Bringing Bauhaus Modernism to Lithuania: Vladas Svipas’ Life and Influence.
The Lithuanian architect Vladas Svipas (1900-65) studied both at the Bauhaus in Weimar and in Dessau, and later received his diploma of architecture from the Oldenburg Polytechnic School. Svipas was the only Lithuanian at the Bauhaus. This paper will analyse Svipas’ activities and his influence on the architecture of Lithuania when he returned in the 1930s. In 1918, Lithuania had gained its independence and was about to develop into a European republic, but was also keen to develop a national style and to transform Kaunas into a capital city. Kaunas indeed was the capital of Lithuania from 1919 to 1939.
Svipas participated eagerly to help build this new identity through a modernist architecture. This paper will show that Svipas introduced Bauhaus ideas not necessarily as a radical modernist architect, but rather as an active state official. While working at the Ministry of Agriculture, he took care of the modernization of the architectural environment in the countryside while also publishing regularly. Among his many manuals on modern country houses, he released books such as Modern Town Houses (1933) and Brick Construction Program for Lithuania (1938) that were both supported and approved by the government.
Marija Drėmaitė is an associate professor in the Faculty of History, Department of Theory of History and Cultural History at Vilnius University. She holds a PhD in History of Architecture (2006); her scientific interest is focused on 20th-century modern architecture, socialist modernism and industrial heritage. In 2012, she co-authored a book on architecture in Soviet Lithuania; in 2014, she co-edited a volume, Modernism: Between Nostalgia and Criticism; and in 2016, she published a book on industrial architecture in interwar Lithuania (1920-40). Her book, Baltic Modernism (DOM Publishers, Berlin), is forthcoming in 2017.
Michał Pszczółkowski Academy of the Fine Arts, Danzig
Influences of the Bauhaus on Polish Architecture of the Interwar Period.
Influences of the Bauhaus on Polish architecture are to be linked with the functionalist period of the interwar years, especially with the architects associated with groups such as Blok and Praesens. Both groups were inspired by the Bauhaus. For example, in 1924, the first issue of the magazine Blok reprinted an article by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, which had been published in the magazine Gestaltung in 1923. Blok also presented pictures of abstract spatial compositions of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. Direct references to the views of Bauhaus members were also noticeable in the periodical Praesens, which published projects by Bauhaus architects and designers such as Mies’ German Pavilion in Barcelona or the Gewerkschaftsschule in Bernau by Hannes Meyer. In the early 1920s, Szymon Syrkus, the most significant theoretician of the Praesens group, had travelled to the most important centres of European avant-garde movements – Weimar, Berlin and Paris – where he became familiar with the ideas of the Bauhaus and the De Stijl group. Other publications in avant-garde magazines in Poland also showed interest in Bauhaus architecture, for example the article “At the Bauhaus” by Tadeusz Peiper in the magazine Zwrotnica (1927), or “The nest of modernism” by Piotr Lubański in Antena Polska (1928). Beyond the writing, architectural designs such as the Simultaneous Theatre by Andrzej Pronaszka and Szymon Syrkus (1929) also show how Polish architects were inspired by Gropius’ and Piscatore’s concept of the total theatre. This paper will analyse these writings as well as the story of a set of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer, which the Polish president Ignacy Mościcki acquired for his residence in Wisła in 1931.
Michał Pszczółkowski is a graduate of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. He holds a PhD in the field of arts and is currently working at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. His research interests focus on the history of architecture in the twentieth century. He has published articles and books on this matter and has worked in the field of preserving and protecting cultural property. Between 2007 and 2010, he developed and coordinated the project “Exploseum” (a museum of war techniques at the former factory Dynamit AG in Bydgoszcz), which was honored with the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Award in 2012.
Jonas Žukauskas Architect, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London
The Baltic Pavilion: Reading the Transnational Architectures of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
In 2016, the Baltic Pavilion represented the three countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice. Currently these three countries are the only states from the former Soviet Union that have become fully integrated into the European Project. Within this international alliance they actively undertake economic and cultural efforts to joint transnational ventures. Consequently, rather than presenting architecture and planning within the national boundaries of these countries, it was the idea of this exhibition to present a reading of the transformative efforts that have shaped these three states accross their borders. The idea was to articulate wider processes and networks of geopolitical and cultural influence and their material conditions.
Already in 1937, the Baltic Pavilion at the Paris Expo was a demonstration of unity in response to the rising geopolitical tensions between the superpowers that later would escalate in the Second World War. At the Paris exhibition, the three states built one pavilion while each exhibited in separate halls highlighting their distinctions. Trying to establish a contemporary connection between the aims of the Baltic Pavilion in Paris and its correspondent in Venice in 2016, the curators proposed to construct The Baltic Atlas that collects operative images of infrastructure space, maps of mineral resources, case studies of transport links, urban change and singular buildings as well as artists’ projects and photographic journeys across the Baltic. The paper will critically reflect on the curatorial challenges of constructing and structuring a database of varying entries.
