How Buildings Learn “The Romance of Maintenance” 5/6

Voilà Episode 5 of ‘How Buildings Learn’! Two quotes from the film:

«No maintenance, no building» (5/6 @ 1:58).

It’s as simple as this. Thank you for this observation, Mr Brand!

«People involved in maintenance must always swim upstream, progressless against the current. The best satisfaction they can get from their work is to do it well. The measure of success of their labours is that the result is invisible, unnoticed. Thanks to them everything is the same as it ever was.» (5/6 @ 25:29)

A nice starting point, however, I do not fully agree with this, Mr Brand. Repair and Maintenance do more than replacing parts and restoring the original condition. To uncover the creative side of repair and maintenance is the aim of this project: Repair, Maintenance and Urban Assemblage.


Ignaz Strebel is an urban geographer and senior scientist at the University of Lausanne. His research is on the social and material practices that make up and transform urban systems. Using ethnography and audio-visual projects, he currently researches building care work, energy infrastructure services and the transformation capacities of prefabricated buildings.