.

First, three institutes were set up or planned: product design, visual communication, and industrial building. In these institutes, all the lecturers had the right to establish their own development groups. They were abbreviated to the letter E (for the German Entwicklungsgruppe [development group]) and then numbered. Aicher led the now-legendary E5 group. The sense of this new structure lay in connecting the commercial commissions that were necessary for the financing of the HfG to the pedagogical concept that every association with artistic-looking “studios” under the leadership of “masters” was to be avoided at all costs.[13]

Second, on October 3, 1957, the chairman of the Rectorial College, Tomás Maldonado, announced a new program aimed at the scientification of design.[14] Every remaining trace of artistic reference was to be judiciously exorcised. Instead, the ideal designer was to become a well-rounded, rigorously trained scientific and technological team player, as described by Maldonado in 1958: We cannot shut ourselves off from the necessity of disseminating scientific knowledge in a disciplined way. The industrial designer of the next years will surely not be the inspired “stylist,” a sort of enfant terrible for industry, a person who will be treated with distrust in all technical offices. On the contrary: a new kind of industrial designer will take over, namely an industrial designer who can work on a team and whose function is not defined only by “design,” but who can create products based on technical knowledge and in cooperation with specialists and technicians. As a consequence, questions of methodology are taking on more importance in terms of education for these industrial designers. [...] The methodological aspect which is under discussion here and which will have more and more importance for our approach, was in the past not only neglected, but even discredited. [...] Based on these facts, we have convinced ourselves of the need to introduce a new dimension in our curriculum, one we can call the methodological dimension.[15]

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The scientification of design led to a radical new curriculum and to the appointment of new lecturers. For example, the mathematician Horst Rittel, whose wicked problems theory is still current, came to Ulm. The engineer L. Bruce Archer, who later became known as a professor of design research at the Royal College of Art and a leading international proponent of the design research community that had started to establish itself, also came.[16] Of the subjects taught in 1957/1958, 90% had not been offered at the HfG the year before. Methodology was taught in two disciplines: in mathematical operational and in scientific theory. They complemented the subjects taught in the discipline of technology. Tomás Maldonado stated: “You can see that we have made an effort to build the HfG’s work on an exact foundation.”

Users of the term “science” in relation to the HfG explicitly meant the engineering and natural sciences. Whether this meaning resulted in the transformation of designers into (natural) scientists or whether they were supposed to master their knowledge to the point that they would be taken seriously as conversation partners of equal value remained open. The experiment in education policy, as the HfG was often described by its staff, had started, but the outcomes were yet to be known.

Otl Aicher: “Design Is Not a Science”

Four years later, in the 1961/1962 academic year, a new organi-zation of the teaching program was introduced. The four-year process of scientification of design and design teaching at the HfG had now become apparent to everyone via the results of the reorganization.

What was less obvious were the organizational, pedagogical, and ideological changes that had come about; the new lecturers, who were called theoreticians, had consistently advanced the new scientific orientation of the school. The HfG was split. This schism divided not only the teachers, but also the student body and the foundation that supported the institution. Aicher refused to accept this situation. He wanted to bring about an uncompromising clarity by means of the split: He felt that the scientification of design that had been attempted at the HfG during the previous four years had shown itself to be the wrong path. Just as in 1956/1957, when he had fought tooth and nail against the approach of “aesthetics” and brought a new direction into being for the HfG, in 1962 he attacked the approach of “science.” For him, the hope of victory justified any means—even violating the democratic constitution of the HfG, which he himself had largely drafted.

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The conflict was carried out on several interrelated levels (including the personal level):

• A dispute over methods: Is design a science?

• A dispute over values: Is design value-free?

• A dispute regarding the constitution: Should students, workshop supervisors, and guest lecturers continue to be allowed to participate in the election of the rector, and may any lecturer become rector?

• A dispute regarding privileges: Is Otl Aicher, founder of the HfG, above the HfG’s constitution?

