Retrospective – Bauhaus Kolleg III to XI

Bauhaus Kolleg V (2003/2004) – Transit Spaces
  • CIAM URBANISM 2 :   U N I V E R C I T I E S  - Bauhaus Kolleg XI (2009/2010)

In its programme for 2009/2010, the Bauhaus Kolleg focused on the urban education infrastructures of post-war modernism. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, the emergence of the modern welfare state, the rise of the consumer society and growing mobility all improved access to education. The shift in social realities after WWII also forced a revision of the role and tenor of the state’s educational institutions. In many parts of the world, the competition for participation in the cities’ resources of education and knowledge centred on universities and schools. The foundation of new university campuses at that time gave voice to the thirst for education, and the spirit of reformation. The campus was built in a rural environment outside the city limits, to allow access to knowledge and education in concentrated form in quasi-monastic solitude, undisturbed by the city’s diversions. At the same time, educational reform movements tailored to local needs originated in the cities, and these sought to redefine relations between local area, school and city.

The Bauhaus Kolleg XI came to grips with these diverse urban education and knowledge infrastructures of post-war modernism in academic and design-related work. Updating these modern approaches emerges from a revived interest in the knowledge resource of post-Fordian urban development. The integral connectedness of city and knowledge also forces a revision of urban educational institutions. Questions of equitable access to knowledge in the city, as they were raised in post-war modernity, are of renewed relevance. Based on two case studies, the Bauhaus Kolleg XI explored the genesis of the modern education infrastructure and focused on its currency for the reform of contemporary urban educational contexts.

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  • CIAM URBANISM 1:  C I T I E S   O F   T O M O R R O W - Bauhaus Kolleg X (2008/2009)

With its programme "Cities of Tomorrow" the Bauhaus Kolleg tried to reassess the international planning and urban design strategies of the 50s and 60s from a contemporary perspective. This interdisciplinary programme aimed to update the planning and design strategies of the international urban Modernism in the 50s and 60s. The focus was a period in which the utopian ideas of the "Modern movement" were internationally spread and realised.

These urban modernisations were influenced by a variety of local transformational dynamics. Multiple Modernisms are the starting point to develop a creative and differentiated updating of the "cities of tomorrow". Aren’t the core problems of international post-war II modernism such as housing shortage, the population explosion, and the increasing polarisation of social groups within today’s cities still prevailing? Can a review of the Modern heritage and the "cities of tomorrow" from yesterday provides strategic solutions for todays global problems?

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  • EU URBANISM 2: B O R D E R C I T I E S  - Bauhaus Kolleg IX (2007/2008)

The Bauhaus Kolleg IX focused on border cities in the Baltic Sea region as places where a new Europe is being formed. The Baltic Sea region is one of the "laboratories" where the negotiations for a new Europe have been at their most dynamic since the end of the Cold War. It is one of the most multifaceted and contradictory regions, characterised by inequalities, discontinuities and conflicts, but also by intensive exchange, cross-border cooperation and migration. Here, openness, isolation, dynamic growth, industrial decline, radical free trade experiments, state-directed isolationism, new wealth, new poverty, transnational identities, and a new nationalism come together.

The contradictory mechanisms of European integration are particularly evident on the northern border. As such, the border cities of the Baltic Sea region are testing grounds for the project of Europeisation. How do the incessant exchange processes and migratory movements affect the cities in question? To what extent are new models of European urban life being formed? The Kolleg will base its examination of these issues on three border cities in the Baltic Sea region, which are confronted by the actuality of borders in different ways.

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  • E U   U R B A N I S M   1 - Bauhaus Kolleg VIII (2006/2007)

The "Cultural Capital of Europe" initiative was initially motivated by the political endeavour to construct a common European identity by means of culture. The programme referred to an understanding of culture, characteristic of the European city, as the public mandate of the municipalities.

In the course of the global struggle for position among cities for investors, capital, tourists and financially strong residents, urban cultural policy is increasingly determined by economic motives. In the context of cultural capital processes, the aim is to not only to reinterpret and re-imagine the history and architecture of the respective city, and to present this effectively as a contribution to the European identity: often, this is coupled with building and art projects, which focus on the international or transnational development of the city. The character of the respective programmes decides to what extent this attention is successfully exploited for sustainable projects, for the expansion of cultural or other infrastructures and, last but not least, for the repositioning of the city in the national and international consciousness.

The Bauhaus Kolleg EU Urbanism focused, based on the example of the Cultural Capitals 2007 Sibiu/Hermannstadt and Luxembourg and the dual city Görlitz- Zgorzelec, which unsuccessfully applied for the title of "Cultural Capital" of the year 2010, on the effects the title of "Cultural Capital" has on each of the cities and their urban cultures. Which concepts and perceptions of European lifestyle and culture do such programmes convey? Do such Cultural Capital programmes follow an exemplary vision of European urban culture, or respectively, to what extent do they present a testing ground for new urban cultural policies?

