Current projects

BKGE | Projects | Architecture of Modern Age

Architecture of the Modern Age in Silesia during the First Decades of the Twentieth Century

The exploration of the history of the architecture in the Modern Age in Silesia is a long term Art-History project, being undertaken in co-operation with the Museum of Architecture in Breslau (Muzeum Architektury we Wrocławiu). The central focus is building construction in Breslau, as the city was one of the primary centres of innovative architecture in Germany in the first three decades of the twentieth century.

There are few other cities where the rapid changes and diverse threads of influence so characteristic of architectural history in these decades are reflected as effectively as in the designs and the buildings created in Breslau at this time. Significant architects were employed over longer periods or on specific projects in Breslau. Names such as Max Berg, Hans Poelzig, Ernst May, Erich Mendelsohn, Adolf Rading and Hans Scharoun. Their works and their cultural commitment extended a national sense of influence, and definitely made an impression on the regional architectural scene.

And yet, there has effectively been no research into this significant period of Silesian architectural work and influence in the years since 1945. Besides the `big names´, there is a considerable number of architects whose position and influence within architectural construction truly deserve to be explored.

This project involves primary research, and is systematically making use of historical blueprints and planning materials in the State Archive of the city of Breslau (now a part of the Museum of Architecture).

The aim is to develop a comprehensive presentation of building construction in Breslau in the first decades of the twentieth century. It should have a broad architectural-historical context, and include a catalogue of buildings and architectural portraits. Added to this will be an extensive exhibition that will be presendet in Poland and in Germany.

Progressive outcomes will be published regularly in the form of research papers as well as contributions to collected academic publications and magazines.

The current working priority is a comprehensive regional-historical study of the architectural history of the Modern Age. This study is particularly interested in the sense of cultural competition between the German and the Polish sections of Upper Silesia in the period between the two wars.

Research papers (each in conjunction an exhibition)

  • Jerzy Ilkosz, Beate Störtkuhl (Ed.): Multi-storeybuildings in Breslau 1919-1932. Delmenhorst 1997 (Polish edition Wrocław 1997).
  • Jerzy Ilkosz, Beate Störtkuhl (Ed.): Hans Poelzig in Breslau. Architecture and Art 1900-1916. Delmenhorst 2000 (polish edition Wrocław 2000).
  • Jerzy Ilkosz: The Centenary Hall and the Exhibition Grounds in Breslau - The Work of Max Berg. Munich 2006 (The Papers 28) (Polish edition Wrocław 2005; English edition Wrocław 2006).
  • Beate Störtkuhl: Liegnitz - The Other Modern Age. Architecture in the 1920s. Munich 2007. (The Papers 32) (Polish edition Wroclaw 2007).
  • Beate Störtkuhl: Modern Architecture in Silesia 1900 to 1939. Building Culture and Politics. Munich, 2013. (The Papers 45).
Bundesinstitut für Kultur und Geschichte des östlichen Europa
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