• Competition (second prize)
  • Dessau
  • D
  • 2006
  • i.c.w. Jelle Post

The jury of the Bauhaus Award 2006 awarded the 2nd prize to our proposal to realise UNTITLED SPACE 13 in Dessau (Germany). According to the report of the jury it was appreciated for its conceptual contribution in relation to the theme of the competition, “Updating Modernism”, and its understanding of the Bauhaus as an interdisciplinary project:

“The potential of this project firstly lies concealed in its conceptual reach. By the creation of virtual spaces, that are materialized in simulated depictions, the concept opens up a new understanding of specific places. Without building anything physical, a place is projected in our view and sharpened in our perception through its multiple reflections. The project understands architecture as a media reflected discipline that could become a virtual medium. In contrast to the work of the first prize winners, this concept leads the project of modernism into the contemporary field of media defined perception.”

The proposal was presented at the Bauhaus Dessau on the 25th of March 2006:

”(…) So as you probably understand, we were most happy to stumble almost by accident upon the theme of the Bauhaus Award 2006. Our project is all about updating modernism, as I have tried to explain in this presentation, and as is elaborated much more in different essays in our book. For us it offers an almost too perfect occasion. Therefore we would like to propose the Bauhaus Foundation to commission the realization of an Untitled Space in Dessau. Like any other Untitled Space it will be specific and unique in its place, inhabitants and contents. But at same time it will be identical to, and united with all other Untitled Spaces by its architecture. Its architecture that, we should emphasize here, is specifically designed to appear only as “a manipulated image of its environment, a duplicated or intensified existing reality” of specific places and spaces.

Where should it stand, this Untitled Space in Dessau? Of course this is up to the client. But we certainly don’t want to do any harm to the former director’s house of Gropius in its current, remodelled form. We don’t intend in any way to make the mistake to consider erasing history again. So maybe it could be realised at the back of Gropius’ house, covered by the bushes? Instead of erasing history it could register and reflect the course of time on its façade…

And what would it be, this Untitled Space in Dessau? Could it be a suitable senior citizens’ dwelling for the Wunderkinder of the twentieth century, as the art historian Vincent van Rossem asks himself in his essay about Untitled Space? To quote the essay:

“In this senior citizens’ dwelling, the pursuit of spatial complexity and ambiguity can once again be carefully contemplated. The questions posed by Le Corbusier and Giedion are asked again, but in a sharper, more radical way. Because the degradation of bourgeois living that has been taking place since 1928 is also reflected in Untitled Space. There is no longer an interior, not even a modern interior, and the residents of Untitled Space camp out, like squatters in their own house, no longer living in the traditional sense of the word. It remains to be seen whether Mies, Gropius and Le Corbusier would really feel comfortable here.”

Gropius & Le Corbusier at les Deux Magots, Paris 1930Gropius & Le Corbusier at les Deux Magots, Paris 1930

One way or the other, Dessau will become part of the network of Untitled Spaces that will span the globe; unexpected relations between spaces, persons and events will occur; stories shall unfold. And architecture, this peculiar kind of paper architecture that intends to represent an existing world, finally will accommodate life and become part of a collective process and existence, as real architecture should.”