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  • U N   U R B A N I S M  - Bauhaus Kolleg VII (2005/2006)

The programme "UN Urbanism" dealed with the transformation of cities in so-called crisis regions. Even after the end of the East-West conflict, disputes and the "petite guerre" still characterise world events. Today, organisations such as the UN, but also NGOs and a wide network of privately financed humanitarian aid organisations are confronted by very specific kinds of conflicts and crisis management scenarios. Particularly where cities are rebuilt, the restoration of the urban infrastructure, the creation of democratic institutions and community building go hand in hand. In this process, international aid organisations create urban structures that, while at first temporary, exercise a considerable influence over the further development of these places. The globally acting organisations thereby initiate transformations in diverse areas of the world that follow the same pattern.

Using Mostar, Bosnia- Herzegovina, and Kabul, Afghanistan, as examples, the Kolleg examined the phenomena of this process of urbanisation and devoted itself to, among others, the following questions: What role do international parties have to play in the reconstruction of "post-war cities"? What planning ideas and models and normative concepts of cities, civil society and public life do they bring with them? What kind of spatial models do these global interventions adopt, and what form do they take in their individual, local manifestations? How can urban planning with the participation of international parties help limit existing divisions and differences?

The Kolleg saw the search for design solutions within the framework of the UN Urbanisation as much a part of the solution strategy as the development of lasting urban processes after the departure of UN troops. In practice, prototypical concepts were be developed for selected sites.

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  • T R A N S N A T I O N A L   S P A C E S   - Bauhaus Kolleg VI (2004/2005)

The Bauhaus Kolleg focused on the development of transnational public spaces in urban metropolitan areas. In the age of economic globalization, multimedia communication and transnational migration cities consist of parallel worlds. It is here that different cultures and urban practices encounter each other. How are urban planning and architecture reacting as their central point of reference, that is a location with a particular identity and territoriality, is becoming increasingly vague? Call-centers, informal markets, translocal communities, new diasporas and transitory life-styles represent the transnational space of those urban hubs whose cultural, economic and social activities are no longer limited to the local.

The program investigated the spatial structures that are emerging out of the tensions and contradictions of "transnational cities" by looking at select transnational sites. The Bauhaus Kolleg aimed at creating strategies to deal with the problems facing urban development and seeks to contribute to the international urbanistic discourse.

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  • T R A N S I T   S P A C E S  - Bauhaus Kolleg V (2003/2004)

Transit spaces are places situated along the metropolitan corridor between Berlin, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Bratislava. The corridor not only ensures exchange between east-west markets, with the caravans of long-haul trucks rolling along its routes; but it also boasts train connections, functioning mobile phone systems, and Internet access. It is a chain of privileged places that are superimposed over the industrial space characterised by socialist modernisation, a space that is increasingly disintegrating in the course of transformation and global restructuring. Transit spaces are interfaces where provincial communities meet the world of Nike, Nokia and CNN. They are explosive urban places where the new inequalities and non-simultaneities in Eastern Europe become apparent.

The program was devoted to the particular dynamisms of urban transition in Eastern Europe. Selected places along this corridor were used as examples to demonstrate which contours and cracks these radically changing urban fabrics in Eastern Europe will incur. Bauhaus Kolleg included ethnographic studies, providing insights into the practices of urban space creation, artistic concepts, developing transitory models of post-socialist public, and urban design strategies, designing scenarios of transformation routes for eastern European urban spaces. By bridging the gap between ethnography, the arts, and urban design, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation intended to make a contribution to the international urbanist discourse by not conceiving urban spaces as containers to be shaped from outside, but awarding the cities an active role in the double sided transformation they are experiencing. This Kolleg gained insights into the restructuring of eastern European cities in the "global space of flows".

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D O T . C I T Y   - Bauhaus Kolleg IV (2002/2003)

In the Kolleg year 2002/2003 attention was focused on mobile communication media, the internet (ICT – Information and Communication Technology) and their interfaces in an urban context. Since the beginning of the 1990s these communication technologies and methods have experienced tremendous dynamic growth. Their increasing worldwide proliferation and interconnection has far-reaching consequences for almost all areas of life, but especially for the economy and urbanity.

Whereas implications for an economy, which is becoming increasingly globalised, have long been studied and discussed, similar undertakings regarding the consequences for urban space are still in their infancy. In the past few years the discourse was above all dominated by ideals and fears. On the one hand mobile communication and the internet were seen as paving the way for the reactivation of lost urban values, and also for developing totally new forms of urban living. On the other hand they were defined as instruments, which result in the final downfall of urban life. The spatial changes are particularly evident at the interfaces, which represent a way of selectively affecting urban space.

In this respect the aim was on the one hand to analyse the changed character of places and events at interfaces in an urban context, and on the other hand to treat them as a new, hyper-complex creative task. How can architects, artists and scientists react adequately to this process of change in their occupational fields and how can they make this a basis for their planning, design and research work?

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S E R V E   C I T Y  - Bauhaus Kolleg III (2001/2002)

The transformation of urban working and living patterns and circumstances effected by the global proliferation of services and telecommunication was the main theme for the Bauhaus Kolleg III. The increasing merging of services and telecommunication accelerates the space of flows between trade, commerce, information, social bonds, and cultural traditions. New media and economic activity increasingly blur the borders between the workplace, dwelling, and leisure time-space. As private and public space become conflated or merged, what spatial and architectural forms are suitable for the emerging heterogeneous modes of living and working? How might such forms transform the shape of the city and experience of urban living?