bauhaus reuse, Ernst-Reuter-Platz, Berlin, Germany
© bauhaus reuse (BHR)
Against the backdrop of the societal developments that accompanied the rise of modernism, the festival draws attention to contemporary challenges in urban development and to urban social issues.
In this respect, the Ernst-Reuter-Platz square in Berlin – a post-war showcase project that was to stand in contrast to the Nazi past – is a special site of interest. With its open and spacious layout, Ernst-Reuter-Platz presents a significant clustering of post-war modernist heritage. Based on a once car-friendly traffic plan and surrounded by a four-lane roundabout, the square presents diverse layers of development history. As a large public space with two popular universities, Ernst-Reuter-Platz is today a busy educational site. , but also confronted with a diverse today's perception in the cityscape and by the urban population.
Against this melange of development history, bauhaus reuse on Ernst-Reuter-Platz becomes an interventional medium of discourse between the heterogeneous heritage featured in the large square and the tangible questions we wish to pose to the cities of today and tomorrow.
National Gallery Prague, Czech Republic
© NG Prague / NG Praha
As a former hub of the modernist avant-garde, Prague is an ideal location for hosting discussions on the relationship between Bauhaus and Functionalism and the transfer of modernist ideas through personal contacts, print media and direct and indirect networks. These networks were rich across the whole of Central Europe, as many Bauhaus students and teachers originated in the region, including Karel Teige, László Moholy-Nagy, Lucia Moholy and others. At the same time, the architects in Prague and other cities of Central Europe worked independently on original architectural and artistic functionalist concepts.
In the young Central European republics of the 1920s, Functionalism carried a spirit of emancipation and was widely embraced in both public and private buildings.
The Veletržní palác (Trade Fair Palace) of the National Gallery Prague was one of the most prominent construction projects of the young Czechoslovak Republic and the largest building of its time. The building was completed in 1928 and designed to hold annual trade fairs, and since the 1990s it has been used as a gallery space. Given its history, the Trade Fair Palace is a perfect environment for a contemporary contextualization of modernism, its history and its emancipatory potential.
PLATO Ostrava, Czech Republic
PLATO Ostrava | © Martin Polák, PLATO
The starting location for the re:bauhaus festival was chosen partly for the very aptly named venue currently hosting Ostrava’s contemporary arts gallery PLATO – a 5,000 m² former BAUHAUS hobby market located in the centre of Ostrava. But this was not the only reason; other factors influencing the decision were growing trends in contemporary arts like ‘turning to craft’, collaboration and performativity. At PLATO, the festival explores several inspiring aspects of the origins of Bauhaus and uses them to reflect on contemporary practice in art education.
Ostrava is the largest city near the geographic meeting point of three nations – Czechia, Slovakia and Poland – and as such is an ideal site for exploring the dialogue between modernism and Central Europe, and how the different political and societal developments of the era converged on Europe. The agglomeration is similar to the Ruhr region in Germany and was known for centuries as the Upper Silesian coal area.
After the end of the Cold War, Ostrava and the surrounding coal-mining region was marked by significant structural changes. Although it is still industrially active, today it resembles a predominantly postindustrial landscape with numerous industrial monuments. There are social and cultural exchanges beginning to take place within the Ostrava-Kraków-Katowice triangle, but infrastructural linkages remain under-developed.