Session C Migration

Young Bauhaus Research Colloquium



Workshop Session C


Daniel Talesnik
Columbia University, Universidad Católica of Chile

The Itinerant Red Bauhaus: Bauhaus Migration to Mexico and Chile.

The Itinerant Red Bauhaus is an umbrella term describing a group of Bauhaus students and teachers that continued to develop aspects of Hannes Meyer’s Bauhaus tenure around the world. The Itinerant Red Bauhaus includes the so-called Red Bauhaus Brigade, a group of Bauhaus students that followed Meyer to the Soviet Union in the 1930s. By focusing on Meyer and four of these students, this paper shows that their trajectories from Germany to the Soviet Union, and later to countries like Mexico, Chile, Hungary, Iran and North Korea, begin to draw a different Bauhaus emigration map – different than the frequently studied ones of the Bauhaus migrations to America and Palestine. This paper presents the international activities of Hannes Meyer and Bauhaus graduates Tibor Weiner, René Mensch, Konrad Püschel and Philipp Tolziner as designers, city planners, teachers, polemicists and political activists in a global context. The main purpose of this paper is to prove that there was a nomadic continuation of Meyer’s Bauhaus that covered “unusual” territories. This continuation allows for a reassessment of the customary narratives of the period, and an exploration of a singular confrontation between architectural culture and left-leaning ideologies. In order to establish the Itinerant Red Bauhaus as a category, it is important to understand that it happened at a turning point when, what for the most part were national developments of modern architecture, became international. This line of inquiry also allows for research on what traveled and what did not travel with these architects.

Daniel Talesnik is a trained architect from the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. He holds a MSc in Advanced Architectural Design and a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture from Columbia University. He specializes in modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, with a particular focus on architectural pedagogy and relationships between architecture and political ideologies.
In April 2016, Daniel defended his doctoral dissertation, “The Itinerant Red Bauhaus, or the Third Emigration”, that studies a group of Bauhaus students that followed Hannes Meyer to the Soviet Union in 1930–31. This dissertation also addresses a previously unrecognized, politically motivated movement of architects from Europe to the USSR, Asia and South America in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of these architects returned to Europe after the war.
In 2016–17, he will be Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Architecture at the IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago, and he also teaches in the School of Architecture at the Catholic University of Chile.

Hideo Tomita
Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan

Collective Farming in Joyang, North Korea, in the 1950s by Konrad Püschel, a Bauhaus Graduate.

The activities of Hannes Meyer and the Bauhaus Brigade in socialist countries have been studied extensively; however, little is known about how a Bauhaus graduate undertook collective farming in North Korea in the 1950s. Therefore, this study focuses on the collective farm (Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaft, LPG) in Joyang near Hamhung, North Korea, planned by Konrad Püschel (1907–97), a graduate from the Bauhaus during Meyer’s tenure. After completing his studies at the Bauhaus, Püschel pursued urban construction in the USSR from 1931 onwards, before returning to Germany in 1937. From 1948 onwards, he worked at the Academy of Architecture and Fine Arts at Weimar, East Germany. From 1955 to 1958, he intermittently led the city planning department in the post-war reconstruction of Hamhung. To examine Püschel’s planning of the LPG, this study investigates his unpublished manuscripts and the drawings created by his team, which belong to the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Through these documents, we can understand the following points: (1) During Meyer’s tenure in Bauhaus, the important concepts followed by LPG Joyang, such as the machine and tractor station (MTS) and landscape, were the main lecture themes of Konrad von Meyenburg and Hannes Meyer; (2) Püschel points out that the LPG principle was developed in East Germany, and parallels existed between the planning methods of both countries; (3) LPG Joyang had the same characteristics as those of LPGs planned in East Germany; however, the former also incorporated the features of landscapes and villages in the Korean peninsula, ascertained by preliminary surveys.

