Wilhelm Lotz’s “Weißenhof Exhibition” (1927)

The main part of the exhibition is formed by the Weißenhof residential site. It sticks out strangely amid the traditional architecture of the suburban approach from Stuttgart. But when seen by itself it spreads across the slope with surprising naturalness. Such a natural grouping and layout is otherwise only to be found in medieval town quarters and tropical villages. There are no fancy arrangements. The landscape, variations of terrain, sun, light, and air, form an ensemble of living forces into which Mies van der Rohe’s overall plan and the individual houses are sympathetically inserted. Thus the development seems almost like a living organism; everything is naturally interrelated. Indeed, this seems to us the most important and beneficial aspect of the Stuttgart site: that the exponents of the current architectural revolution are not attached to dogmatic principles, they do not stick mindlessly to slogans, but modestly subordinate their ideas to the demands of human life and needs. Yet they also go further than this, not in formal terms, but in the desire to point [156] the way to a new form of living, which will come to terms with the contemporary forces so often regarded even now as the enemies of all human culture: technology, industry, and rationalization.

No doubt much of what is shown can and will be criticized. Errors of detail will appear, but this is why the development was built. It is an experiment and without experiments here are no results, and no progress. In many of the speeches which were made, there were constant and anxious reassurances that this was not an end but a beginning. If these assurances were intended to forestall criticism they seem misguided. The development is bound to become a whetstone for critical opinion. But we should wholeheartedly support the attitudes which have led to the creation of these buildings, for surely no forward-looking human being can doubt that the experiment will bring results of great importance, or that it is an event of great cultural significance.

The exhibition of plans and models should complement the development itself and draw attention to the generation of architects who in every country are standing up openly and sincerely in support of the new architecture. Here one has an overwhelming impression that these developments are not the expression of a style in the old-fashioned sense, based on and embodying a specific formal language, but that they are grounded in the structure of our times, answering to the specific demands of the task in question. And as Mies van der Rohe emphasized in his opening speech, this part of the exhibition shows that the Weißenhof site is not just an example of contemporary fashion in this country but part of a movement which is spreading throughout the world. And we may count ourselves lucky that we are able to examine the designs and plans of this group from all over the world, gathered together here in one place.

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~ by Ross Wolfe on September 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “Wilhelm Lotz’s “Weißenhof Exhibition” (1927)”

  1. [...] Lotz, Wilhelm.  “The Weißenhof Exhibition.”  Translated by Tim Benton.  Architecture and Design, 1890-1939: An International Anthology of [...]

  2. [...] Lotz, Wilhelm.  “The Weißenhof Exhibition.”  Translated by Tim Benton.  Architecture and Design, 1890-1939: An International Anthology of [...]

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