The conflicts began when first-year students from all departments wrote a joint yet department-specific “memorandum.” They sharply criticized the teaching content. For instance, students from the Department of Visual Communication wrote: It is difficult to understand why they keep telling us in physiology class how to make glasses for short-sighted or far-sighted people. And in structural theory, why should we know how to build a thinking machine and calculate how many combinations of numbers are possible in the lottery? In elements, a permutation which accounts for an arrangement without repetition and punch cards will not help us create posters. [...] why are color exercises limited to the mindless production of scales without taking account of color composition or the relationship between form and color? Why is it not considered necessary for us to learn the techniques of color application?[17]

The students from the Department of Product Design who signed the memorandum complained that their education was lacking in the foundations of design, such as visual perception theory, representational methods, knowledge of materials, and the elements of design. Instead, classes had degenerated into: the industrious collecting of technical skills and the writing of tests and exams. The heaping up of indigestible knowledge, the copying and parroting is intolerable. [...] if structural theory is supposed to help us in our work, then it should not degenerate into seeking combinations for safes. We must use practical exercises within structural theory as a means of providing justification for designers. Otherwise, it is worth nothing to us.

In the joint memorandum, the first-year students maintained that “we don’t want to be sociologists, nor physiologists, nor psychologists and certainly not structural theorists, statisticians, analysts or mathematicians, but designers!”[18]

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Older students, who were more familiar with the study of mathematical/logical and natural science topics, as promoted by Horst Rittel, tried in vain in their rebuttal of the first-year students’ accusations to bring the discussion round to the question of power that had erupted at the HfG: “How should our work be supported by scientific knowledge when theoretical lecturers are being kept away from departmental work? [...] [W]e want to be a post-secondary institution, and we must remain open to all possibilities of working with our studies.”[19] Aicher pulled the rug out from under this argument with an interesting remark: The HfG was not a post-secondary institution. As a consequence, after 1962 he referred to the HfG exclusively as the “Ulm School.”

In September 1962, shortly before the start of the new academic year, he prepared an essay with the succinct title, “on the situation of the hochschule für gestaltung,” which was based on a presentation made to representatives of the foundation.[20] This text holds the central key to understanding Aicher’s motivation and the consequences of his actions, which, because of their uncompromising nature, were largely incomprehensible to those both within and beyond his sphere.

Aicher first devoted a few sentences to outlining the development of the HfG until 1962:

In an early phase, when industrial design still had to win cultural and economic recognition, the pedagogical conception of the HfG was based on a more artistic interpretation of design. This attitude shifted in connection with an internal crisis, when a number of lecturers ([G]ugelot, [M]aldonado, [O]hl, [Z]eischegg, [A]icher) insisted that design was no longer possible without the reappraisal of scientific and technological foundations. In their view, the designer can no longer sit on the throne of the artist. He must be educated to become the equal partner of the engineer and the scientist. Only rational methods can legitimate conceptual thinking. The consequence was the retirement of the first rector (max bill) and the introduction of a series of technological and scientific disciplines to the curriculum. A number of scientists and technicians have been appointed.[21] [...] the HfG took on a new, now “scientific” concept whose goal was to establish a real, that is to say, a scientific post-secondary institution based primarily on mathematical and statistical methods. The designers already working at the HfG were relegated to the position of non-scientists [...]. In no way did Aicher agree with this situation at the HfG. A founding member, he was not afraid to express his thoughts that the HfG would have to be re-established under new conditions:

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“after our excursion into science, it has become possible to describe a further-reaching design approach and perhaps adapt into a new school.” Then Aicher took a position on the conflict with the selfproclaimed theoreticians at the HfG Ulm, particularly Horst Rittel, and formulated his credo of design theory: A concept which generally postulates the allocation of design, science, and technology is too general. [...] science, including applied science, seeks knowledge that can be generalized, patterns of a general nature, whereas design seeks objects of a concrete nature. [...] design asserts itself in the individual decision, in the individual object, not in the quest for truth. Its goal and its benchmark are the single product-result. Therefore, science and design are diverging activities as the one moves toward abstraction and the other toward the concrete. [...] design is a creative activity that does not end with a conclusion, but rather a conception built on ideas. [...] knowledge can be either true or false. On the other hand, design is subject to the criteria of rightness and must prove its own worth. [...] the world must not only be known, but also [be] made.

Aicher went on to outline his concept of how the relationship between design and science should be understood: Science is more than just science. Over the past few years at the hfg, scientific methods have been tolerated as science only insofar as they rested on mathematical or statistical foundations and their results were quantifiable. Qualitative methods which aim at the what, why, and to what purpose have been treated with suspicion. They are based too firmly on subjectivity, intuition, and interpretation. [...] however, design is based exactly on the substantiation of meaning and purpose, which cannot be achieved with help from statistical or mathematical methods. [...] facts have their place in design, but facts cannot result in conceptions. Design consists in interpreting, conceiving, and taking no satisfaction from the fact that something exists, but rather from why and what for.

