Anna Vallye University of Pennsylvania Connecticut College
A Transatlantic Study in Techniques of Governance: Walter Gropius’s and Martin Wagner’s Campaign for Postwar Planning.
Scholarship on the Bauhaus diaspora in the late interwar and postwar period has had much to say about the migration of pedagogical approaches, ideologies and design aesthetics. However, not enough attention has been devoted to examining how émigré Bauhäusler, used to navigating Weimar Republic politics, contended with new political, economic and legal structures of governance in their adopted countries.
This talk presents a case study in the pitfalls of modernist expertise transfer from Germany to the United States during the interwar and war years. As eminent émigrés, Walter Gropius and Martin Wagner bore the legacy of extensive experience working with the managerial and political structures of the nascent social democratic state in Weimar Republic Germany. In their adoptive country, they confronted the evolving apparatus of the American welfare state, emergent in the New Deal and consolidated during war mobilization in part through adopting and modifying Western European models. During the 1940s, Gropius and Wagner collaboratively produced a series of speculative publications, studio projects and similar ventures, which outlined an approach to postwar state-sponsored rebuilding of the nation’s urban fabric. Their proposals attempted to translate the current technocratic discourse of economic policy into terms amenable to architectural intervention, expressing the balance between economic freedom and state management that was the central imperative of the American welfare state as a relationship between (private) dwelling and (public) land.
Anna Vallye is Assistant Professor in Art History and Architectural Studies at Connecticut College (2017–), and is currently Mellon Junior Fellow in Humanities, Urbanism and Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
Vallye is working on a book titled The Management of Modernity: Modern Architecture and the Politics of State Governance, which focuses on the American careers of German-speaking architects, planners and designers Walter Gropius, Martin Wagner, Ludwig Hilberseimer and Gyorgy Kepes in the interwar and immediate postwar period. Vallye holds a PhD in Art History from Columbia University. Previously, she was Research Associate at the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sam Fox School of Design and the Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she curated “Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis” (2013–2014). She is the author of the 2014 Dedalus Foundation award-winning exhibition catalogue by the same title, as well as essays in several edited scholarly anthologies and catalogues, and in journals such as arq: Architecture Research Quarterly, Constructs and Grey Room.
Azadeh Mashayekhi TU Delft
“Making Them Like Us”: The Transfer of Architectural and Urban Planning Ideas to Iran during the Cold War.
The concept of the Third World was coined during the Cold War in reference to countries that belonged neither to the socialist nor capitalist block. Iran was among these so-called Third World countries, diagnosed as backward and underdeveloped since the turn of the twentieth century and, by the 1950s, striving for political identity, modernization and industrialization. This paper looks at the instances of American and European involvement in the production of urban space in Iranian cities since the concept of the “Third World” was introduced, up until the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and shows how the trajectories of knowledge transfer amounted to more than an asymmetrical power relationship between donor and recipient. Instead, by drawing on unexplored archival material, this research brings forward the argument that in Iran, the conceptual base and the design of such global modern urban spaces were formulated not only in relationship between American or some European town planners and Iranian counterparts but in a multipolar exchange between technocrats and experts from different parts of the globe. Ultimately, this paper not only discusses the “imposed modernism” and its adaptation to the condition of Iranian cities, but also shows how the modernist idiom had been increasingly challenged.
Additionally, this project seeks to make a meaningful contribution to an alternative historiography of Cold War urbanism and the impact of transnational architecture practice in the Middle East. Lastly, this study aims to signal how the expert culture emerging in the latter half of the twentieth century continues to influence the architecture of modern cities in Iran.
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. For her current research project “Making Them Like Us” she recently received a grant by Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
Hamed Khosravi Oxford Brookes University
Obscured Modernism: Revisiting the Legacy of Gabriel Guevrekian.
