jeudi 22 mars 2018

Carl Fieger, du Bauhaus à la Bauakademie

Carl Fieger (Siedlung Dessau-Törten, Haus Fieger, Ansicht und Grundrisse), 1926
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 17363 G)

Fondation Bauhaus-Dessau, jusqu'au 31 octobre 2018
Commissariat de l'exposition : Wolfgang Thöner et Uta Karin Schmitt

"Nous devons maintenant inventer une maison avec toutes les réalisations technologiques modernes, assez bon marché pour être accessible à la plupart de ceux qui ont besoin de maisons."
(Carl Fieger: ‘Das Wohnhaus als Maschine’, in: Baugilde 6, 1924)    

Dès son premier bâtiment, Carl Fieger est entré dans l'histoire de l'architecture. Bien que la maison mono-familiale de 1924 soit restée un bâtiment expérimental, ce bâtiment circulaire appelé une machine à habiter a eu un immense retentissement dans la communauté professionnelle et auprès des futurs architectes. C'était une importante contribution à la recherche de nouvelles normes dans la construction de logements.

Carl Fieger, né en 1893 à Mayence, commença sa carrière en 1911 dans les cabinets de Peter Behrens et de Walter Gropius. En 1925, il suivit Gropius de Weimar à Dessau. Là, il participa à la planification de nombreux bâtiments devenus des icônes de l'architecture moderne, parmi lesquels l'Usine Fagus d'Alfeld (1922-1925) ou le bâtiment principal du Bauhaus et les Maisons des Maîtres à Dessau (1925-1926).

Carl Fieger, Maisons jumelées pour médecin, vers 1924
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2283 G)
Fieger’s work is characterised by the radical realisations of minimal dwellings, bold colour designs and curved walls that we see in the plans of his buildings, e.g. in his home, Fieger House in Dessau, (1926/27) and the Kornhaus restaurant on the Elbe river (1929–1930). It is in these buildings that Fieger’s playful approach to standards, prefabricated building components and innovative building materials comes to the fore – invariably also in interaction with the interior fittings and fixtures he designed to match the architecture.

"Fieger’s rendering of architecture was unbelievably dextrous and incomparably skilful.”

(Letter from architect Paul Linder to Paul Klopfer, 10 December 1957)

Carl Fieger was fluent in several artistic vernaculars from typography to furniture and interior design. He was also a master drawer. Thanks to his drawing abilities he taught technical drawing at the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1928, a mandatory course for Bauhaus students.
A passion for working experimentally and for developing standards and norms to suit individual needs marks Fieger’s 40-year career as a creative. He later put to use the experiences he made in these fields at the Bauhaus as a research fellow at the Deutsche Bauakademie, the German university of architec- ture in East Berlin. Consequently, in 1953 Carl Fieger became the first architect to plan a prefabricated house in the GDR, a concrete slab building that did not look like one from the outside and hid its construction method behind a traditional facade. As a model for industrial mass production in housing construction this was a seminal building.

“In bourgeois circles people are still prejudiced against the Bauhaus with its modern conception of art.”

(Letter by Fieger to Walter Gropius from January 1, 1949) 

The exhibition leads the visitor through Fieger’s entire creative period, taking in the major architectural debates of the time: From the debates on the merits of standardisation versus creative individualism at the Deutscher Werkbund (German Association of Craftsmen) and the early Bauhaus to Le Corbusier’s concept of the “machine for living in” (machine à habiter), which was to provide greater comfort of living for more people through serial production, and the formalism debate in the GDR of the 1950s, which revived the discussion about standards and the freedom of art.
The exhibition sheds light on the architect’s complete oeuvre for the first time and locates it in its historical context. Almost all the original drawings, designs, furniture, photographs and student projects originate from Carl Fieger’s estate, which is owned by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Architectural models made by Fieger of his best-known designs show the diversity of his works – including a full-scale model of the never-realised circular house of 1924.
Carl Fieger is thus rediscovered: as an architect in his own right, a furniture designer, brilliant draughtsman and Bauhaus teacher.

Walter Gropius (Conception), Carl Fieger (Dessin), Les maisons des Maîtres à Dessau, Avant-projet, 1925
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2590 G) / © (Gropius, Walter) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

“Carl Fieger? Perhaps the last Bauhausler to be rediscovered”

Interview with curator Wolfgang Thöner,

head of the collection of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.

Mr. Thöner, who is Carl Fieger?
Wolfgang Thöner: Carl Fieger is an architect best known for his work with Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius. But he made a contribution to modern architecture in his own right, which is still significantly underrated. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was not especially extroverted. He worked in a team, for instance on the Bauhaus Building, the Masters’ Houses or the Fagus Factory in Alfeld. He also taught at the Bauhaus Dessau and was a brilliant draughtsman. Carl Fieger is perhaps the last Bauhausler to be rediscovered. It’s about time he was brought forward into the light!
Fieger’s career as an architect extends “from Bauhaus to Bauakademie”, which is quite a long creative period. Can you sum it up for us?
Carl Fieger designed very different kinds of buildings. His first independent design in 1924 made his name internationally: a circular house that was never realised. But even before the First World War, he had worked on the German Empire’s pompous embassy in Saint Petersburg, a not very modern- looking building with neoclassical elements. Fieger’s career began with this combination and, curiously, finished with it too, when he designed the first Plattenbau in the GDR in 1953: a reinforced concrete building that hid its method of construction behind a neoclassical facade.

