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"Building a New World: Architectural Visions of Expressionism"
2003-07-16 until 2003-09-15
Bauhaus Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung
Berlin, , DE Germany

With the end of World War I, law and order in Germany collapse. The political chaos of these years inspires also architects to search for new solutions. Leaving the familiar behind them, they address comprehensive approaches that envision nothing less than the creation of a new world. In times marked by a lack of work, thoughts on a better future supersede the realities of life. Architects exchange their audacious ideas in the form of drawings in small, committed circles. These games for thought, which in our contemporary eyes resemble a mixture of Jules Verne and Startrek, epitomize one of the most daring phases in twentieth century architecture. Indeed, the drawings by Scharoun, Mies van der Rohe, Poelzig, or Luckhardt are amongst the most impressive of their sort. The few buildings that were actually realized – such as the Einsteinturm in Potsdam or the Chilehaus in Hamburg – are in rank with the most famous ones of the twenties.

On paper at least, the designs attempt to create an architecture using new building materials – most particularly glass – or else pick up the potentials of an older material, the clay brick, from which until then completely unknown capacities are developed. The architects’ projects were just as divergent as their underlying ideologies: some designs were modeled on socialist ideals; others were concerned with popular ideas. It can hardly be said that they have any common denominator apart from the search for a new all-embracing architecture.

Over 120 objects in the exhibition – drawings, models, paintings, and works on paper – offer an overview of this unusually multifarious path towards modern architecture that lasted but a few years.

A tour program of the respective buildings in Berlin will round off the portrait of the period as imparted by the exhibition.

The exhibition is a cooperation between the Kunstsammlungen Böttcherstraße, Bremen and the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin, in collaboration with the Stiftung Archiv der Akademie der Künste, department of architecture, Berlin

Exhibition catalogue: 192 pages, over 200 color illustrations, 24 _

IMAGE:
Erich Mendelsohn
Einsteinturm in Potsdam, 1919
courtesy of arquitecturavisual.com


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