Martin Kohlrausch will discuss the role of modernist architects in East Central Europe during the first half of the 20th century. He will argue that against the background of economic catching-up processes and the establishment of a new nation state and capital city, modernist architects entered into a close relationship with the modernizing state.
This relationship could, under different auspices, partially survive the Second World War. By employing the example of Poland’s foremost modernist architect Szymon Syrkus and his wife Helena, and their extensive correspondence with other CIAM architects, the paper discusses the impact of the deep breaks coming with the rise of authoritarian regimes in the 1930s, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and finally the establishment of Communist regimes on modernist architects.
Martin Kohlrausch is Associate Professor of European Political History and head of the Department of History at KU Leuven. In 2014 his monograph ‘Building Europe on Expertise’, written collaboratively with Helmuth Trischler, came out with Palgrave (paperback edition 2018) as part of the new European history ‘Making Europe’. His long-term group study of modernist architects was published as ‘Brokers of Modernity. East Central Europe and the Rise of Modernist Architects. 1910-1950’ (LUP 2019). Martin Kohlrausch taught modern history at Technische Universität Berlin (2003-05), was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute Warsaw (2005-09), lecturer at Bochum University (2009-2011), Dilthey-Fellow (2009-2017), fellow-in-residence at the NIAS, Wassenaar Netherlands (2011) and fellow of the C2DH, Luxembourg (2019).
We will convene in OIH/BH E1.02 from 15:30 to 17:00, followed by drinks. All are welcome!