1919 2019. Were We Ever Modern?

Competition Entry to Antepavilion 2019

In 1919, German architect Walter Gropius published a founding architectural manifesto for the creation of a new School of Architecture and Applied Art - the Bauhaus.

The frontispiece of this publication was a woodcut by artist Lyonel Feininger. ‘Cathedral for Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar’, depicts a Gothic cathedral as a radient beacon, a representation of the coming together of art, craft and architecture - inspired by the community of medieval guilds - under a new creative pedagogy for an industrialising society.

Gropius’ text and Feininger’s accompanying image both invoked a spiritual and utopian vision of the influence of art and architecture on wider society. One hundred years on from the publication of this manifesto, our proposal for Antepavilion 2019 seeks both to promote and question its legacy, exploring the contemporary relevance of the ideas underpinning the work of the Bauhaus.

The form of the pavilion makes reference to the abstract compositions of László Moholy-Nagy, Gunta Stölzl and Herbert Bayer - key figures within the Bauhaus who shaped the artistic implications of Gropius’ vision. A grid of timber establishes a partial frame within the extents of universal space, defining a moment of intensity within the city. Onto the timber frame of the pavilion are mounted sheets of steel in varying colours, polished to maximise their reflectiveness. During the day, the pavilion will reflect sunlight, while at night spotlights within and around the perimeter will illuminate the pavilion, to create a contemporary beacon seen from the canal and surrounding streets, that evokes Feininger’s cathedral.
It is proposed that the pavilion hosts a series of ‘manifesto reading events’ where Gropius’ manifesto, along with other key texts are presented afresh to a contemporary audience. Key phrases will also be cut out of the steel sheets as visual provocations.

The timber frame of the pavilion will be cut and prepared off site and assembled in-situ, while the steel sheets will be plasma cut and mounted onto the frame with mechanical fixings via a mobile tower. The larger sections of steel will be constructed in segments making them easy to handle on site.

Antepavilion Day Axonometric: