Triennale der Moderne – Interim 2020:
Live stream for UNESCO World Heritage Day on June 7.
Starting at 11 a.m., the Triennale der Moderne invites visitors to experience Berlin’s architectural heritage of the 20th century online under the motto “Diversity Modernity | Modern Diversity
Berlin is using the UNESCO World Heritage Day 2020, which is always held on the first Sunday in June, as an opportunity to focus more strongly on modernism, which is present in the cityscape in many places and in a wide variety of ways – a core concern of the Triennale der Moderne, a format founded in 2013 together with Dessau and Weimar, which will also be visible outside the three-year period for the first time with the Berlin online event.
In view of the special situation in times of Corona, the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin and the Berlin network of the Triennale der Moderne will therefore present a special, because completely digital, World Heritage Day on June 7, 2020. The online event with a program streamed live via Youtube is themed “Vielfalt Moderne | Moderne Vielfalt”. It outlines an era in which radical change took place in art, architecture and society. The six “Berlin Modernist Housing Estates”, which were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008, bear witness to this. They were built against a backdrop of rampant housing shortages and set a new course in urban planning in the 1920s, which was then taken up again after the Second World War.
The Triennial of Modernism has set itself the goal of recounting this arc, which was only interrupted by the National Socialist era. In Berlin, voluntary initiatives and professional actors come together under its umbrella, from whose environment twelve projects will be shown in the form of digital presentations and broadcast as a live stream starting at 11 am.
Greetings by Senator Klaus Lederer and Christine Edmaier, President of the Berlin Chamber of Architects, will be followed by an introduction to the topic by Berlin State Conservator Dr. Christoph Rauhut. Afterwards, the two Berlin curators, Robert K. Huber and Ben Buschfeld, will lead through the varied program with contributions on more and less well-known objects of architectural modernism.
This will be followed by two film premieres, each of which will provide insights into the six Berlin World Heritage housing estates built between 1913 and 1934. The documentary “Siedlungen der Berliner Moderne. UNESCO World Heritage with New Radiance” shows how the valuable building fabric is treated in terms of monument preservation, and interviews building, garden and monument experts as well as residents interested in monuments. The film produced by Marian Engel and Thomas M. Krüger on behalf of Deutsche Wohnen SE, “A Built Promise. Sozialer Wohnungsbau der Berliner Moderne,” on the other hand, focuses more on residents and sheds light on current trends in Berlin’s housing market and existing local offerings.
Starting with the six Berlin World Heritage Modernist housing estates presented in great detail in a newly developed website, there are a multitude of other Modernism pearls to discover. Two articles are dedicated to these hidden treasures, which are mostly lesser-known residential complexes, villas and commercial buildings, photographed by Anja Steilmann and Carsten Krohn. Most of the buildings portrayed belong to the New Building style. Quite a few of the somewhat lesser-known modernist buildings are based on designs by Jewish architects, some of whose work has been insufficiently researched to date. A lecture by Dr. Günter Schlusche is dedicated to them, who will follow the traces of German-speaking architects of Jewish origin.
Many other treasures of Berlin’s building culture were not created until well after the caesura of the Second World War. The contrast between the loosely built West Berlin Hansa Quarter and the Stalin-era Karl-Marx-Allee Magistrale should be mentioned here – two large-scale projects that were created almost simultaneously and in which both political systems entered into direct urban planning competition in 1957. A dualism that is unique in the world and is traded under the keyword “The Double Berlin” as a potential next Berlin World Heritage Site.
In this field of tension of urban development in East and West, the works of the architects Richard Paulick and Otto Bartning are exemplarily in focus. The contribution on the life and work of Richard Paulick will be given by the architectural historian and former Berlin Senator for Culture Dr. Thomas Flierl. In his lecture, he will show how Paulick moved from the Bauhaus in Dessau via Shanghai to the neo-classicism of the former Stalinallee and the functional GDR large-scale building projects in Halle-Neustadt. Otto Bartning, on the other hand, is best known as an architect of Modernist-style churches in southern and western Germany. A working group named after Bartning is dedicated to the special topic of modernist sacred buildings and demonstrates how some of his Berlin churches can be experienced virtually.
