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Berlin Settlements from the 1920s at The Bauhaus Archive
Weiße Stadt, Blick über die Siedlung, um 1930.

BERLIN, GERMANY.- The Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design presents the special exhibition Berlin Settlements from the 1920s - UNESCO World Heritage Nomination, on view 25 July - 8 Oct. 2007. Berlin possesses an unusually rich architectural heritage in the form of residential developments dating from the period of the Weimar Republic. These settlements are not only exemplary works of modern architecture, but also bear witness to the progressive social movements of the 1920s. Six of these settlements have been nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Gartenstadt Falkenberg, Siedlung Schillerpark, Hufeisensiedlung Britz, Wohnstadt Carl Legien, Siemensstadt and Weisse Stadt. The architects were some of the leading protagonists of the International Style: Otto Bartning, Fred Forbat, Walter Gropius, Hugo Häring, Paul Rudolf Henning, Otto Rudolf Salvisberg, Hans Scharoun, Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner or Ludwig Lesser and Lebrecht Migge as landscape architects.

During the Weimar Republic, a comprehensive residential building programme was launched in conjunction with new rental tax laws. Unique in all of Europe, it stemmed from the pledge in the country's democratic constitution that every German had a basic right to 'a humane dwelling place'. Across the entire country, residential settlements with a variety of layouts were constructed—preferably on inexpensive land around the periphery of cities, but with access to public transportation. These projects were planned and built by non-profit corporations or co-operatives receiving public funds.

The success of these urban planning programmes was marked by architectural diversity, harmonious colour schemes, new aesthetic forms, the interspersement of low-rise row houses with multi-storey apartment complexes, expansive green areas and maximum sunlight. Since the 1970s, prominent examples of reformist residential architecture in Berlin have been the object of exemplary preservation efforts. With Germany's submission in 2006 of six Berlin settlements for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the city has moved one step closer to establishing a permanent place in the cultural history of humanity for its unique architectural legacy.

The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the Berlin Monument Authority and is supported by the Senate Urban Development Administration, the German Foundation for Historic Preservation, and the GEHAG Gruppe. It stands under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission e.V..

The exhibition is accompanied by a documentary publication in German and English: Housing Estates in the Berlin Modern Style. Nomination for the UNESCO World Heritage List, publ. Landesdenkmalamt Berlin for the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung Berlin, 272 pages, c 200 b/w and colour illustrations, € 29.80.
Also: Housing Estates in the Berlin Modern Style, ed. Jörg Haspel and Annemarie Jaeggi, c 96 pages with approx. 40 mostly coloured illustrations, c € 7.

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