Past Event

Collins/Kaufmann Forum: Clara Teresa Pollak, CIAM's Exhibition Concept. The Analysis of the Exhibition "The Dwelling for Minimal Existence"

November 11, 2019
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
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832 Schermerhorn Hall
CIAM's Exhibition Concept. The Analysis of the Exhibition "The Dwelling for Minimal Existence"

The Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), or International Congresses of Modern Architecture, was founded at La Sarraz Castle in Switzerland in 1928. In eleven congresses, CIAM explored central issues of modern architecture and became the most important institution for the development and dissemination of architectural modernity in the 20th century. The CIAM congresses are extensively documented and researched. The exhibitions, however, have received little attention in the form of short mentions or brief explanations, and many questions still remain unaddressed.

Arguably, the first CIAM exhibition accompanied the second CIAM Congress (“The Dwelling for Minimal Existence”) that took place on October 1929 in Frankfurt am Main at the Werkbundhaus of the Deutscher Werkbund. After Frankfurt, the exhibition traveled to other European cities until 1931 and was shown in Basel, Zurich, Warsaw, Munich, Magdeburg, Brussels, and Milan. Despite broad investigations into the questions of content of the second Congress, there remain no differentiated studies available to date about the exhibition in Frankfurt and the traveling exhibition that examined the material objects of the exhibitions and their spatial presentations.

In her master’s thesis, Clara Teresa Pollak used materials from the CIAM archives of the Institute for History and Theory of Architecture (gta Archives) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich as well as contemporary photographs and journalistic reports to elaborate on the historical origin of the main exhibition and the traveling exhibition and to discuss goals, expectations, and functions associated with the exhibitions. She also addressed their spatial designs and content-related conceptions under the term “CIAM’s exhibition concept.” The lecture presents an overview of the results of her master’s thesis and offers possible starting points for new research on CIAM’s history.