As a conclusion and climax of his argument, Aicher postulated that the social responsibility of the designer can be expressed in the idea that there is a moral dimension inherent to design: An interpretation of design based on the natural sciences is completely insidious. [...] to a great degree, design is a statement and thus a moral activity. It is based on both cultural and social values. It contains aims, assessments, and involvement. [...] a freedom from values is the abnegation of design, where it makes no difference whether

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design is sacrificed to the market, public opinion, or a corporate strategy. [...] design is a moral, that is to say, evaluative, activity based on the foundations of a cultural and social value system. This results in the need for a precise design doctrine.

What Aicher had vehemently rejected just a few years before — that an individual, a master of the traditional kind, should determine what design is or is not—he now laid claim to. He wanted to determine “precisely” which ideology, which “doctrine” should be taught at the “Ulm School.” Design was thus no longer a democratic matter open to negotiation, but something to be bestowed from on high. Implementing this doctrine required the reorganization of the HfG: “the HfG cannot be an open school in the sense that various design approaches could be brought together under one roof, as must be the case for scientific post-secondary institutions. [...] at the HfG, academic freedom is limited by the framework of a cultural and social standpoint which can be considered an obligation because the entire institution was founded for its sake.”

Therefore, his argumentation led to the thesis that the “precondition [for a regeneration of the HfG] is a constitution which accounts for the fact that the HfG should provide education in the field of design. It should educate neither engineers nor scientists.”

The foundation actually gave in to his demands. It reformulated the once-democratic HfG constitution to be authoritarian and ratified it in the face of the provisions of the constitution that had been in effect until then. These moves can truly be called a constitutional “putsch.”[22]

Aicher ended this grotesque act with a short speech as the new rector of the HfG: The hochschule für gestaltung must again become a design school. The doctrine and pedagogy of design orients itself first and foremost at the design process and design result. [...] design and design theory can be developed and justified only from their results. It was a great misunderstanding to confuse design with science. […] design differs from science as a process of discovery differs from a process of creation. [...] design must not be subject to industry in any of its forms, but must be subject to society. [...] for me, an obligation to society means offering conceptions that objectively and aesthetically go beyond the scope of the familiar. Cultural obligation means moving beyond norms, standards, and analytical derivations.[23]

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The conflict that arose in 1962 concerning the correctness of Aicher’s beliefs and their consequences did great damage to the HfG: Negative reports appeared in the press about the argument and what came of it. Many supporters turned away in disappointment, and state subsidies ran out because federal funds were allocated only to scientific research institutions—a status the HfG could no longer claim.

From our current perspective, we can see that Aicher’s ideas concerning the unscientific nature of design, insofar as science must exclude value judgments, are dramatically exaggerated. His statement was a polemic tool that he used to limit the influence of lecturers of theoretical and methodological subjects so that he could win the upper hand in the power struggle. His statement that design does not lead to new knowledge can also be described as polemic. His own work—for the 1972 Olympic Games, the Bayerische Rück reinsurance company, and ERCO—surely refutes this statement.

The greatest challenge no doubt resides in conclusively integrating the moral dimension of designers’ social responsibility into a theory of design that links science, research, intuition, and subjective aesthetic judgment. No one would deny that design carries a high social responsibility, but how this responsibility can be addressed in an intersubjectively negotiable formulation of design—beyond the romantic ideal of the genius—has now become a central question in design theory. We need to find new words for new concepts.

What references to the current discourse in design theory do the HfG debates make manifest? A few of the old debates are now circulating—although in new terms and formulations—about various attempts to make negotiable the autonomy of the production of knowledge and artifacts by means of design. At the HfG, experiments took place to reorder the relationships between research, analysis, drawing conclusions, conception, and design. From the current point of view, this reordering would then allow the practices in the development groups to be interpreted as seamless transitions to “practice-led research,” “project-grounded research,” or “research through design.”[24] The Ulm debates merely lacked such fine distinctions of notation and connotation. The same lack of explicit articulation applies to the overarching question of what relation exists between design and science. No one would seriously question the fact that Ulm helped pave the way to overcoming the simplistic ideas of how science leads to new knowledge, while designers can only apply this knowledge. However, these very ideas were not plumbed as deeply as they are today: The concept of the scientification of design comes across as quibbling jargon and has remained misleading.