The BHROX bauhaus reuse, the glass pavilion on the central island of Ernst-Reuter Platz, serves as the digital broadcasting center during the streaming event and has quickly established itself as a new Berlin cultural and event venue. The all-around transparent building has – as the name suggests – an exciting history of use itself, since it is constructed from window elements of the famous Dessau Bauhaus school building designed by Walter Gropius, which originated from its major renovation for the 50th anniversary in 1976.
Robert K. Huber, one of the curators of the event and with zukunftsgeraeusche the operator of the pavilion, talks about the examination of functionalism in Central Europe in the context of conferences and discussions and also describes how with the renovation of the square furniture of the Ernst- Reuter-Platz a technical-practical educational project, in the form of a digital permanent exhibition and on the basis of seminars with the TU Berlin and UdK Berlin takes place.
The transnational perspective of the Triennale is also strengthened by a contribution from Helena Doudová, curator of the architecture collection of the National Gallery in Prague, who takes an international look at Berlin and Brutalism as a component of post-war modernism. Its buildings are often not listed as historic monuments and in many places are threatened by alterations, conversions and demolition. A significant Berlin example is the Czech Embassy. It was designed by the Czech architect couple Věra and Vladimír Machonin. The original plans of the building are part of the collection of the National Gallery in Prague, which is currently showing an exhibition on Prague buildings of Brutalism.
Unusual insights are also provided by a contribution from the Netherlands, in which Nadia Abdelkaui, curator of the museum “Het Schip” in Amsterdam, offers a virtual tour of the special exhibition that opened at the beginning of March, shortly before the Corona shutdown. It is dedicated to Bruno Taut’s early expressionist and utopian work, less known here in Berlin, and takes a look at the cross-references of his work to the social housing of the 1910s and 20s in the Netherlands.
Bruno Taut, architect of no less than four of Berlin’s six World Heritage Sites, is also the focus of an image-rich contribution by the second curator of the streaming event about the restoration of a house in the Hufeisensiedlung, which is particularly worthy of preservation: the house, christened “Tautes Heim” by Ben Buschfeld and his wife Katrin Lesser, is a tribute to Bruno Taut. It is completely furnished in the style of the 1920s, has the character of a journey through time and has been serving architecture fans from all over the world as an overnight accommodation since 2012. With this offer, the project, which has won several monument awards, enriches Berlin’s museum landscape and conveys the idea of Berlin’s world heritage in a special way.
Another project for which Buschfeld is responsible on behalf of the “Berlin Forum for History and the Present” is aimed specifically at students and inquisitive minds. It is a website that can be easily used on smartphones, which was created as part of the Sharing Heritage project of the European Heritage Year 2018 and was funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Featuring six tours, a wealth of information plus an extensive glossary, biography and history sections, the website invites younger target groups to actively explore the architecture and history of the World Heritage Sites.
A project by the Grips Theater, which specializes in offerings for children and young people, had even younger target groups in mind. The team of the theater, which is located directly at Hansaplatz, developed an audio walk for school groups that was enriched with performance elements and led through the Hansa Quarter. An offer that deals with the history of the quarter and is presented by Hannah Ehlers.
In addition to Bruno Taut and Richard Paulick, two other big names of international architectural modernism should not be missed, namely Le Corbusier and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Walter Gropius yourself using digital maps, you should install the smartphone app “Gropius to go” produced by the Berlin State Monuments Office in 2016. With it, parts of the Landesdenkmalamt’s database were made available for mobile use on site for the first time. Berlin’s new World Heritage Officer Sabine Ambrosius will present how the app can be used to explore Gropius’s work, which includes numerous buildings in Berlin, on walking tours. Gropius occupies a special position within modernism, as he is the modernist architect whose work is most frequently represented on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Like Gropius, Le Corbusier is also particularly representative of the transnational character of Modernism, which was fed by many national avant-garde movements, which from 1932 onwards were successful worldwide and summarized under the term “International Style”. This diversity is deliberately thematized in the context of the Triennale der Moderne and thus also opens up cross-references to many potential partner countries. Le Corbusier’s work also bears witness to this: away from the International Building Exhibition of 1957, which was otherwise concentrated in the Hansa Quarter, another imposing building block was created not far from the Olympic Stadium – the “Unité d’habitation”. The apartment block refers to a sister building of the same name in Marseille, thus referencing the architect’s work, which is mainly located in France and Switzerland and is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What is remarkable about the program curated by Huber and Buschfeld in close cooperation with the Berlin State Office for the Preservation of Monuments is not only the range of Berlin buildings, facilities, formats, and themes presented, but also the diversity of actors, often from civil society, who develop, present, and advance their own projects with great passion. This commitment of the Berlin network ensures a lively program, but – similar to the Open Monument Day – requires professional coordination when it comes to making an impact as an overall event. Here, the live stream has the character of a pilot project and provides insight into the multifaceted heritage of a very formative and characteristic era for Berlin. A heritage that also needs to be discovered in Corona times and further developed with innovative formats – such as this digital World Heritage Day.
