Open Call:
Bauhaus Lab 2023

Concrete Antarctic
24 April – 21 July, 2023

Extended application deadline:
3 February, 2023

In the summer of 1934, the London Zoo opened its new Penguin Pool. Designed by Berthold Lubetkin and the Tecton Company, and in collaboration with Ove Arup, the elegant, interlocking concrete spiral ramp on which the penguins "showcase their social talents" was met with universal acclaim.

The redesign of the London Zoo took place in the context of political, intellectual and artistic debates of the 1930s: against the backdrop of a critique of the inhumane living conditions of the majority of the world's population, its proponents argued that human-nature relations were to be reformed through scientifically based architecture and planning in the interaction of biology, technology and design. Such a modernity would not be about subjugation, but about attaining a harmonious relationship to nature. It was this milieu where Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a fervent enthusiast of “biotechnology,” met like-minded people whilst in exile.

The 2023 edition of the Bauhaus Lab takes the London Penguin Pool as the starting point for a multidisciplinary investigation of the international ecological discourses in which the project and its reception were situated. Through archival research and excursions, the eight international participants will explore the epistemologies and materialities of modernist zoo design. What are the conceptions of human-nonhuman relations structuring the display culture of the Penguin Pool? What are the notions of environment and habitat accompanying the design discourses around the London Zoo? The collective research to be conducted in the framework of the Bauhaus Lab thus critically reflects on the far-reaching constellations, conceptual instrumentalities, geographical imaginaries, design discourses, and material entanglements of this multispecies environment, while at the same time proposing alternatives of contemporary gestures of co-habitation.

About Bauhaus Lab

Bauhaus Lab is a three-month research programme for scholars and practitioners in the fields of architecture, design, and curating. Participation is free, and all participants will be provided with workspaces in the Bauhaus Building. Furthermore, participants receive a contribution toward their housing expenses, and a modest per diem. The programme includes field trips (both national and international); the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation covers travel and accommodation expenses incurred during these excursions. The process of collective research will culminate in an exhibition presented in the Bauhaus Building. Participants are expected to be present on site during the entire period of the programme, to contribute to the collective research, and to meet regularly with the programme organizers for follow-up and feedback. The programme is conducted in English.

Call for applications

The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation welcomes applications for the programme. To apply, please send a CV, a portfolio, and a letter of interest (in English) to Dr Regina Bittner, head of the programme, by 3 February, 2023: lab [at] All application documents should be merged into one single PDF file no larger than 5 MB.

Questions regarding the application and selection process, as well as the programme itself, can also be directed to this address. Up to eight participants will be selected by an international jury. Successful candidates will be notified in the first half of February.

We specifically welcome applications by candidates with profiles hitherto marginalized in Western academic and cultural institutions. The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation will endeavour to assist with visa formalities for applicants from outside the Schengen Area.