Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weissenhofsiedlung Stuttgart

For years now I've been saying that the next time I would visit my parents, I would finally go and see the Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart. But then I took the train and didn't fly into Stuttgart, or, during Christmas, it was too cold - excuses, excuses. So this Christmas, I said come what may, next time I would visit, we would go there!

The Weissenhofsiedlung was built in 1927 to showcase housing solutions in the near future - at a time, when pre-war Stuttgart still looked like any medieval town with timber-framed houses! It doesn't get more avant-garde than that I guess and many of the 500 000 (!!!!!!) paying visitors who went through the houses during the 3 month long exhibition were shocked with the industrial character of the houses. As a matter of fact the Le Corbusier building which today houses the museum sat unoccupied for one year until finally someone decided to rent the place!

The details - lamps, how the curtain rails are hidden within the walls, functional built-in cabinets really caught my attention (unfortunately, you may not publish photos from inside the house). The houses were renovated in 1985 and back then, people were not so keen on details, so instead of gently renovating everything, they ripped out most of the things and replaced them with exact replicas...

Many of the originally 21 buildings survived WWII. Today, the houses belong to the German State and state employees can live their with quite affordable rents. Unfortunately, judging by the decorations in the gardens and windows, most do not really pay tribute to the landmark they get to live in! Almost makes you want to reconsider your career and take up some government-job just to get a chance to live there...
Some houses were apartment buildings (fabulously designed by Mies van der Rohe), single family homes, or town houses, as the ones pictured below by J. J. P. Oud. 

The house designed by Scharoun with a martitime ship-like-touch would definitely be one I would not say no to. So airy, and those curved windows?!? *writing my application for a government job*

More info on the Weissenhofsiedlung:

If you want to read more about the international style and Siedlungsbau, here's what I wrote years ago about my all time favorite Schütte-Lihotzky!

copyright of all photos: j. / copyright of all designs: Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, J.J.P. Oud, Hans Scharoun, Mart Stam

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