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Aicher made the attempt to postulate fundamental methodological differences between the natural sciences and humanities, primarily for motives of power politics. He completely disregarded the obvious differences between the humanities and social sciences, although the relevance of empirical and hermeneutic paradigms and methods for design are under discussion today. Aicher’s core hypothesis about the necessity for the designer—that designers must make decisions based on subjective judgment and then develop designs from the results—can be seen as an early version of the now-famous concept of “designerly ways” of knowing and of producing knowledge.[25] Aicher defended fiercely against letting the external standards of the natural sciences be applied to design. Rather, he defined design as an activity whose goal specifically lay in the realization of ideas.

All the same, his claim to subjective judgment sets the basic belief that designers not only apply knowledge and expe-rience from adjacent disciplines into their work, but that social, cultural, and political frameworks are substantial factors in their decision-making processes. Since the second half of the 1990s, this conviction has been discussed under the transdisciplinary term, “mode 2.”[26]

Furthermore, we must recognize that the HfG redefined the role of the laboratory in design by means of practical experiments.[27] Ulm’s research station—for optical perception—and its electronic music lab were first steps in this direction, even though they saw little success because of internal problems at the school. Finally, the HfG was founded on the desire to create the utopia of a better society, one step at a time. The question of “what if...?” is more than a component of “design fiction;”[28] it is fundamental to the HfG and what it stood for. Those who were part of the school refused to accept their surroundings as given. Indeed, the HfG was based on the belief that the future can be designed.

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[1] The Ministry of Education still tried to define the school’s status according to traditional categories of the educational system in 1962: “The Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm is an institution with its own style. The operating legal entity is the Geschwister-Scholl-Stiftung, which is a foundation established under private law. This means that there is no potential for granting state recognition for this institution.” Wolfgang Donndorf, Kultusministerium von Baden-Württemberg, Aktenvermerk Nr. K 2463/94, Stuttgart, December 20, 1962.

[2] The supporting legal entity, the Geschwister-Scholl-Stiftung, had been established on December 5, 1950. Teaching began in the temporary premises on August 3, 1953. The HfG building located outside Ulm was not inaugurated until the ceremony on October 1–2, 1955. See René Spitz, HfG Ulm: The View Behind the Foreground: The Political History of the Ulm School of Design (1953–1968) (Stuttgart: Edition Axel Menges, 2002), 68ff.

[3] For more information, see Spitz, HfG Ulm, 48ff, and Eva Moser, Otl Aicher: Gestalter [Otl Aicher: Designer] (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2012).

[4] Inge Scholl was the elder sister of Aicher’s early love, Sophie Scholl, whose involvement in the students’ resistance group “Die Weiße Rose” [The White Rose] led to her murder by the Nazis in 1943. See Barbara Schüler, Im Geiste der Gemordeten… Die “Weiße Rose“ und ihre Wirkung in der Nachkriegszeit [In the Spirit of the Murdered… “The White Rose” and their Effect in the Post-War Period] (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2000).

[5] Inge Aicher-Scholl, “Eine Volkshochschule und ihre Stadt” [An Adult Education Center and its City], Der Städtetag 9 (1953): 452.

[6] One of the best-known outcomes of the HfG was the stackable dish, “TC 100,” which became popular in inexpensive hotels and youth hostels. The series was the final project of graduate Hans (called Nick) Roericht in 1959 and was manufactured by Thomas/Rosenthal. Roericht worked closely with Otl Aicher for many years. Compare his poster, “Meine 10 Stationen zu Otl Aicher,” which was shown at the exhibition, “Aicher 88,” Ulmer Museum, May 13, 2010.

[7] One of the earliest testimonies to this use is Inge Scholl’s letter to Theodor Heuss, the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, March 27, 1950. (Source: Federal Archive, Koblenz).

[8] Mart Stam was apparently the one who introduced the term “design” to the German language when he spoke of “industrial designers” in his inauguration speech as rector of Dresden’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1948. Heinz Hirdina, “Designbegriffe zwischen Kunst und Industrie” [Design Terms between Art and Industry], Weimarer Beiträge 36, no. 2 (1990): 216.

[9] Christiane Wachsmann, ed., Bauhäusler in Ulm. Grundlehre an der HfG 1953–1955 [Bauhaus Members in Ulm: The Foundation Course at the Ulm School of Design, 1953-1955] (Ulm: Süddeutsche Verlagsgesellschaft,1993).

