The city crown: Visit of a utopian site

Root Event

6. Werkleitz Biennale Common Property / Allgemeingut
The city crown: Visit of a utopian site
5. 9. 2004


Simone Hain (RespondentIn), Simone Hain (WissenschaftlerIn)

At the height of the November revolution, Bruno Taut wrote ‹Die Stadtkrone› (1919) and designed fantastic structures as symbols of the ‹social idea› and places of a new community. One of his ‹City Crown› projects related to the Lehmann Cliff in Halle. Taut connected with the ‹City Crown› the notion of a place free of rule for pleasure-oriented socialising, a kind of worldly cathedral or democratic castle. All renowned architects of the German avant-garde participated in defining such a ‹City Crown› for Halle.

Bruno Taut was born in the Prussian city of Königsberg in 1880 and died in 1938 as an emigrant in Istanbul. He studied art history and urban development in Berlin. In 1910, he became a member of the Deutsche Werkbund and a committed advocate of the German garden-city movement. His first urban development project was the garden town of Falkenberg near Berlin in 1913. A first construction phase was realised and became known as the ‹box-of-water-colours settlement› because it intended to convey to the inhabitants «the joy of one’s own painting». The settlement’s annual summer festivities were Dadaist attractions visited by people from all over Berlin. In 1919, Taut attempted to expand the political revolution to the field of art with the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Work Council for Art), and was appointed the director of Bavarian building activities by the Bavarian Soviet Republic. In 1921 he became the chief architect of ‹red Magdeburg›. Stimulated by the Russian revolutionary artists and the art school of Marc Chagall in Kovno (Lithuania), Taut had the Baroque town hall, entire streets, and even the barges on the river Elbe colourfully painted in the action ‹Farbiges Magdeburg› (colourful Magdeburg). Along with other artists, the Halle based painter Karl Völker took part, who then extended the action to his hometown. Bruno Taut, who in the 1920s had laid the foundations for non-profit housing construction together with Martin Wagner from the Bauhütten movement, had to flee from the Nazis via Switzerland to Japan and finally to Turkey.

The excursion leads to the Lehmann Cliff as the venue of various ‹City Crown›-competitions and to other utopian stories in Halle and the environs.

Invited participants are: Simone Hain, architecture historian, Berlin