A way to modernity. The Werkbund Estates 1927 - 1932
opening of the exhibition 31 March at 6 P.M.
Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw, Bernardynska 5
It was believed that they could change people and their lives. Have lasting impact on architectural landscape and start a new way of thinking about housing construction. They were an expression of the belief that in a modern, democratic world it is possible to meet the housing needs of the population and thus create a new society, conscious of its choices.
Weissenhof, Nový Dům, WuWA, Neubühl, Lainz, Baba - experimental Werkbund housing estates built in Europe between 1927-1932, significantly influenced the development of world architecture. There are only six of them - in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Austria - symbolizing ‘architectural and urban revolution’ of the first half of the twentieth century.
They constitute cultural heritage of extraordinary importance, a reflection of the history of political and social movements in Europe, a testimony of the dissemination of modernist architecture. Moreover, both today and in the future, they are an ambitious challenge in the field of monument protection.
The exhibition "A way to modernity", presented in the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw from 31 March to 5 June 2016, exhibits all the model housing estates in one place for the first time. The exhibition is one of the most important events undertaken as part of the architectural program of the European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016.
Thanks to the cooperation of six cities and six institutions affiliated with them, you will be able to see the historical plans, architectural designs and documents, models of all the estates and individual houses, as well as archival and contemporary photo documentation, original furniture, interior elements and domestic appliances. This is a unique opportunity to show the original design of a kitchen, dining room and living room from Neubühl estate in Zurich, bedroom furnishings from estates in Brno and Stuttgart, and lamps, dishes and toys from Baba estate in Prague. Presentations showing the present condition of Werkbund estates were prepared specifically for the exhibition. The exhibition is complemented by an extensive catalog containing articles written by experts in the field of modernist architecture and biographies of all the authors of the estates published in Polish, English, German and Czech. A program of meetings, lectures and educational activities is also planned to accompany the exhibition.
WERKBUND MODEL ESTATES 1927-1932
The first exhibition devoted to modern flats was organized by Werkbund in Stuttgart in 1927. The innovative idea was to show the exhibition not only in classic exposition of new materials and construction techniques in temporary structures, but also the whole housing estate with interiors. In this way, Weissenhof estate was created within the Stuttgart exhibition. It was the result of cooperation between 17 avant-garde architects of contemporary Europe and a strong impulse for the international modernist movement.
A year later, in 1928, CIAM (Congrès Internationaux de l'Architecture Moderne - International Congress of Modern Architecture) was founded in La Sarraz, and Werkbund branches in different countries were preparing new housing exhibitions, also in the form of completed housing estates.
The result were the estates in Brno (1928), Wroclaw (1929), Zurich (1931), Vienna and Prague (1932). Each of them was different, as they focused on different themes and architectural aspects, referring to the economic and political conditions of the country. They were created in order to check the functional principles of modern architecture, present new technical possibilities in mass construction and a new type of low-cost small- and medium-sized flats with great social importance. Ready-built and decorated houses were to convince their future dwellers to new ways of housing.
All Werkbund estates still exist and are inhabited. Preserving these experimental houses and their surroundings is a great challenge for the protection and conservation of monuments.
Exhibition open from 31 March till 5 June, 2016.