Saturday, July 20, 2013

R.O.T.Y.O - Urban Change [Germany]

This months cover by K.K.W,
with layout by Aleksandar Ares
Urban Change - Germany [Rise Of The Young Ones]
By K.K.W & Aleksandar Ares.

From the late 19th to the mid 20th century the major factors of urban change has been war, technology, social revolution & class struggle. All of which are influenced by politics and economic factors. One of the two main epicenters of these changes are France and Germany via Baron Haussmann & Walter Gropius.  Both would leave its  mark on history and influence many other cities throughout the world. 

However, Germany lagged behind France & the other industrial leaders, though not for long. The introduction of sugar beets, turnips, and potatoes would yield a higher level of food production, which allowed a surplus rural population to move to industrial areas. The textile industry would be the beginnings of their industrial revolution, facilitated by the elimination of tariff barriers through the Zollverein starting in 1834. As Napoleon III [who hired Baron Haussmann to renovate Paris] modeled Paris' green spaces  based on those in Britain, so would Germany import their engineering and hardware from Britain to improve and expand their railways. This would in turn would give RISE to the steel industry, a major aspect of Modern architecture. 
March Revolution - 1848 Berlin.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
As with France, social dissatisfaction rose with the factors of Urbanization & industrialization: the need for pan-Germanism, increased political freedom, liberal policies, democracy, freedom from censorship, etc. The new middle class elements were committed to liberal principals while the working class sought radical improvements to their working and living conditions. This would result in the "March Revolution" [1848] with in the German states, which was an offshoot of the revolutions that started in Paris that spread to other parts of Europe. Though unlike Paris, theirs in Germany did not last long and achieved few if any permanent  changes [especially in form of government & uniting the states]. However, by 1870 unification would happen via Otto Von Bismarck with the creation of the German Empire [second German Reich]. And though the empire was authoritarian, freedom of speech, association, and religion were guaranteed by the constitution. 

Berlin - 1912 by Paul Hoeniger Spittelmarkt.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia. 
 A major difference between France & Germany is that [in Germany] unification in 1870 stimulated consolidation, and nationalization into state-owned companies and further rapid growth. Coal, steel, chemicals, and  dyes were chief aspect of its industries. The nation became a world leader because of it's corporatist mentality and strong bureaucratic tradition. Germany's middle class grew exponentially in the cites, but despite being the new rich [displacing many of the nobles],  it would take much longer to gain political power as those in France, Britain, or the U.S.  By the early 20th century, German industries was at a high output. As with other areas of Europe, these seemingly radical changes within society would create the ideals of modernism, which would have an immense impact on art & architecture.
German Soldier, WWII.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia. 
As the First World War loomed there was  mounting tension and unease with the social order, already seen in the Russian Revolution of 1905. Radical parties also helped to push the general agitation and manifest itself in every medium which radically simplified or rejected previous practice.  Picasso & Matisse rejecting traditional perspective, Kokoschka was writing Morder, Hoffnung der Frauen (Murderer, Hope of  Women), the first expressionist play. The birth of the machine age changed the conditions of life, and war. By the end of WW1 Germany would be in economic / social ruin, which would give RISE to the "Silver Prince" - Walter Gropius and Bauhaus [house of construction / school of building]. The school would have an enormous influence on art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography. The architectural design elements of Bauhaus would be most useful after WWII - when most of the German cities were leveled by allied bombings.
Bauhaus, Dessau 1926.
The founding elements of Bauhaus were anti-bourgeois [though most of those involved & who taught at the school were from that class], democratic - socialism, and  modernism [make it new - strip away the unnecessary of the past]. As for its architectural design: radical simplicity, linear & geometric patterns, flat roofs, glass, steel and expressed structures. Oddly enough the school did not offer classes in architecture until 1927.
Walter Gropius 
Bauhaus school, Dessau [designed in 1926].
c.i_image#117 by Kerwin Williamson.
Rise Of The Young Ones [Skopje].
The geometric glass pattern [modern architecture]
merges with Skopje's overtly nationalistic
statues & older architecture.
c.i_image#110 by Kerwin Williamson.
Rise Of The Young Ones [NYC].
Modern architecture rising awkwardly
against older predecessor.   
Modern architecture in NYC.
Radical simplicity, glass, steel, & geometric
linear design. 


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1 comment:

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