The Great War and Modern Architecture—100 years on
3 June 2013
What were the consequences of World War 1 for the development of modern architecture after 1918? Considering that many modern architects were soldiers in their 20s and early 30s, formative periods in any individual’s life, how did active service in the trenches or behind the frontline, travel to foreign lands, and the communal experience of danger influence their thinking about their work, profession, and society at large?
Psychologists like Kurt Lewin published as early as 1917 seminal texts about how the soldier’s experience of the battlefield fundamentally changed his perception of space. In literature, reflections on the horrors and extraordinary experiences of the Great War resulted about ten years later in masterpieces by writers and playwrights such as Ernst Jünger, Erich Maria Remarque, and Edmund Blunden. Yet in the realm of architecture little seems to be known beyond anecdotal tales that Walter Gropius had been buried underneath rubble, and that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s military career was modest due the lack of a university education. Are there issues, buildings, methodologies, and theoretical concerns in the development of modern architecture after 1918 that can be traced back to the Great War?
The session invites papers, ideally based on archival research, that address both individual architects who had served in any of the opposing armies, and questions concerning historiography and methodological approaches regarding World War 1 and the emergence of modern architecture in Europe.
Send 250 words abstract with a brief CV (1-2 pages), institutional affiliation (if applicable) and email address by November, 12, 2012, to
Prof. Volker M. Welter, University of California at Santa Barbara, [email protected]; and Prof. Iain Boyd Whyte, University of Edinburgh, [email protected]
Volker M. Welter PhD
Department of the History of Art and Architecture
Mail Stop 7080
University of California at Santa Barbara
E-mail: [email protected]
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