[10] The architect Konrad Wachsmann, a student of Hans Poelzig, was deeply involved in industrial prefabrication for buildings. In the 1940s, he and Walter Gropius developed a prefab house system while they were in exile in the United States. Called the “Packaged House System;” it allowed unskilled workers to erect a wooden house in just a few hours. Michael Grüning, Der Wachsmann-Report. Auskünfte eines Architekten [The Wachsmann Report: Information of an Architect] (Berlin: Verlag der Nation, 1989).

[11] Max Bill to the members of the Gesellschaft der Freunde und Förderer der Geschwister-Scholl-Stiftung [Society of Friends and Supporters of the Geschwister-Scholl-Stiftung], Ulm, July 11, 1955.

[12] Tomás Maldonado, Protokoll zur Sitzung des Rektoratskollegiums vom 12.7. bis zum 14.7.1957 [Transcript of the Governing Board Meeting from July 12 to July 14, 1957], unpublished typescript, Ulm, July 14, 1957.

[13] In connection with this change, the Forschungsinstitut für optische Wahrnehmung (FOW) [Research Institute for Visual Perception] was set up in 1958, assisted by the Ford Foundation. Inge Aicher-Scholl hoped that the institution would be a source of constant funds. Such was not the case, and the closing of the FOW led to more unrest.

[14] Tomás Maldonado, Ansprache des Vorsitzenden des Rektoratskollegiums zur Eröffnung des 4. Studienjahrs (1957/58) [Speech of the Head of the Governing Board at the Opening of the 4th Academic Year (1957/58) ], unpublished typescript, Ulm, October 3, 1957.

[15] Tomás Maldonado, Bericht in der Verwaltungsratssitzung am 21. April 1958 [Report to the Management Board meeting April 21, 1958], unpublished typescript, Ulm, April 21, 1958.

[16] Chanpory Rith und Hugh Dubberly, “Why Horst W. J. Rittel Matters,” Design Issues 22, no. 4 (Autumn 2006): 1–20; Nigan Bayazit, “Investigating Design: A Review of Forty Years of Design Research,” Design Issues 20, no. 1 (Winter 2004): 16–29.

[17] First-year students of the Department of Visual Communication at the HfG Ulm, Denkschrift an den Vorstand der Geschwister-Scholl-Stiftung, das Rektoratskollegium und die Festdozenten der HfG Ulm [Memorandum to the Managing Board of the Geschwister Scholl Foundation, the Governing Board, and the Permanent Lecturers], unpublished typescript, Ulm, February 3, 1962.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Karlheinz Allgayer, Stellungnahme des Studentenvertreters zu den Denkschriften der Studenten des ersten Studienjahrs [The Students’ Representative’s Statement to the Memorandums of the First-year Students] unpublished typescript, Ulm, March 1962.

[20] Otl Aicher, zur situation der hochschule für gestaltung 1962 [On the Situation at the HfG 1962], unpublished typescript, Ulm, September 1962.

[21] Otl Aicher was referring to Horst Rittel, Hanno Kesting, and Gert Kalow, who as members of the rectoral college were actively involved in running the HfG between 1960 and 1962.

[22] Aicher’s election as rector on December 20, 1962, was a farce. Of all the permanently employed staff and guest lecturers, the assistants’ representatives, and the technical teachers and students, only six appeared because most others had decided to boycott the election. Of these six participants, only three were actually eligible for election. See Spitz, HfG Ulm, 276.

[23] Otl Aicher, Erklärung nach seiner Wahl zum Rektor [Statement after his Election as Rector], unpublished typescript, Ulm, December 20, 1962.

[24] Alain Findeli, “Searching for Design Research Questions: Some Conceptual Clarifications,” in Questions, Hypotheses & Conjectures – Discussions on Projects by Early Stage and Senior Design Researchers, Rosan Chow, Wolfgang Jonas, and Gesche Joost, ed. (Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2010), 278–93.

[25] Nigel Cross, “Designerly Ways of Knowing,” Design Studies 3 (October 1982): 221–27. 26 Michael Gibbons et al., The New Production of Knowledge. The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage,1994).

[27] See, e.g., Karin Knorr Cetina, Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).

[28] Julian Bleecker, “Design Fiction: A Short Essay on Design, Science, Fact, and Fiction | Near Future Laboratory.” Near Future Laboratory. blog. nearfuturelaboratory.com/2009/03/17/design-fiction-a-short-essay-on-design-science-fact-and-fiction/ (accessed March 15, 2014).


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