ARCH+ features 38: The modern city
The housing shortage in large cities, controversial building projects and gentrification all point towards urban planning being one of the big issues of the future. With their recently published DVD edition "The Modern City", Ralph Eue and Florian Wüst are presenting up a unique historic perspective of the controversy surrounding modern house building and urban planning.
Film makers tackled the subject of modern house building and urban planning as far back as the 1950s and 1960s, providing impetus for possible solutions. At the Berlin KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the publishers showcased their films, including the last work by Peter Weiss, “Bag de ens facader” (1961) (“Behind the same facades”), and the TV film “The Murdered City” by Mafred Durniok (1965) based on the motifs of the book of the same name by Wolf Jobst Siedler.
In keeping with the ideals of "New Construction" movement back in the 1920s, the modernization of Europe's metropolises after 1945 targeted better living conditions for the working population. There was a lack of living space everywhere. People and their social relationships were confronted by enormous changes in the form of industrial mass production and the consumer culture. The medium of film served as a means to publicize urban and traffic models "of tomorrow" on the one hand, and on the other hand to give expression to criticism of everyday rationalization.
Subsequently, they talked to Nikolaus Kuhnert and Anh-Linh Ngo of ARCH+ and to Joachim Krausse, Professor of Design Theory at the University of Anhalt in Dessau, about the relevance and topicality of the films in the light of current problem issues and challenges of urban planning and urban design.
Joachim Krausse contributed practical experiences gained with the topic of film and urban planning to the discussion: In the 1970s, he worked with Joachim Schlandt and Jonas Geist to produce a series of films for the WDR broadcasting company about worker housing construction and architectural field research carried out into kitchens, living rooms and other living areas.

All pictures courtesy of: David von Becker
© 2020 S. Siedle & Söhne OHG