Hideo Tomita has been working as a lecturer at the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu Sangyo University in Japan since 2012. He graduated from the doctoral course of the Graduate School of Engineering at Hiroshima University, receiving his Doctor of Engineering degree in March 2002, building on his research into Walter Gropius and Hannes Meyer. From 2005 to 2006, he was a guest researcher in the Faculty of Architecture at the Bauhaus University Weimar. In 2015, he was granted the Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering (JAABE) Best Paper Award from the Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ), Architectural Institute of Korea (AIK), and Architectural Institute of China (AIC) for his paper, “The Influence of Hannes Meyer and the Bauhaus Brigade on 1930s Soviet Architecture”.

Michael Kubo

Exporting Anonymity: Bureaucracy and Genius at the University of Baghdad.

The vectors of architectural influence are often understood to travel in one direction only: from master to disciple, elder to younger, “genius” to emulator. Such models, based on conventional notions of singular authorship, are at odds with the wave of collective and corporate architectural practices established in the years immediately after World War II. This paper explores the origins and international extension of one such practice, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), and its reduction in conventional architectural histories to the figure of one among its eight founding partners: Walter Gropius, the German émigré identified with the migration of the Bauhaus to the United States. A reassessment of this history reveals the complex stakes around questions of authorship and influence at the heart of corporate production and its global export in these decades. In particular, this paper traces how the discursive dichotomy between anonymity and signature played itself out in Baghdad, where TAC competed with Frank Lloyd Wright to design a University for the city after 1957. This battle opposed differing models of practice and claims for agency within the Iraqi context: one a demonstration of expertise within a framework of technical assistance and US export, the other a heroic appeal to the Hashemite monarchy and its mythologization through a symbolic cultural landscape. A comparison of these competing engagements reveals the contestation between bureaucracy and genius in practice and the migration of this dialectic to the non-West, as part of a globalizing discourse on modernism and modernization in the postwar period.

Michael Kubo is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture at MIT and a predoctoral fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art for 2015–2017. He was Associate Curator for OfficeUS, the US Pavilion at the 2014 International Architecture Biennale in Venice, and is co-editor of OfficeUS Atlas (2015). Kubo is a director of pinkcomma gallery in Boston and an author of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (2015), a history of concrete modernism in Boston during the urban renewal era. His writing has appeared in publications including the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Journal of Architectural Education, Harvard Design Magazine, Bauhaus Magazine, Architect, Arquine, MAS Context, CLOG and Volume. He holds a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and has taught studios and seminars at Pratt Institute, the University of Texas at Austin and SUNY Buffalo, where he was the Peter Reyner Banham Fellow for 2008–2009.

Jiat-Hwee Chang
National University of Singapore

Thinking and Designing beyond the Nation: Modernism and Indigenous Cosmopolitanism in Singapore.

This paper examines the post-colonial afterlives of modern architecture in Singapore and seeks to redress the oversights of two existing bodies of scholarship. One, we have nationalist histories of modern architecture that tend to celebrate indigenous architects and deem them as the key protagonists in constructing national identities through the masterpieces they designed. But these nationalist histories tend to underplay if not neglect the universalist and cosmopolitan aspects of modern architecture that transcended politically-bounded territories. Two, we have transnational histories on modern architecture that seem to overwhelmingly privilege the experiences of expatriate European and North American architects working in the “third world”. Indigenous architects from these developing countries appear to play negligible roles in this transnational “migration” of modern architecture as they were often no more than silent local collaborators in these accounts. Taken together, these two scholarships suggest that the indigenous architect was either an active promulgator of nationalist modern architecture or a passive recipient of international modernism. What is missing from these two views is the indigenous architect as a cosmopolitan figure, with multiple and competing affiliations that went beyond the nation.
Through a study of the lives and works of two Singapore-based architects – Lim Chong Keat and William Lim – between 1950s and 1980, I hope to capture the indigenous cosmopolitan dimensions of modern architecture that are missing from existing histories. Like many other indigenous architects in the developing countries, they were transnational figures who were conditioned to embody ways of thinking, feeling and designing beyond the nation.

