B. Discontents

B. Discontents



With buildings by Hans Poelzig, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, J.J.P. Oud, Hans Scharoun and many others in an ensemble designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Stuttgart’s Weißenhofsiedlung is considered one of the landmark achievements of Modern Architecture. On 23 July 1927, the settlement was inaugurated on one of the many hills surrounding the city in South-West Germany. For the occasion of the Weißenhof’s 100th anniversary, the municipality and regional association of Stuttgart launched the ambitious Internationale Bauausstellung 2027 (IBA’27) which is researching the future of building and co-existing in cities and city regions through numerous projects, initiatives and events. One of the key topics of its 10-years effort the IBA’27 entitled “Legacy of Modernism”. In 2022, the Institute for Principles of Modern Architecture (Design and Theory) of the University of Stuttgart was invited to host an international symposium, gathering different perspectives on Modern Architecture. 30 scholars, architects, and artists shared their thoughts in short talks, each focusing on one specific notion that the participants were asked to choose.

This Index of Modern Architecture culminated in a panel discussion hosted by Prof. Dr. Stephan Trüby on “(Modern) Architecture and its Discontents”. As the title’s allusion to Sigmund Freud suggests, it focused on the suppressed, the violent, and the uncanny side of Modernism’s seeming rationality. Specifically, three major discontents were discussed which had also appeared in many of the individual talks earlier that day: Modernism’s entanglement with totalitarianism, with racism, and with sexism. Scholars Beatriz Colomina, Tania Mancheno, and Tazalika te Reh, artist Michaela Melián, architect Sam Jacob, and journalist Xavier de Jarcy shared their thoughts on these topics which are only beginning to find their way into the discourse around Modern Architecture. It became clear that Stephan Trüby’s introductive question is everything but trivial: “Is Modern Architecture dead or does it just smell funny?”. The videos shared here document the panel as well as the participants’ individual talks. Both took place on 1 July 2022 at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart and at Brenzkirche respectively, both in immediate vicinity to the Weißenhofsiedlung.