Jonas Žukauskas is an architect based in Vilnius. He received his Diploma from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 2014, and also studied at London Metropolitan University and Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts. In 2012, together with Jurga Daubaraite and Ines Weizman, he co-curated Dissidence Through Architecture, a public conversations series for Architektūros Fondas at the National Gallery in Vilnius. He worked for MVRDV architects in Rotterdam and architecture practices in London, and exhibited work at Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. In 2016, Jonas was one of the curators and commissioners of the Baltic Pavilion representing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Bienale di Venezia. The proposal for this exhibition, the publication The Baltic Atlas and series of talks have won three separate national competitions.
Morgan Ridler William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey
Bauhaus Wall Painting and Coloured Architecture: Reconstructed, But Not Restored.
The historic projects of the Bauhaus wall painting workshop have not survived; they were painted over, forgotten for decades, and the only evidence or data of their temporary existence are plans, black and white photographs, written descriptions and scant paint fragments. This dearth of documentation has hindered the study of this workshop. In the last two decades, reconstructions of the wall colours and wall paintings in the original Bauhaus buildings have made new research and analysis possible. Examples like the reconstruction of Alfred Arndt’s colour scheme at Haus Auerbach in Jena, and the repainting of Walter Gropius’s office and the Haus am Horn in Weimar, provide critical physical and visual evidence. However, although they “demonstrate” the existence of the colours on the walls and provide the viewer with the spatial and in situ context for the wall paintings’ designs, they are not the originals. The reconstructions are not restorations; they do not bring back the lost paintings, but only mimic them.
This paper discusses advantages and shortfalls of these reconstructions. Discrepancies between them and the few remaining documents are problematic, as are the technical and material differences between the new surfaces and the original. For Bauhäusler wall painters, wall surface, texture, painting technique, quality and finishing effects were all important factors in the design and execution of the projects. Therefore, although the reconstructions of Bauhaus wall paintings and colour schemes are revelatory, they are also fragmentary and imperfect recreations of the ephemeral projects of wall painting workshop.
Morgan Ridler received her PhD in Art History at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York in February 2016. Her dissertation, “The Bauhaus Wall-Painting Workshop: Mural Painting to Wallpapering, Art to Product”, traces the projects and members of the Bauhaus’s wall painting workshop and its shift from artistic expression to the production of mass produced wallpaper.
Dr. Ridler teaches at William Paterson University. She previously taught at St. Francis College, Westchester Community College, Hunter College and Lehman College. Dr. Ridler has also worked as a curatorial intern at Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, MA and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She has presented at many academic conferences including the 12th Bauhaus Colloquium and the Fourth Conference of the European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies in Helsinki. Dr. Ridler has published her research in Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture, and is contributing to the upcoming edited volume “Bauhaus Bodies”, with a discussion of the women of the wall painting workshop.
Anna-Maria Meister is an architect currently pursuing her PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. Her work focuses on questions of norms and normed objects as technical and social desires, investigating their production and dissemination as institutional values in early twentieth-century Germany. While maintaining the disciplinary specificity of this project about modern Gestaltung as moral construction at its core, she continuous to explore elective affinities to other disciplines as pre-doctoral visiting fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, as fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European studies, and as fellow in Princeton’s Interdisciplinary Humanities Doctoral Program (IHUM). She holds degrees in Architecture from Columbia University, New York and the University of Technology, Munich. Anna-Maria Meister is a member of the research team of the “Radical Pedagogies” project at the Princeton School of Architecture and has co-curated its latest installation at the 14th Venice Biennale in the Monditalia section, where the project was awarded a Special Mention by the jury.
Thomas Flierl (PhD) studied philosophy and aesthetics at Humboldt University in Berlin, after professional engagements in public administration of culture and in politics he is since 2006 operating as historian for architecture and urban planning. He is member of the Bauhaus-Institute for History and Theory of Architecture and Planning in Weimar and author and editor of numerous books, including Berlin plant (ed. 2010), Städtebau-Debatten in der DDR (ed. 2012), Standardstädte. Ernst May in der Sowjetunion 1930 – 1933 (ed. 2012), Ernst May und die Planungsgeschichte von Magnitogorsk 1930 – 1933 (ed. 2014), Von Adenauer zu Stalin. Der Einfluss des traditionellen deutschen Städtebaus in der Sowjetunion um 1935. 2012 – 2014 and 2015 – 2016 he has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Konstanz. www.thomasflierl.de