Since 2019, Kim Förster is Lecturer in Architectural Studies at The University of Manchester and member of the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG). In his work Förster focusses on social, cultural, political, and economic issues in relation to architecture in a broad sense, as object and process, a critical perspective on architectural institutions, cultural production, and alternative pedagogy since the 1960s, and more broadly the histories and theory of architecture in 19th and 20th century. His current project deals with architecture and the environment, i.e. notions of ecology, archives of energy transition, and the politics and economies of sustainability at different spatial scales over the last five decades. Exploring these complex, often ambiguous, if not paradoxical issues from a interdisciplinary perspective, having an academic background in English and American Studies, Geography and Pedagogy, he bases his socio-historical research on institutional analysis and discourse analysis, archival research and oral history.
Förster received his doctorate in architecture from ETH Zurich in 2011, where previously, as a postdoctoral lecturer, he has taught a seminar on research methods in the doctoral program in history and theory of architecture at the gta Institute. Before joining The University of Manchester, from 2016 to 2018, Förster was Associate Director of Research at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montréal, supervising multiple research programs for different cohorts of scholars, most particularly topical collaborative research projects funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Over the summer, he has been directing the CCA’s Doctoral Students Program, which brings 20 PhD candidates to Montreal to pursue archival research, conceiving one-week summer schools on contemporary concepts or methods, e.g. on “Key Concepts on the Environment,” “Oral History,” or “Activisms in Research and Teaching”. For his own research he received funding from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts and the Swiss National Research Fund (SNRF).
Förster’s monograph on the history of the renowned Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (New York, 1967-1985) is forthcoming in 2019 as cooperation of the CCA and gta Verlag at ETH Zurich. He has published widely in anthologies, most recently Mediated Messages: Periodicals, Exhibitions, and the Shaping Postmodern Architecture (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Routledge Companion to Architecture and Social Engagement (Routledge, 2018), as well as invarious architectural magazines and journals (e.g. ARCH+, Architectural Histories, Archithese, Bauwelt, Candide, Clog, Landscript, Project, Werk, Bauen und Wohnen), as co-editor of An Architektur, member of common room, and currently guest editor of Candide. Together with common room he is co-editor of the publication Arts for Living (2013).
Förster, K.: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (New York, 1965-1985), Montreal: CCA, 2019. (forthcoming)
Förster, K. and common room [eds.]: Arts for Living, New York: common books, 2013.
Förster, K., „The Green IBA. On a Politics of Renewal, Ecology, and Solidarity“, Candide 11, 2019. (forthcoming)
Förster, K., et al. „Architecture and the Environment. Field Notes", Architectural Histories, 2018, 1-13.
Förster, K. and Escher, C, „Revisiting Görlitzer Park: Material Practices and the Postmodern Landscape,“ in: Jane Hutton [ed.]: Landscript 5, issue: "Material Culture", Berlin: Jovis, 2017, 154-173.
Förster, K. and with common room, „Learning as a Problem-oriented Form of Practice“, Volume 45, issue: "Learning", 2015, 113-117.
Förster, K., „‘Wie bauen, wie weiter leben?‘ Frei Ottos Vision vom ökologischen und gemeinsamen Bauen“, Bauwelt, 20, issue: "Frei nach Otto", 2015, 28/29.
Förster, K., „‚Is there such thing as evil objects?‘: A Review of Lucius Burckhardt Writings“, Architectural Histories, 2014, 2(1): 4, 1-3.
Förster, K. and common room, „A New Framework for an Architecture of Coexistence. Ivan Illich Re-Read“, Project. A Journal for Architecture, No. 3, Spring 2014, 14-17.
Förster, K., „The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies: Wallace K. Harrison. New York Architect (Press Release),“ in: Sylvia Lavin [ed.]: Architecture Itself, and Other Postmodern Myths, Leipzig: Spector Books, 2019. (forthcoming)
Förster, K., „Institutionalizing Postmodernism: Reconceiving the Journal and the Exhibition at the IAUS in 1976“, in: Véronique Patteeuw / Léa-Catherine Szacka [eds.]: Mediating Messages: On the Role of Exhibition and Periodicals in Critically Shaping Postmodern Architecture, London: Bloomsbury, 2018, 213-229.
Förster, K., „Umdenken Umschwenken: Environmental Engagement and Swiss Architecture,“ in: Karim, Farhan [ed.]: Routledge Companion to Architecture and Social Engagement, Routledge: New York and London, 2018.
Förster, K., „Differentiating Eisenman“ & „Against Eisenman“, in: Djokovis, Vladan / Bojanovic, Petar [eds.]: Peter Eisenman. In Dialogue with Architects and Philosophers. Sesto San Giovanni: Mimesis International, 2017, 171-204, 205-228.
Förster, K., „New Opportunities. The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies,“ in: Giovanna Borasi [ed.]: The Other Architect, Leipzig: Spector Books, 2015, 374-376.
Förster, K., „Common Interests. From Deschooling to Retooling Society“ in: common room [ed.]: the public school for architecture brussels, Brussels: common books, 2015, 67-76.