Review: Households in the Masters' Houses:
How will we live a healthy and efficient lifestyle in the future?

  • May 4th 2015 - August 9th 2015 

To coincide with the inauguration of the completed complex of Masters' Houses in 2014, a trade fair on households in the 21st century is in the works. Included along with the Bauhaus building on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1996, the buildings are among the icons of classical modernism. The Masters' Houses are landmarks of cultural modernism, but not only as architectural artefacts; as early as the 1920s, they were already being perceived as showcases of the modern way of living and the modern household. As such, the buildings found their way into the narratives of classical modernism.
What was ignored in the process, and which distinguishes the history of architecture as the story of material culture to this day, is the everyday reality of these houses as households. With a focus on the household as a complex combination of production and reproduction, care and maintenance, budgeting and sharing, the aim is to take a look at the hitherto neglected substrata of modern architecture.

This conceptual shift in perspective is closely connected to a change of direction in design: moving away from the design of singular objects so typical of modernism towards a design based on processes and activities. The focus on the household as a modus operandi can promote a change of perspective in theory and design, which becomes all the more necessary when, with dwindling resources, the prototype of a modern type of household, as seen in the Master’s Houses, can no longer be maintained. For this very reason, the Master's Houses offer a strategic point of departure for a re-think of household design.
The earth itself is both house and household. A new household culture must – instead of the antiquated conflict between house and world, man and nature – take a closer look at the mutual interconnections and interdependencies of the different household spheres.

In 2014, the education formats IKEA – Bauhaus summer 2014 “YOURS-MINE-OURS – The new desire to share” and Bauhaus Lab II “On reserve. Concerning the architecture of the reservoir” already dealt with some aspects of the household. Furthermore, this year three workshops in cooperation with three universities will take place, which will provide an introduction to the subject matter. The large “Household Trade Fair” is then scheduled for 2015:

H O U S E H O L D  T R A D E  F A I R  2015

At the Household Trade Fair 2015, international positions in art and design pertaining to the household in the 21st century will be presented to the public on the grounds of the Masters' Houses. The complex of Masters' Houses, with the Masters' Houses, the garage and the kiosk, establishes a trade fair site on which the historic buildings become the starting point for a curatorial, artistic and design-based analysis of current issues relating to the household.

The trade fair showcases models of household activities: moving in, equipping, producing, sharing, storing, maintaining and budgeting. The contributions assembled at the trade fair arise from a multi-level work process, which consists of different formats: In addition to an international competition on “The Household”, there are plans for residencies and cooperative projects with international universities and art academies. The studios of the Master’s Houses serve here as production sites, while the remaining rooms act as individual trade fair stands.

The trade fair will begin with the congress “Household Cultures”; it will close with the international summit meeting “The Earth – How Can 9 Billion People Run ONE Household?” with international experts with backgrounds in art, science and practice. To accompany the trade fair, once a week in the evening, an open public meeting will be held. Here, international experts in cooperation with local contributors will host an evening on the subject of the household and, in the course of this, demonstrate and debate household practices.

Based on the example of the UNESCO World Heritage complex of Masters' Houses, the objective of the project is to revise the general public’s image of modernism at the Bauhaus, which is dominated by the architecture, and to shed light on the largely ignored substrata of infrastructures and materialities and the practices of maintaining and preserving the buildings. With the focus on the household, however, it is not only proposed that classical modernism be viewed in a different light, but also that the historic buildings should become the starting point for the contemporary design issues of the new relationship between man and nature, earth and house.
In the scope of the project, the aim is to generate artistic and design-based input on the household in the 21st century. In cooperation with international universities, students will engage with the topic. With public meetings, media partnerships, symposiums and conferences, the trade fair will address a range of public spheres.

Trade fair directors: Dr. Regina Bittner and Elke Krasny

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