What makes Fieger so special as an architect?
His trademarks are the curved walls of his buildings and his very bold sense of colour, which was pretty unusual for the time. His work was shaped by experiments with standards and norms, although it must be said that Fieger’s approach to standards varied widely; they served him as templates for individual creativity.
Fieger House (1926/27) takes central stage in the exhibition. Why?
I think it’s true to say that Carl Fieger wanted to bring the home to life as a Gesamtkunstwerk. With Fieger House, he succeeded right down to the smallest detail. He even designed the interior fittings himself. The house shows that it is possible to create a varied, aesthetic, uncramped dwelling in a small amount of space. The roof is accessible and the house opens up wonderfully into the garden. At the time, that kind of thing was only found in fancy villas. But Fieger wanted to make it available to everyone. His goal, what he worked towards, was the minimal flat for the subsistence minimum. He dedicated his life to this idea. 

What can visitors to the exhibition expect?
The exhibition addresses Fieger’s life and work by way of the major architectural debates of the day. Starting with the debates of the Deutscher Werkbund – the German association of craftsmen – concerning the relation between standard and individuality and the early Bauhaus, to Le Corbusier’s idea of the “machine for living in” to the formalism debate in the GDR in the 1950s, which again dealt with standards. To illustrate these points we had models made of Fieger’s buildings. Therefore visitors can for example experience the full effect of the circular house in the original size. Additionally, there are many original drawings, designs and pieces of furniture. Virtually all of these are items from Fieger’s estate, which is owned by the Bauhaus Des- sau Foundation. They have not been seen in such a comprehensive exhibition before now.
Interview: Sonja Vogel. 

Walter Gropius (conception), Carl Fieger (dessin),Les batiments du Bauhaus à Dessau, avant-projet, 1925© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2591 G) / © (Gropius, Walter) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Carl Fieger, Entwurf eines Zeitungsgebäudes in Eisenbeton für den Wettbewerb der Chicago Tribune, 1922
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2309/2 G)

Carl Fieger, Dessau en développement, 1926
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2288/2 F)

Walter Gropius und Adolf Meyer (conception), Carl Fieger (dessin), Bibliothèque mobile pour la maison Sommerfeld, Berlin, 1922
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2202 G) / © (Gropius, Walter) VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Carl Fieger, Restaurant Kornhaus au bord de l'Elbe à Dessau, 1930, Photo Emil Theis
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2668/1 F)

Carl Fieger, Restaurant Kornhaus au bord de l'Elbe à Dessau, 1930
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2371/4 F)

Carl Fieger, Maison Fieger, Dessau, côté sud, 1927
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2371/6 F)

Carl Fieger, chambre à coucher de sa maison, 1927
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2417/1-2 M) / Foto: Kelly Kellerhoff

Carl Fieger, vers 1935 - Photo: Foto-Fischer Dessau
© Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (I 2325 F)

Biographie de Carl Fieger
1893 Born in Mainz.
1908–1911 Studies at the Mainz Art and Vocational School.
1911–1913 Employed at the Studio of Peter Behrens in Potsdam-Neubabelsberg.
1913–1914 Employed at the Studio of Walter Gropius. 1915–1918 Military service during the First World War. 1919 Employed at the Studio of Peter Behrens.
1920–1933 Employed at the Studio of Walter Gropius, starting in May 1920 in Weimar, starting in 1925 in Dessau, starting in 1928 in Berlin; simultaneously works as an independent architect.
1923 Participates in the Bauhaus exhibition in Weimar with two projects, among them the design for the Chicago Tribune competition in 1922.
1924 Fieger published his project Rundhaus [round house] in the essay „Das Wohnhaus als Maschine“ [The Residential House as a Machine] (in: Baugilde).
1925 Gropius includes Fieger’s Doppelhaus für Ärzte [Twin-House for Doctors] side by side with the most influential architects of the twentieht century in the first volume of the Bauhaus book “International Architecture.”
1926 Fieger publishes the essay “Simplifying Housekeeping by Good Organisation” (in: Bauwelt), including the designs for his own residence in Dessau.
1927 Marriage to Dora Sommer from Dessau-Großkühnau.
1933–1936 Occupational ban from December 1933 to October 1936, he earns a living accepting occasional jobs and lives in Berlin until 1945; employed in the Studio of Werner March (Olympic Village 1936).
1936 Occupational ban is lifted thanks to his admission in the Reich Chamber of Culture on October 13, 1936.
1945–1950 Following a call by Fritz Hesse, mayor of Dessau, Fieger returns to Dessau. He works for the Council of the City of Dessau, Department of Rents and Tenures and participates in the reconstruction of Dessau as an architect.
1946/47 Fieger participates in the effort to revive the Bauhaus with Hubert Hoffmann and others.
1952 Fieger works for the Tax and Revenue Office Dessau. He quits to participate in the National Reconstruction Programme Berlin as a design architect.
1952–1953 Research Associate at the Institute for Residential Construction at the German Building Academy (East) Berlin.
1953 Awarded the Certificate for Exceptional Achievements by the Building Academy Berlin for building the first trial construction with large precast slabs in the GDR.
1953 Fieger suffers a stroke.
1960 He dies on November 21 in Dessau. 

Source : Service de Presse de la Fondation Bauhaus-Dessau
Fondation Bauhaus-Dessau, jusqu'au 31 octobre 2018
Commissariat de l'exposition : Wolfgang Thöner et Uta Karin Schmitt

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