The topic of living affects everyone and is a permanent topic across all social classes. In the anniversary year of 100 years of Bauhaus it is worth taking a look at the Hansaviertel. It was built in the post-war period when apartments were in short supply. Thousands of people were looking for a home. We have a different starting position but the same situation today. There is a lack of living space in the cities.
At the beginning of the year the exhibition “Die Neue Heimat” (1950 - 1982) was shown in the Pinakothek Munich. This gave insights into how in the post-war period as fast as possible, much and affordable living space was created. Entire districts were designed here on the rice board. The Interbau 1957 (International Building Exhibition) falls into this period. It was used to explore and find new housing forms and concepts. A very multi-faceted and attractive residential quarter was created, the Hansaviertel.
Architects from all over the world took part in planning and building a new urban quarter for the Berliners. Many of the architects came from the Bauhaus. Max Taut, Alvar Aalto, Oscar Niemeyer, Walter Gropius and many more built a district that is unmistakably influenced by the Bauhaus. How does the Hansaviertel stand 62 years later? It still has one of the highest densities of Berlin and is virtually in the green. A local estate agent told me that the apartments were still very much in demand. In 1995, the entire Hansaviertel was placed under a preservation order.
The Hansaviertel was photographed a thousand times;
how do you show something old and create something new?
“Form follows function” is one of the most famous sentences from the Bauhaus and has never let go of me. Constantly present in the development of the project, this sentence or idea gave the decisive impulse. So I took two pictures of the Niemeyer building, from two different perspectives. When I saw the two pictures on the light table, the spark jumped all over. The work began on the diptychs. This opened up completely new forms of representation and perspectives. It seems like another dimension. Each picture stands on its own and in pairs they merge into a sculptural object.
Housing is one of the big issues of our time. In times of an increasing population; in times when people in Hong Kong live in cages; in times of sharply rising rents in conurbations around the world and the displacement of population strata to the outskirts of cities. The question arises: How do we want to live and how can living space be made accessible to everyone?
Singapore is following a unique path here: 82% of the population lives in state-subsidized housing that is leased for 99 years. Once they have moved in, everyone usually lives his or her entire life in such an apartment. Blocks form independent neighborhoods with schools, supermarkets, clinics and Hawker centers. The history of the “Housing & Development Board” (HDB) begins at the beginning of the 70s and its architecture has continued to develop ever since.
The basic architectural structure is very similar and changes only slowly. This is countered by the external impression of the architecture with its multi-faceted façade designs. There are almost infinite colour variations. Some facades contain elements from other eras, some look very modern and others seem to be built with Lego bricks. This creates a tremendous variety that can be experienced here in the form of photography…
…You dive into the life feeling of a resident and look out of their windows. You see what they see and can feel that it is a huge difference to see a fiery red, squeaky yellow or neutral white facade. For me it is always an exciting moment to enter an area for the first time and let it affect me.
At the end of the 19th century, architects were still hardly concerned about how their buildings would look at night. Probably also because until then there were no reliable sources of light to calculate and plan with. A kind of rethinking began with the 1889 World Exhibition in Paris. Gustav Eifel created the Eiffel Tower and made it shine with magnesium fires in the floors and gas lamps in the staircase. Furthermore, there were floodlights on the top that illuminated the surrounding buildings.
Electrified by the new possibilities, architects and lighting designers began to turn fantastic designs into reality. Buildings are created with the complete thought of the night. Office buildings in which no room is lit at night and robbed of its actual function become artistic projection surfaces. Artificial light gives buildings a completely new shape and forms nocturnal light sculptures with an often futuristic appearance.
The cities are brightly lit and turn night into day. The stars have sunk to the ground and now shine in countless windows, billboards, headlights and street lamps. Visible from afar, illuminated buildings are landmarks and look to me like modern urban lighthouses that give orientation to people lost in the metropolises.
This project is about the creative work of architects and lighting designers who create the architecture of the night and use light as a building material. The light source itself is shown. A 4x5inch large format camera is used and the exposure is done on analogue slide material. By exposing on the lights, everything else sinks into darkness and the design idea becomes visible.