Bauhaus balconies in Dessau, 1927. photo: László Moholy-Nagy. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin

Taking a Stand?

Debating the Bauhaus and Modernism

An international symposium of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in the context of original bauhaus
29/30 November 2019, Berlinische Galerie

The symposium was concerned on a number of levels with the idea of taking a stand. It first considered the attitude of Bauhaus exponents and modernist architects living as émigrés or in exile or in divided post-war Germany, working in conflict situations and areas of tension. To what extent are their ideas regarding the planning and construction of buildings for a ›new world‹ changing in other political, economic and social contexts? Questions relating to attitude and standpoint encompass learning processes, too, which have lost none of their relevance in light of the current challenge to acknowledge and meet local needs in a globalised world.

The question of stands adopted also impinges on our present-day relationship to the Bauhaus and on our cultural self-awareness. The attitude in the past towards the Bauhaus and Bauhaus pedagogy in Sweden, Latin America and China, which makes itself felt in processes of exchange, translation and transformation, has shown the Bauhaus to be a transnational and transcultural network of relationships featuring asymmetrical power structures. How does this realisation – running counter to the idea of Bauhaus as a »major German export« – affect the way we deal with the Bauhaus? And how do our principles and standards come to bear?

Attitudes inform the processes of reception and suppression in the writing of history and in remembrance politics. Which self-image or self-awareness, which world view and which projections into the future underpin these attitudes? And how much scope do we have for new discoveries, peripheral perspectives and transformation processes?

The event brought together international academics and students from the Paula Fürst and Nelson Mandela Schools in a non-public workshop as part of the Bauhaus Agents Programme and invited the students to participate in the opening evening and discussion.

With simultaneous interpretation in German / English

Concept and coordination: Andrea Bärnreuther, Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung

Full programme (PDF)

The event was supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the »original bauhaus« exhibition project. The centenary exhibition of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin, in cooperation with the Berlinische Galerie is supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.


29th November, 6 pm - 8.30 pm

Welcome address
Thomas Köhler, Director, Berlinische Galerie Annemarie Jaeggi, Director, Bauhaus Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung

Introductory words
Andrea Bärnreuther, research associate, Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung

Opening address
Olaf Scholz, Deputy Federal Chancellor, Federal Minister of Finance

Keynote speech
Winfried Nerdinger, Director, Fine Arts Department, Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste; Professor Emeritus of Excellence for History of Architecture and Structural Design, TU München

Conversation between Winfried Nerdinger and Olaf Scholz and discussion with the audience
Moderator: Anh-Linh Ngo, architect, co-editor of ARCH+, co-founder of the initiative “projekt bauhaus”


30th November, 10 am - 8 pm

9 am - 10 am

10 am
Welcome address
Birgitta Müller-Brandeck, Director of Administration, Berlinische Galerie Annemarie Jaeggi, Director, Bauhaus Archive / Museum für Gestaltung

Andrea Bärnreuther, research associate, Bauhaus Archive / Museum für Gestaltung

Section I: Planning and Building for a ‘New World’?
Conflict situations, areas of tension, learning processes Moderator: Titia Rixt Hoekstra, Lecturer, Creative Technology, University of Twente, Enschede

Planning for “the New World”: Hannes Meyer in the Soviet Union and Mexico
Raquel Franklin, Head of Theory of Architecture Department, Universidad Anáhuac México

Richard Paulick – From Bauhaus to the Stalinallee and back
Ulrich Hartung, architecture historian, Berlin

Formalism and the Real: Bruno Taut’s translation of Neues Bauen in exile
Paola Ardizzola, Assistant Professor, Architecture & Interior Design Department, Architec-ture Program, LAU – Lebanese American University, Beirut Campus

Hannes Meyer in Mexico: Revolution, Modernity, and Critical Regionalism
Ryan Fred Long, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Maryland

12.40 pm - 2 pm

2 pm - 4.30 pm
Section II: Bauhaus and Bauhaus pedagogy in Sweden, Latin America and China. Processes of exchange, translation and transformation in the political space
Moderator: Joaquín Medina Warmburg, Professor of History of Architecture and Construction, KIT-Fakultät für Architektur, Karlsruhe

Reception, Exile and Folkhemmet – Sweden and the Bauhaus
Atli Magnus Seelow, Associate Professor for Theory and History of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology

Born from the periphery - Gui Bonsiepe’s contribution to a symbolic production of design within the cultural-political context of Salvador Allende’s Chile
Susanne Neubauer, freelance art historian and guest researcher at the Universidade de Brasilia (with co-author Marcelo Mari, Adjunct Professor, Instituto de Artes Visuais, Universidade de Brasilia)

The “Integral Architect”. Co-op in Chile
Daniel Maulen de los Reyes, researcher in the interface between art, science, technology and society specializing in Chile and South America

A Double Agency of China’s Bauhaus: Pedagogical Modernities and Problematics at Tongji & Tsinghua University
Chin-Wei Chang, PhD student in Architectural History & Theory, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

4.30 pm - 5 pm
Coffee break

5 pm - 7 pm
Section III: History writing and remembrance politics. Processes of reception and suppression
Moderator: Doreen Mende, Associate Professor and Head of CCC Research Masters and PhD Forum at the Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD), Geneva

The Myth of the Bauhaus City Tel Aviv
Philipp Oswalt, Professor for Design and Architecture Theory, Universität Kassel

The Bauhaus and the labour movement in Palestine – Shmuel Mestechkin and Munio Gitai (Weinraub)
Ronny Schüler, research associate and PhD student, Chair in Theory and History of Modern Architecture, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Damnatio memoriae – Mart Stam. A case study
Simone Hain, architecture historian

7 pm - 7.20 pm

7.20 pm – 8 pm
Closing discussion: What remains to be done
Moderator: Annemarie Jaeggi

With Titia Rixt Hoekstra, Joaquìn Medina Warmburg, Doreen Mende

Closing words
Andrea Bärnreuther