“I felt very odd”, said the 25-year-old Gabriel Guevrekian on being appointed vice-president of the music section at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. “I was hardly more than a boy, and the rest of the jury were old men.” Less than three years later, we see the precocious architect again, standing in the front row of a group photograph commemorating the founding of CIAM at La Sarraz in 1928. Immediately recognisable by his bald head, sharp double-breasted suit and confident, upright posture, Guevrekian radiates an obvious assurance – all the more remarkable given that he was standing shoulder to shoulder with many of the leading lights of the modern movement, among them Max Ernst, Mart Stam, Josef Frank, Siegfried Giedion, Gerrit Rietveld and, skulking towards the back of the group, Le Corbusier. Not yet 30, Guevrekian was now recognised as one of the protagonists of the European avant-garde. But other roles awaited him. Before another decade was out, Guevrekian had hopped continents to work on a series of monumental buildings that were designed to present to the outside world the modern face of Reza Shah’s Iran. Then, after a career drought coinciding with the Second World War, he again moved thousands of miles to take on his final guise, first as a professor at Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1948 and shortly after at the University of Illinois where he taught until his retirement in 1969.
This paper will aim to reconstruct the work and influence of Guevrekian’s works from Tehran to Vienna, Paris, Saarbrücken, London, Auburn, Pittsburgh and Chicago and present the architect as a forerunner of the modern movement and promoter of cross-continental exchange of ideas.
Hamed Khosravi is an architect, writer and educator. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran (BA). He holds a Master in Architecture (Msc) from Iran University of Science and Technology. He later studied Urbanism at TU Delft and Istituto di Architettura di Venezia (European Postgraduate Master in Urbanism-EMU). Hamed received his PhD in “The City as a Project” programme at TU Delft/ Berlage Institute. Hamed teaches at the school of architecture, Oxford Brookes University and is a guest lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture TU Delft. In 2013, he co-founded Behemoth, a Rotterdam-based architectural think-tank, with whom he curated “Architecture of Fulfilment” at the 2014 Venice Biennale, “Penelope; the Endless Loom” for the Supreme Achievement, Rome 2015, and “Cerberus, the Three-Headed Monster” for the 2016 Venice Biennale. His recent articles include “Camp of Faith” (2013), “Geopolitics of Tabula Rasa” (2014) and “Discreet Austerity” (2015).
Laura Martínez de Guereñu IE School of Architecture and Design, Madrid
Opening Transnational Paths: The Arrival of Bauhaus Products in Barcelona.
The Bauhaus sent objects from its carpentry, metal and weaving workshops to the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. Lilly Reich and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the interiors of all German sections. Besides arranging more than three hundred industrial exhibitors, Mies ubiquitously displayed his original furniture of the Weissenhofsiedlung and soon after registered two patents in Spain. Josef and Anni Albers traveled to see the exhibition. Anni explored the advances in looms and textiles, since she would lead the Bauhaus weaving workshop during the fall. Josef photographed several elements of the fairground and the city’s fabric, which would have an impact on his explorations of transparency in the 1930s.
Marcel Breuer financed a four-month sabbatical period in Spain with the royalties of his tubular steel furniture in 1931. Breuer learned the meaning of the Spanish proverb “Sun and Shadow” from the bullfights, which he would recall in the late 1940s to explain his design philosophy. Walter Gropius met Breuer at the CIRPAC preparatory meeting of CIAM IV, and funded his trip to Barcelona with a lecture he gave on “Arquitectura Funcional”.
With documents from twenty different archives, this paper reveals the bidirectional creative exchanges between the Bauhaus and Barcelona from 1928 to 1932. It brings to light the role of the Bauhaus products (workshop objects, interior designs, furniture, lectures, photographs) in opening up transnational paths in continental Europe and shows the impact of the environment of Barcelona and its cultural features in the Bauhauslers’ design principles in future years.
