Housing exhibitions in which the houses themselves are displayed as built objects (either temporary or permanent ones) had a major influence on the development of the twentieth century’s residential architecture. These exhibitions were underpinned by often-changing objectives, such as the uniting of architecture, art and industry, or the demonstration of new construction techniques. Issues such as the shortage of housing formed an important part of the programming in the 1930s, and also during the post-war reconstruction period. Cloaked ambitions such as the promotion of architectural ideals and the expression of political views can often be properly traced after the fact. These days, building exhibitions are rarely limited to housing alone; themes such as sustainability and climate change are also high on the agenda. Since the 1980s, and mainly in Germany, attention has been drawn to entire cities and regions via an Internationale Bauausstellung (IBA), without any fixed planning concept, but rather as the initiator of an open-ended transformation.
DASH 9 focuses on the objectives, results, and consequences of housing exhibitions. Essays by Frederique van Andel, Lucy Creagh, Sandra Wagner-Conzelmann, and Noud de Vreeze make connections between various exhibitions and major milestones in the history of residential architecture.
The planning documentation includes a series of wellknown and less well-known exhibitions, such as ‘Ein Dokument Deutscher Kunst’ in Darmstadt, ‘Die Wohnung unserer Zeit’ in Berlin, the Werkbund Exhibition in Vienna, ‘Il Quartiere Triennale 8’ in Milan, and the ‘Documenta Urbana’ in Kassel. More recent exhibitions that are explored include the ‘City of Tomorrow’ in Malmö and the IBA in Hamburg, which ended in 2013.
An interview with Barry Bergdoll examines the tradition of homes being exhibited on a 1:1 scale in the Museum of Modern Art’s sculpture garden in New York. DASH also discusses with Vanessa Miriam Carlow, a member of the ‘Prae-IBA-Team’, whether the ideas for the cancelled IBA 2020 in Berlin might still be of value for that city.
The many housing exhibitions of the past 100 years attest to the ongoing search for the ideal home. Housing exhibitions are an excellent example of research by design. They are manifestos that try to give answers to current social issues and introduce new ideals, but at the same time they also present concrete housing designs. […]
Housing exhibitions present experimental answers to urgent social and economic issues that are related to housing, especially in times of crisis. This makes exhibitions an important link between theory and practice. The ‘growing home’ is an experimental idea that was developed in the 1930s, but it might also be suitable for the current crisis.
The Stockholm exhibition of 1930 was an important milestone in the development of Swedish housing. In this article, Creagh shows that the housing designs that were examined in this exhibition focused mainly on the functionalist floor plan. Their obvious lack of economic feasibility made it clear that public housing was not only a market product, but was also subject to socioeconomic laws of its own.
When the Hansaviertel was completed, its separate buildings were widely praised, yet the layout of the district in terms of urban planning was the subject of harsh criticism from the trade press. Sandra Wagner-Conzelmann shows that the ideology of an open building, which was already outdated at that time, was used as a propaganda tool in the fight against the East German ideal of the compact city.
Two Dutch housing exhibitions that were held in the 1990s triggered a reorientation of the then-current design principles for home plans. The exhibits were the result of an unprecedentedly fruitful and effective relationship between the municipality of Almere, builders, housing corporations, designers and suppliers.
In the MoMA tradition of showing full-scale model homes, in 2008 Barry Bergdoll organized an exhibition called ‘Home Delivery’. In the interview, the then-curator Bergdoll talks about this tradition, and about the need to show the public what the importance of architectural thinking is.
Rezoning and new, non-traditional methods of financing were some of the themes of IBA 2020 in Berlin. Although this building exhibition was cancelled, Vanessa Miriam Carlow, a member of the preparatory group, thinks that the ideas for IBA 2020 have not been lost, and that they will trickle into the thinking about the city via other channels.
The planning documentation for this ninth issue of DASH contains ten exhibition projects that give an overview of the different approaches to, and motivations behind, housing exhibitions during the past 100 years. All of the documented examples featured homes exhibited on a 1:1 scale. With the exception of the exhibition ‘Die Wohnung unserer Zeit’, which […]
In 1899, Ernst Ludwig von Hessen, the Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt and the grandson of Queen Victoria, founded the Darmstädter Künstlerkolonie (Darmstadt Artists’ Colony). In the previous year, the Darmstadt art publisher Alexander Koch had made it clear in a treatise to the Grand Duke that the intertwining of art and craft was of great […]
In 1931, amid the economic crisis, the Deutsche Bauausstellung opened in Berlin. It was the result of an initiative started several years beforehand to open a permanent building exhibition in Berlin. Part of this exhibition was to consist of several separate, temporary exhibitions, such as the ‘Internationale Ausstellung für Städtebau und Wohnungswesen’ and the exhibition […]
The Wiener Werkbundsiedlung was created as the last in a group of example neighbourhoods that were built in Central Europe between 1927 and 1932 as part of a series of architecture exhibitions. They were an initiative of the various Werkbund organizations in Europe, and were intended as showcases for the ideas of modern architecture, and […]
In 1937, a major exhibition was organized in Düsseldorf, at the site where the Nordpark is currently located. The event took place four years after the National Socialists had seized power in Germany, and coincided with the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) in Paris. The initiator of the exhibition was the Deutsche Werkbund (the German Association […]
In 1930 the echoes of the 1927 Weissenhof exhibition were received at the fourth edition of the triennial of Monza. The architecture section went beyond the traditional exhibition of architectural drawings and models to build full-scale prototypes on the theme of the ‘modern house’. In 1933, the fifth triennial moved from Monza to Milan where […]
The creation of this international showcase of ‘domestic culture’ dates back to 1960, when the Bouwfonds Nederlandse Gemeenten (a former semi-public company that focused on homes and mortgages) put up a piece of land for sale in the Dutch village of Doorwerth, earmarked to be used for ‘normal development’. But the Bouwfonds’s director at the […]
The experimental residential area known as Documenta Urbana arose in the context of Documenta, the contemporary art exhibition that began in Kassel in 1955, and now takes place once every five years. Documenta Urbana was ultimately not part of the programme of (1982), but that made it no less topical. The programme for the neighbourhood […]
In 1979, 23 years after the realization of the Interbau exhibition in Berlin’s Hansaviertel district, the initiative was taken to organize a new, large-scale building exhibition in Berlin. When the exhibition officially ended in 1987, a large number of projects had been built, but together these amounted to only half of the construction plans. The […]
Malmö, with its 270,000 inhabitants, is the third-largest city in Sweden. Since 2000, Malmö has been connected to Copenhagen by the Öresund Bridge, yet it has continued to struggle with its image as a dilapidated port city. To shed this image, the city developed a plan (together with the Swedish state and a range of […]
Much like other recent IBA exhibitions, IBA Hamburg 2013 covers a large area, and also touches on a wide range of topics. The activities take place on the river islands of Wilhelmsburg and Veddel. On these Elbeinseln (Elbe islands), with their unique urban, industrial and geographical characteristics, the IBA’s three main themes are addressed: the […]