Friday, 17 September 2021, 2 – 5 pm CEST (CET+1 / UCT+2)
Upon gaining independence in the mid-20th century, many cities in Southeast Asia changed dramatically in terms of their physical appearance. The task of becoming an independent nation was accompanied by the desire for a symbolic new beginning in architecture and urban planning. International modernism not only offered an aesthetic programme that reflected expectations of progress and prosperity, but also served as a means of emancipation from the colonial powers. Local modernities were created, based on an understanding of cultural specifics and the climatic requirements of building in tropical regions.
Today, however, the built legacy of this transformational period is increasingly under threat. Rapid urbanization and the accompanying rise in property values, reassessments of local architectural histories that are often politically motivated, and demands to adapt old buildings to new uses are causing ever more iconic structures to be razed or disfigured through careless modifications. And such developments are not limited to Southeast Asia. In Germany as well, architecture from the 1950s to 1970s is falling victim to demolition for very similar reasons.
It is therefore necessary to exchange views, examine successes, discuss strategies, and to determine what added value is created for society if buildings from this period are preserved. What concepts are being discussed in Germany today, and how do they correspond to strategies being implemented in Southeast Asia? How can contemporary usage concepts for modernist buildings be developed? What kinds of arguments could help secure a future for these buildings?