Rethinking Modernity




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An international conference of the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing and the Berlin Authority for the Preservation of Monuments in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste and ICOMOS Germany—On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the 1957 International Building Exhibition Interbau in Berlin and as contribution by the State of Berlin to the European Cultural
Heritage Year 2018.

Konzept/concept: Thomas Flierl, Jörg Haspel
Registration until September 7: Karin Lelonek, Tel. 030-20057-1537,
Free admission
Konferenzsprache Deutsch und Englisch/language German and English with simultaneous translations.

10.9.— Berliner Rathaus, Rathausstr. 15, 10178 Berlin
11.9.— Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
12.9.— bcc Berlin Congress Center, Alexanderstr. 11, 10178 Berlin

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The Cold War has left us believing that there are incompatible contrasts. Consequently, in the European architectural history of the 20th century avant-garde and traditionalist trends are often still considered to be incompatible extremes. This dualism peaked in the 1950s when the West was identified with “international modernist architecture” and the East with building in “national traditions” (Socialist Realism).

Berlin has two manifestos of this political and aesthetic confrontation: the Stalinallee (now Karl-Marx-Allee) built between 1951 and 1958, and the International Building Exhibition (Interbau) of 1957. During the second phase of construction of the Karl-Marx-Allee (1959-1964) East Berlin developed its own “socialist modern architecture”. Today, architectural and urbanistic testimonies to post-war modernity are once again appreciated in the East and West.

The application of the Federal State of Berlin (2013) to nominate the Karl-Marx-Allee together with the Interbau for the German World Heritage tentative list of UNESCO has broken up this long-established contrast. The conference Rethinking Modernity is meant to look beyond the Berlin horizon through historic analyses and typological comparisons in an international context. Based on the understanding that modernity remains “incomplete” to this day, tradition and progress condition each other and are interrelated. They remain distinguishable, but also inseparably connected.