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Big Beautiful Buildings

Europe: Remembrance and New Starts StadtBauKultur NRW und Technische Universität Dortmund

When We Built the Future

Leave the past behind and create a better future — that was the defining post-war spirit. The economy was flourishing, but it was also an exceptionally innovative time for culture, technology, and society.
That era is now past, but its architecture has remained throughout Europe: new schools, universities, town halls, churches, department stores, and housing estates. These structures were built visions of a modern and democratic society, many of which meanwhile are forgotten or have disappeared.

The buildings of post-war modernism bear witness to a significant era and still set standards for innovative and socially responsible architecture. Big Beautiful Buildings (BBB) wants to spread this message to the public as well as to professionals, politicians, and administrators. BBB also wants to promote the need for the good care and management of this valuable heritage. The project is a collaboration between the StadtBauKultur NRW state initiative and the TU Dortmund, with many other partners.

BBB initially focuses on the Ruhr area. The Ruhr area is characterized more than many others by buildings and housing estate structures from the post-war period. In the summer of 2018, selected buildings will be placed in the limelight of the present. Large and small, familiar or unknown, eye-catching or inconspicuous structures can be rediscovered, accompanied by a program of art, culture, and entertainment. There will also be print publications and a website that provide information about the project as well as many interesting facts about the buildings and their time of origin.

In other European countries as well, the 1950s to the 1970s were a time of change, which can be seen in its ambitious architecture and housing estate projects. In order to discover this common European cultural heritage, BBB invites partners from all over Europe to network and organize their own projects.

The project will be funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.