The interwar period in Central and Eastern Europe is largely an empty space on the map of architectural history, dominated by several examples categorised as “Bauhaus”. In this book, an international group of architectural historians explores places, protagonists and transnational networks of the avant-garde in Central Europe and the global dissemination of their ideas.
Walter Gropius’s communicative skills can be credited with the fact that the architectural modern movement of the 1920 and 30s is often subsumed under the term ‘Bauhaus’, and its global expansion is above all attributed to the influence of Bauhaus teachers and students in exile. The 100-year Bauhaus jubilee of 2019 is the perfect occasion to broaden this perspective and to bring other hubs of modernity and its networks into the focus.
Eastern Europe deserves special attention in this context. After World War I, the modern movement (Neues Bauen) became a symbol of progress and economic success in the newly constituted states. Despite the political antagonisms between the fallen empires and the new national states, artistic connections were maintained across the newly drawn borders, such as between the Russian constructivists and the Polish avant-garde, or they were newly formed, such as between the Breslau and Warsaw architectural scenes.
The platforms of this transnational exchange form the focal point of the publication: educational institutes – including offerings such as Ernst May’s ‘Frankfurt Course for Neues Bauen’ – study trips, exhibitions, competitions, expert journals, etc., up to the International Congresses for Modern Architecture/Congrès Internationaux d’ Architecture Moderne (CIAM) that were called to life in 1928.