Live stream 7.6. from 11h: www.youtube.com/watch?v=6L5fgyyVTv4
Further information: www.triennale-der-moderne.de
Planned program on June 7, 2020
Start of the live stream: 11am
Start of the film streams: afterwards 13.00 h / 14:30 h
Greetings and introduction
– 11.00 a.m.: Dr. Klaus Lederer, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Culture and Europe – 11.06 a.m.: Christine Edmaier, President of the Berlin Chamber of Architects
– 11.10 a.m.: Dr. Christoph Rauhut, State Conservator and Director of the Berlin State Monuments Office
Presentations and chronological order *
– 11.20 a.m.: Ben Buschfeld (BFFG e.V.): New website on the “Berlin Modernist Housing Estates
– 11.44 a.m.: Hanna Düspohl (treppe b, Galerie im Corbusierhaus): The l ́Unité d ́Habitation in Berlin (…)
– 11.56 a.m.: Sabine Ambrosius (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin): Smartphone app “Gropius to go”.
– 12.08 p.m.: Thomas M. Krüger (TICKET B): Hidden gems of modernism – buildings of the 1920s
– 12.20 p.m.: Dr. Günter Schlusche: The contribution of Jewish architects (…) to the establishment of modernism
– 12.32 p.m.: Helena Doudová (National Gallery Prague): The Czech Embassy in the style of Brutalism
– 12.44 p.m.: Dr. Thomas Flierl (Hermann Henselmann Foundation): Life of the architect Richard Paulick
– 12.56 p.m.: Immo Wittig (OBAK e.V.): Virtual church-space exploration of works by Otto Bartning
– 1.08 p.m.: Robert K. Huber: The BHROX bauhaus reuse on Ernst-Reuter Platz and projects on site – 1.20 p.m.: Ben Buschfeld: Research and restoration of the rentable museum “Tautes Heim
– 13.32 h: Nadia Abdelkaui (Het Schip Museum, Amsterdam): Rungang to “Bruno Taut – Beyond Fantasy” – 13.44 h: Klaus Lingenauber (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin): Preliminary remarks to the following film
– 13.50 h: Closing words of the presentation part
* Note: This is a live event. Individual times may therefore vary.
The event will be moderated by the Berlin curatorial team, consisting of
– Robert K. Huber (zukunftsgeraeusche GbR + BHROX bauhaus reuse) and
– Ben Buschfeld (buschfeld.com + Tautes Heim + Berliner Forum für Geschichte und Gegenwart e.V.)
– 13.00: Berlin Modernist Housing Estates. UNESCO World Heritage with New Radiance
This film, commissioned by the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin (Berlin State Office for the Preservation of Monuments), documents the preservation of historic buildings and interviews representatives of the residents as well as experts from the fields of historic preservation and the history of buildings and gardens.
– 13:45: A Built Promise. Social Housing of Berlin Modernism
The film, produced by Marian Engel and Thomas Krüger on behalf of Deutsche Wohnen SE, explains the urban planning and social concepts as well as architectural features of the six housing estates and presents the perspective of various residents.
Further information can be found at
Further offers for UNESCO World Heritage Day 2020
In addition to Berlin, other of the 46 German World Heritage sites have digital offerings available. Corresponding links can be found at www.unesco-welterbetag.de