Laura Martínez de Guereñu explores the creative exchanges between northern and southern Europe as well as North America, through the travels and immigrations of the architects and artists of the twentieth century. She is currently developing the project “Bauhaus, Spain, America: Exchanges and Cultural Transfers (1928–1975)” for which she was awarded a BBVA Foundation Grant for Researchers and Cultural Creators. Outcomes of this investigation are “Bauhauslers on the Franco-Spanish Border” (Architectural Histories, Travel, EAHN, 2016) as well as “Anni Albers and Lilly Reich in Barcelona 1929: Weavings and Exhibition Spaces” (MoMoWo, 2016). She has published several articles on architects, artists and thinkers on modern tradition and she is the editor of Josef Albers: An Anthology (1924-1978) (Fundación Juan March, 2014). Her research has received the support of the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, RCC-Harvard University and Fundación Rafael del Pino, among other institutions. She holds a PhD and a Dipl Arch from University of Navarra, and a Master in Design Studies with distinction from Harvard University. She is an Assistant Professor at IE University (Madrid-Segovia).
Loukas Bartatilas Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Bauhaus Influences on Post-War Greece: The Architect Ioannis Despotopoulos.
Ioannis Despotopoulos was the only Greek student of the historical Bauhaus. He belonged to the group of Bauhaus students who came from abroad and brought their influences from other cultural contexts, as well as to the group of students who were forced to migrate from their country either in the time before, during or after the Second World War.
This paper will be divided into two parts. The first part will present how Despotopoulos experienced the Bauhaus and Germany in the 1920s through the analysis of his 1982 text about the Bauhaus, a 1978 interview about teaching methods there and a 1970 lecture about the work of Walter Gropius. The second part will present how Despotopoulos applied his influences from the Bauhaus and his stay in Germany to the 1930s Greek context through the analysis of two texts published shortly after he returned to Greece in 1932 and before the 1934 CIAM in Athens. During the 1930s, the time when the modern era arrived in Greece, Despotopoulos was one of the protagonists of this early Modern Movement and one of the few representatives of the German school of thought at the CIAM.
Both parts will give a first insight, on the one hand, to how the Bauhaus was perceived and understood by a student coming from another culture and on the other hand how Bauhaus ideas were spread to this other culture through the later work of this student.
Loukas Bartatilas holds a Diploma of Architecture from the University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece (1999–2006) and an MFA in Public Art & New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (2008–2010). In 2009, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Bauhaus, he participated as a visiting student in the workshop Chicago Bauhaus Labs, organised by the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, USA.
Since 2014, he has been a PhD candidate at the department of History and Theory of Architecture of the Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany, researching the influence of the Bauhaus on Greek modernist architecture through the work of Ioannis Despotopoulos, the only Greek student of the historical Bauhaus.
He works parallelly in the field of city making through social urban planning and public art, focusing on neighbourhood participatory urban projects. He is a representative of the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network and lives and works between Athens and Berlin.
Marija Drėmaitė (PhD) is an associate professor at Vilnius University, Faculty of History, Department of Theory of History and Cultural History. Since 2006 she holds a PhD in History of Architecture; her scientific interest is focused on twentieth-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 the 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.
Simone Bogner studied Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin/Universität Wien and Heritage Preservation at the Technische Universität Berlin. 2012 she was a project manager and press officer for the German contribution „Reduce / Reuse / Recycle“ of the 13th Architecture Exhibition, Biennale di Venezia. 2012-2016 she worked as a research assistant Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Department Heritage Preservation and History of Architectur. Her research interests are preservation practices in the former GDR, the appropriation of history in Post War architectural modernism and the representation of the built environment in film and media. As a photographer she has been working on the intersection of art and research together with London based artist Adam Knight; their book will be published with Mbooks, Weimar in 2017. Since 2015 she is the programme director of the DFG Research Training Group „Identity and Heritage“,a structured PhD programm of TU Berlin and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, which will start in October 2016. In her PhD thesis she examines the appropriation of history entitled „But how can you do without history?“ – Heritage, Tradition and Identity in CIAM’s Post-War Discourse on Urban Design 1943-1959, including research visits at the Architectural Association in London, the ETH Zürich and the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge/Mass.