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Revising the Paradigm:German Modernism as the Search for a National Architecturein the Writings of Walter Curt Behrendt

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1993 by Kai Gutschow
Walter Curt Behrendt's architectural criticism in Germany between 1907 and 1927 reveals a remarkably continuous and often nationalistic rhetoric, that of a nation needing to maintain and re-forge its identity by creating a modern architecture. Before the First World War, a "New Style" (Neuen Stil) was to replace an outdated academic eclecticism and push Germany's culture into the modern world. During the war, hardship and patriotism dictated a similarly sober (Sachlich), Prussian building style for rebuilding and tackling the impending housing crisis. After the war, a rational, appropriately modern program of the decentralization of German cities and the creation of a national house--a "New Building" (Neues Bauen)--were promoted as ways to lift a defeated country out of its psychic and architectural low point.