After secondary school, he studied at the Baugewerkschule. In the following years, Taut worked in the offices of various architects in Hamburg and Wiesbaden. From to , Taut worked in Stuttgart for Theodor Fischer and studied urban planning. He received his first commission through Fischer in , which involved the renovation of the village church in Unterriexingen.
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Culture Trip explores the innovative architecture of Bruno Taut and his impact on the Germany of today. A vision of societal perfection, the expression became synonymous with notions of simplicity, harmony and a search to improve the lives of ordinary citizens. Yet during the 16th century — plagued with chaos, war and socio-political turmoil — the concept was largely considered an unattainable ideal.
The condition of Germany in the early 20th century was no different. The catastrophe of the Great War between the years of — had brought unprecedented suffering and destruction to the populations of Europe and, particularly within artist circles, a sense of disillusionment in an age of heavy industrialization and social strife. As a consequence, many urged the need to re-evaluate social order, with artists at the forefront of such calls for change, generating new modes of expression through art and architecture.
Under these conditions, the Modernist movement began to take shape and Europe became a breeding ground for new ideas. Looking to England , much of his utopian idealism came from his interest in the Garden City movement led by Sir Ebenezer Howard. The urban planning concept sought to find a balance between urban and rural landscapes and Taut was very attracted by the possibility of creating such communities.
He eagerly researched ideas of peaceful coexistence and self-sufficiency and fostered a desire to shape green societies that integrated economically sustainable city systems with the abundance of the countryside. After completing his studies at the Baugewerkschule and working under numerous architects, Taut began to independently develop structures that were not only architecturally innovative but also in line with these utopian theories.
Akin to his contemporaries, Taut experimented with new technologies and materials such as glass and steel. The glass dome, in the shape of a prism, represented a complex geometric structure that was not only aesthetically astonishing, but also functional.
The vision was of a perfectly structured universe with buildings reaching higher and higher into the illuminated sky. Here, Taut had created ever-expanding cities that defied traditional architectural constraints. The designs represented a kind of peaceful anarchy and although merely an idealised vision of future societies, exemplified the common contemporary desire to break free from the restrictions imposed by society.
Naturally, such visions were not grounded in reality and in time, Taut turned his attention to the housing crisis on his own doorstep. After completing basic housing projects in Magdeburg, he turned to Berlin. At the time, the capital was the largest metropolis in the world after New York and London and with the industrial revolution, the population had risen to 4.
This rapid growth resulted in a bleak quality of life and by way of response, Taut called for the government to support new housing projects aiming to provide improved and affordable accommodation for people with low-incomes. An outstanding example of German town planning in the s, its international architectural importance was honoured with UNESCO World Heritage status in , as well as being listed as a garden monument in For Taut, it was crucial that the terraced houses achieved a practical aim as well as originating in the theories of the Garden City movement.
He was adamant that in this urban estate of carefully intertwined open spaces and new developments, each household could also have a garden. This commitment to a utopian ideal reached still deeper however and the final 25 housing units not only symmetrically join in a perfect arrangement, but they also surround a glacial pond dating back to the Ice Age.
Finally, here was an estate that achieved a certain rural and urban equilibrium. He saw colour as an inexpensive way to inject vibrancy and excitement into otherwise grey and poor neighbourhoods. In the Hufeisensiedlung, this can be seen in the front doors that boast vivid colour combinations. Built in , it is set alongside the Grunewald forest and is a tremendous triumph of colour and light. Far from the usual monotonous, purpose-built social housing, the sprawling buildings vary in terms of shape and their mix of pastel and primary colours.
The settlement is far from garish, the green and blue hues seamlessly integrating with winding pathways, flowerbeds and blossoming trees. It cannot be denied that for Taut, colour was a simple and natural way to elevate the social mood. By injecting a theoretical utopian vision into his urban planning techniques, Taut paved the way to comfortable social living for all. He achieved a higher level of expression through his innovative use of color and for lovers of iconic architecture, his work continues to be revolutionary in both principle and execution.
Bruno Taut : alpine architecture : a utopia
The First World War had a strong effect on Bruno Taut and his later architecture because he became in a pacifist. The ideas that he had created in the Crystal Pavilion of would be framed in a deeper context and they became in the starting point of the architecture during the next years. This statement was framed within the concept Geist and Volk Spirit and people , where the Geist spirit was the vehicle through the personal aspirations of the man were close of the creations of the God. In these temples, the latest aim of architecture its function is devotion for beauty and a place for the spirit. Bruno Taut attempts to a futurist utopian, where technology has to help to the Geist. Glass and steel are seen in Alpine Architecture as elements that break away from the materialism of the period.
“Alpine Architecture”: an Utopian City by Bruno Taut (1917)