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Bauhaus Dessau Foundation to hold symposium and exhibition
Bauhausgebäude Dessau (Architect: Walter Gropius, 1925/26), 2011. © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau. Photo: Yvonne Tenschert.

DESSAU-ROßLAU.- A symposium on 9 August 2018 marks the conclusion of the Bauhaus Lab 2018. Professionals and students from the fields of architecture, design, construction, art and culture are invited to discuss architectonic themes in the context of Konrad Wachsmann’s universal connector with international guests.

Konrad Wachsmann’s universal connector is a metal connecting node utilised in the construction of prefabricated houses, devised under the shadow cast by the Second World War. It was first used in 1949, in the General Panel System designed by Wachsmann and Walter Gropius. For Wachsmann, the connector combined his interest in the rationalisation and standardisation of architecture with concepts of universal applicability. Like almost no other, Wachsmann advanced the industrialisation of architecture and the possibilities associated with it to arrive at a turning point in architecture.

Over the past three months the Bauhaus Lab 2018 has explored the universal connector’s historic relevance to modern architecture, especially in the context of the transatlantic discourses of postwar modernism. To conclude the Lab, interested students as well as architects, designers, cultural scientists and curators are invited to attend a symposium to discuss the architecture of systems, the ambivalent legacy of prefabrication and the relevance of the “turning point” in architecture with designers, historians, scientists and the participants of the Bauhaus Lab 2018.

The guests will include: Suzanne Strum (architectural historian, Barcelona), Douglas Murphy (architect and author, Glasgow), Christian Sumi (architect, Zurich) and Georg Vrachliotis (Professor of Architectural Theory, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). The programme is available here:

The symposium will be held in English. Participation is free. No registration required.

The exhibition which resulted from the research project will be officially opened at 5 p.m., after the symposium ends. Eight young designers, curators and scientists have over the past three months conducted research into Wachsmann’s universal connector as the cornerstone of an industrialised building system. In doing so, they investigated the historic context and transatlantic discourses of postwar modernism that are bundled in the metallic connector. By searching archives and traveling to Berlin, Ulm, Boston and Chicago, the participants tracked down Wachsmann’s fields of endeavour. They now present their findings in the exhibition The Art of Joining. Designing the Universal Connector in the Bauhaus Building in Dessau.

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