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Hamburg summer.

Hamburg's Architectural Summer 1994, held between April and September, staged over 30 big events. At a time of cultural cutbacks Hamburg's management group, led by the local architektenkammer and including Hamburg's Art Academy, museums and artists' associations, were able to call on over 100 sponsors to support a unique Fritz Schumacher exhibition, a Jean Nouvel video interview and film presentation, the work of O.M. Ungers (including his extension to Hamburg's art museum, the Kunsthalle, now on site), Walter Nageli and Renzo Vallebuona drawings 'After Melsungen', models spanning 30 years from the workshop of Von Gerkan, Marg and Partner, a conference titled Risiko Stadt? (Is The City Risky? and exhibitions ranging from Piranesi to Arne Jacobsen. Hamburg has been the focus of an intensive architecture course.

Fritz Schumacher, 125 years after his birth, is being lauded by the city that forced him to resign as city architect and planner in 1933. The exhibition acknowledges his stature as a teacher, as patron (while city architect), of Fritz Hoger's Chilehaus and of sculptors such as Ernst Barlach, as the author o Goethe's World View, Problems of the City and Hamburg's Housing Politics 1918-19, designer of English Arts and Crafts influenced furniture, printer, illustrator and architect of his own buildings, and he has been presented in th context of his European contemporaries. He was energetically multi-talented, perhaps patriarchal (as were the times) but not dictatorial, a socially aware architect and planner who indelibly influenced the brick architecture of present-day Hamburg, despite war damage and the intervention of speculators.

A growing number of German architects perceive the present to be in chaos. A call for order is ringing out, 'demanding an approach that begins from the righ angle and emphasises uniformity and national identity. O.M. Ungers, master of the building block and former teacher of many of the influential figures behind the new movement, had an exhibition of geometric symmetry at the Kunsthalle. Pure white plaster models of unrealised buildings were displayed in front of razor-sharp black and white line diagrams. Also shown was man, in diagrammatic form, as the measure: Vitruvius' 1521 figure, Durer's 1528 version and the column orders.

Metromorph is an exhibition, in an empty shop which formerly sold office machines, of unbuilt projects designed by Generation X Associates: five architects born in the early 1960s who gave a different slant to architectural thought. Generation X is not an office, more a workshop, and its name is from the title of the cult book. Five architects -- two freelance, one an employee and two still studying -- meet to discuss and exchange views. Between them they have studied at seven universities, completed their compulsory civil or militar national service and worked in 22 architects' offices. Their concern is that, caught between debates on Modernism, Post-Modernism and Decon, the city's real problems are not being addressed. Alongside their daily work they are researching urgent building problems: Hamburg's red-light district, the redevelopment of redundant industrial areas and recent history's memorial areas where they try to make history visible beside (and through) new functional requirements.

Architecture in every medium except building was shown by 22 German, Austrian, Russian, Bulgarian and Rumanian artists at Hamburg's Kunsthaus. In 'Virtual Roofs' the public could design their own space, for DM20 a unit, in a virtual reality programme designed by the video computer artist, Hermann Josef Hack representing the sky over Hamburg. Appropriately, the money raised by the event went to a charity for the actual homeless.

If Hamburg's architektenkammer can maintain the standard and momentum of this year's festival, it must be hoped that there will be many more Architectural Summers in Hamburg.
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Title Annotation:Architectural Summer 1994, Hamburg, Germany
Author:Dawson, Layla
Publication:The Architectural Review
Date:Sep 1, 1994
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