The end of the First World War, which we are remembering in 2018, was for numerous countries in Eastern Europe linked to the transition into independence. The associated sense of new beginnings was also reflected in architecture. Brno, in Moravia, is one of many cities and towns in Central and Eastern Europe which are particularly striking for the numerous examples of architecture of the modern period and buildings in the functionalist style. With the founding of the Masaryk University shortly after the proclamation of the State of Czechoslovakia, this meant that Brno, the second largest city in the country, now had two schools of architecture. New construction methods allowed them to distance themselves from centuries of foreign domination and to create an alternative to the baroque heritage of the Habsburg monarchy, whilst the salon culture of the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie suffered a rejection in the face of these plain and functional buildings. There was an increased concentration on individual and national identity, with changes in the city’s governing council. In contrast to the capital Prague, where the traditionalism of German-Czech co-existence at first seemed set to continue, Brno became distinctively Czech after the declaration of independence and seemed to want to break away from the past. President Tomás Garrigue Masaryk declared a simple, utilitarian and healthy lifestyle to be the fundamental duty of the day and thus reinforced at the highest level the role of functionalism as the dominant feature of a national Czechoslovak architecture.
The wealth of functionalistic architecture in this “white city” and the attitude that accompanied it – the political and social will for redesign in the 1920s – will be conveyed to students of the Bauhaus University in Weimar during a fact-finding exploration over several days. The programme includes sightseeing tours, lectures, discussions with experts and making their own drawings of well-documented architectural monuments. An exhibition of the work done will take place in the foyer of the Bauhaus University in Weimar to mark the beginning of the Bauhaus centenary in 2019.
Format: Field trip including making drawings
Project Leader: German Culture Forum for Eastern Europe (Potsdam) in cooperation with the Bauhaus University, Weimar
Contact person: Ariane Afsari (German Culture Forum for Eastern Europe)