Jiat-Hwee Chang (PhD, UC Berkeley) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore. His research on postcolonial architectural history and theory, and the sociotechnical aspects of sustainability in the built environment have been widely published as book chapters and journal articles. He is the author of A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience (2016), published by Routledge’s architext series, and the co-editor of Non West Modernist Past (2011). He is currently working on a co-edited volume on architectural histories and theories in Southeast Asia and a co-authored book on air-conditioning, the built environment and thermal governance. Jiat Hwee is currently an editorial board member of Architectural Histories: The Open Access Journal of European Architectural History Network and a co-editor of The Singapore Architect.

Veronica Bremer
Jacobs Universität Bremen

The Second Wave of Bauhaus Artists: An Australian Migration.

As it is conceived, the “second wave” of the Bauhaus is rooted in the migration and exile of the artists directly affiliated to the Bauhaus (1919–33) and their international contact and influence. Prominent Bauhaus figures such as László Moholy-Nagy, György Kepes and Walter Gropius, while in exile in London, influenced a multitude of cosmopolitan artists. Through their exile, due to the turbulent political atmosphere surrounding Germany, the Bauhauslers were able to meet Australians Geoffrey Collings (1905–2000), Dahl Collings (1909–88), Alistair Morrison (1911–98) and British Richard Haughton James (1906–85) through various projects.
These artists would all later employ critical Bauhaus principles and aesthetics in Australia after the encounter with the Bauhauslers, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
Not only were these cases of artistic exchange, but also cases of genuine friendships that surfaced and were able to thrive well after the Collings and James moved back to Australia and the Bauhauslers settled in cities in the United States. I aim to demonstrate the work and collaboration of the Collings duo, James and Morrison in the combined areas of design, film photography, painting, illustration, costume design, art publishing, art education and typography to further explore the entangled story of mobility, exchanges and efforts to raise the then existing artistic standards in Australia through a promotion and application of an adopted Modern aesthetic.

Veronica Bremer is a PhD candidate in the Art History and Theory Program at Jacobs University Bremen under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Isabel Wuensche. She has been involved with the DAAD-ATN Exchange Program between Germany and Australia whose primary focus is on the reception of German Modernism and the Bauhaus in Australian art, architecture and art education between 1920 and 1960.


Azadeh Mashayekhi studied architecture at Azad Tehran University. After two years of working at the Iran Organisation of Cultural Heritage with UNESCO, in 2006 she moved to the Netherlands, where she finished her post-graduate studies in European Urbanism (EMU) in 2008. She joined Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2009, where she worked on several architecture and urban design projects, as well as contributing to the book project Al Manakh II in collaboration with Volume magazine in 2010. She started her PhD research in 2011 at TUDelft at the Faculty of Architecture. Her research concerns the history and theory of modernity and urbanism as it relates to the twentieth-century urbanization of Tehran. This project developed a new approach to the framing and visualization of the historical process of urbanization in Tehran. In 2014, she initiated and curated the first ever Iranian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. She has published articles in several publications such as Volume and Polis, and has collaborated with the Netherlands Architecture Institute and the International New Town Institute on several research projects. Her current research project “Making Them Like Us”, was recently awarded by Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Michael Kraus is an architect and publisher based in Weimar and a research associate at Technische Universität Darmstadt where he is responsible for the ongoing research project “Housing in Europe”, an investigation of post-war housing schemes in European cities. The international conference and accompanying exhibition “The Renewal of Dwelling” will take place in November 2016 at the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt. His own doctoral research focuses on German post-war architecture journals as mediums of both architectural debate and political agendas in regards to the development of housing after World War II.
Michael Kraus studied Architecture at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, IIT Chicago and Stanford University. In 2010, he has been a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of “HORIZONTE – Journal for architectural discourse”. In 2012 he became Germany’s youngest architecture publisher when he founded M BOOKS, an independent publishing company in Weimar that produces books on architecture and related fields. Mensa am Park, a book on an important example of East-German modernist architecture has been awarded the Architectural Book Award by the German Architecture Museum.
He is the co-editor of the upcoming monographic volume Poetische Utopie – Der Architekt und Hochschullehrer Burkhard Grashorn (2016) on the life and work of Germany’s first commissioner to the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 1980.