Exhibition “Public Works – Architecture by Civil Servants” : Thu, 07.03.2013


‘Public Works’ will be on show from 8 March to 14 April 2013, in the former church of ST. AGNES and will present the architectural ensemble along with other outstanding European architectural complexes of the 1960s and 1970s.

In the 1960s and 1970s conspicuous building authorities were operating all over Europe. Their architects were regarded as civil servants. Today their architectural legacy is still regarded as refreshingly modern, even ground-breaking. Reinier de Graaf calls the 1960s and 1970s – the heyday of public architecture -: ‘a short-lived, fragile period of naïve optimism, before market economy’s brutal command took the lead.’ de Graaf describes it as ‘a curious paradox, that the welfare state’s good-natured ideology chose to be represented by a style that was later on named brutalist architecture.’

The exhibition will focus on architectural complexes and their architects by the Greater London Council, the Public Works Department Amsterdam, the Dutch Rijksgebouwendienst, the Senate Department for Urban Development of West Berlin as well as on works of French and Italian architects who were at that time members of special ‘architect councils’ working on areas such as architecture and urban development in the public sector.

On this occasion the former parish house ST. AGNES – which has been undergoing since 2012 a substantial change into an exhibition hall as well as a living and business area thanks to the ST. AGNES GmbH and architect Arno Brandlhuber – will be presented at length. The complex, which is listed as historical monument and preserves today to a large extent its original condition, was conceived by architect Werner Düttmann as a brutalist complex and built between 1964 and 1967. Werner Düttmann was appointed Director of Urban Development of West Berlin in 1960 and consequently held a key position regarding West Berlin’s urban planning. Among his most celebrated buildings of the time are the Akademie der Künste in Berlin-Mitte and the Brücke Museum in Berlin-Dahlem, both included in the exhibition.

The exhibition will present archive material as well as documents on the present condition of all selected buildings.


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