Bauhaus boss warns east German architecture endangered

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Bauhaus boss warns east German architecture endangered
The former seat of the GDR parliament before it was torn down. Photo: DPA

Germany needs to rethink its relationship to the architecture of its formerly communist eastern half, head of famed Bauhaus Dessau Foundation Philipp Oswalt said on Tuesday.


Oswalt told news agency DDP he feels there remains a “drive to physically erase the regime of injustice,” adding that efforts continue to remove traces of socialism in many formerly East German city centres.

This urge is a mistake, according to Oswalt.

Check out The Local’s photo gallery of East German architectural gems.

Just a few months before the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, pre and post-war modern architecture is judged unequally in what was East and West Germany, he said.

The quality of architecture in the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) may be difficult to ascertain, and only the passage of time will reveal what Germany has felt worthy of preserving.

During the post-war era, modern architecture was an unquestioned symbol of a better, progressive Germany – but today’s Zeitgeist ignores this wholesale, he said.

He also criticised GDR architecture from late in the communist country’s existence, saying that the late 1960s and 1970s showed a departure from innovative and high-quality building as economic pressure and industrialisation took over.

Oswalt’s criticism comes ahead of a major exhibition opening in Berlin on Wednesday to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the revolutionary Bauhaus movement, which inspired many aspects of modern architecture.

Exhibition: Modell Bauhaus

The Martin Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstrasse 7

July 22 - October 4, 2009

Iconic pieces from Germany's three Bauhaus institutions, the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau, the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin and the Bauhaus Museum Weimar provide a comprehensive overview of the Bauhaus' contributions to 20th century design and examine the movement's influence on the present day.



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