May 15, 2015 - Berlinische Galerie - Radically Modern. Urban Planning and Architecture in 1960s Berlin
May 15, 2015

Radically Modern. Urban Planning and Architecture in 1960s Berlin

Josef Kaiser, Großhügelhaus. Montage: Dieter Urbach, 1971.

Radically Modern.
Urban Planning and Architecture in 1960s Berlin

29 May–26 October 2015

Press conference: 27 May, 11am
Opening: 28 May, 7pm

Berlinische Galerie – Museum of Modern Art, Photography and Architecture
Alte Jakobstraße 124-128
10969 Berlin
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm

Architecture and urban design from the sixties shape Berlin’s cityscape to this day. Significant urban planning decisions were taken in that decade and there arose numerous, striking architectural works, which are now at risk. This exhibition is the first detailed overview of the plans and buildings developed in East and West Berlin, stimulating a re-evaluation of this contentious period of construction. 

Due to low public opinion, both in and beyond Berlin, the architecture and highly developed transport infrastructure of the 1960s are a neglected and therefore vulnerable legacy. In contrast to iconic individual pieces of architecture, such as the Nationalgalerie by Mies van der Rohe or the Haus des Lehrers (House of Teachers) by Hermann Henselmann, many buildings are characterized as “monotone,” “cheap” and “obsolete,” and are seldom well-maintained. As a result, they currently face the threat of considerable pressure to change or even demolition.

The plans and buildings from this period are evidence of historical ideas that, in a clear departure from the architectural language of the Nazi dictatorship, aligned themselves with the concept of “International Modernity” and the ideal of a city adapted to the automobile.

Belief in progress, an economic boom and the display of power by two opposing systems during the Cold War manifest themselves in the architecture: innovative shopping centres, dense high-rise settlements and a road networks built for the future.

Both well-known and recently discovered original material—including models, films, photographs, plans, collages and manuscripts—illustrate political, social and structural visions for the rebuilding of the ruined metropolis divided by the construction of the Wall. Using selected plans—such as the developments along the former Stalinallee, at Alexanderplatz, at Breitscheidplatz or in the Märkisches Viertel—as case studies, the objectives, similarities and differences between the construction projects completed by the two different political systems will be examined. Roughly 300 works by more than 30 architects, planning offices, photographers, artists and filmmakers will be presented. Amongst the architects are Werner Düttmann, Fehling + Gogel, Walter Gropius, Georg Heinrichs, Josef Kaiser, Roland Korn, Ludwig Leo, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Klaus Müller-Rehm, Ulrich Müther, Hans Scharoun, Manfred Zumpe, Ralf Schüler and Ursulina Schüler-Witte. 

The fully-illustrated exhibition catalogue published by Wasmuth Verlag in German and English editions includes texts by Bruno Flierl, Hartmut Frank, Anna Heckmann, Irma Leinauer, Ursula Müller, Frank Seehausen, Dirk Weilemann, Adrian von Buttlar and Stanislaus von Moos. The exhibition and catalogue are made possible by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. The catalogue is additionally funded by the Wüstenrot Foundation. German issue: ISBN: 978-3-8030-0792-6, English issue: ISBN: 978-3-8030-0793-3

In addition to the website of the Berlinische Galerie, an exhibition blog was launched featuring interviews, features, statements, events & dates for the exhibition. The blog is a comprehensive information source and supplement to the project Radically Modern. 

“Verflechtungen” an academic conference on Friday, 26 June, 10am–5pm, held by the Technische Universität Berlin (Department of Art History) and the Leibniz Institute for regional development and structural planning (IRS), Erkner, will enhance and complement the content of the exhibition. The conference is also funded by the Wüstenrot Foundation. 

The app of the exhibition will show the architecture and places in the real urban spaces, making them multidimensional experiences. The app includes a city map and there are selected works of the exhibition marked, completed with material about the buildings, which invites the user on an architecture walk in Berlin. The app will be available for free download at the iPhone and Android App Stores.

For further information and press enquiries:

Berlinische Galerie / Head of marketing and communication
Ulrike Andres: T +49 30 78902 829 / andres [​at​]

BUREAU N cultural communications
Gudrun Landl: T +49 30 62736102 / gudrun.landl [​at​]

Berlinische Galerie presents Radically Modern. Urban Planning and Architecture in 1960s Berlin
Berlinische Galerie
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