The Hannes Meyer Seminars at the Bauhaus Dessau (1980–1986) as a Contact Zone for Finnish and East German Architects

  • Torsten Lange ETH Zurich

Abstract

This article charts transnational exchanges between East German and Finnish architects in the development of adaptive housing solutions for urban sites. It focuses on the Hannes Meyer Seminars – a series of annual international design workshops held at the Bauhaus Dessau from 1980 to 1986 – as a contact zone. The seminars challenged dominant forms of mass housing, and put forth alternative models to suit historic contexts. These exchanges went beyond previous (one-directional) material and technical exports that stretched back as far as the mid-1950s. As a result of the policy of détente in the early 1970s, relations between Finland and the GDR began to form an ever more complex and entangled network, with greater emphasis on knowledge transfer and collaboration. Formal agreements on ‘scientific and technical cooperation’ thus provided the framework for the intensification of contacts between design schools such as the College for Architecture and Civil Engineering (HAB, Hochschule für Architektur und Bauwesen) in Weimar and the Technical University Tampere. This opened a dialogue about contextual design (the adaptation of industrialised housing to the different needs and lifestyles of individual users), as well as historic settings, new tools such as CAD/CAM, sociological and historical research, and the discourse of postmodernism.

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Author Biography

Torsten Lange, ETH Zurich

Torsten Lange is lecturer at the Institute gta, ETH Zurich and August-Wilhelm-Scheer Visiting Professor at TU Munich. He studied at the Bauhaus University Weimar, and the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. His dissertation focused on the theoretical underpinnings of late-socialist urbanism and the production of mass housing in the GDR. His publications include articles and chapters in edited volumes such as Industries of Architecture (Routledge, 2016) and Produktionsbedingungen der Architektur (Thelem, 2018). He was one of the coordinators of the research and publication project East West Central: Re-Building Europe, 1950–1990 (Birkhäuser, 2017).

How to Cite
LANGE, Torsten. The Hannes Meyer Seminars at the Bauhaus Dessau (1980–1986) as a Contact Zone for Finnish and East German Architects. FOOTPRINT, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 1, p. 99-110, july 2020. ISSN 1875-1490. Available at: <https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/footprint/article/view/4435>. Date accessed: 13 aug. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.7480/footprint.14.1.4435.
Published
2020-07-16