‘Thinking Forward Through the Past’

Curators’ talk at the Venice Biennale: Mäusbunker & Hygieneinstitut


side view of brutalist mausebunker at risk building in berlin

Photo: Felix Torkar


For the new the old must sometimes give way. But, this can be painful when striking and unique buildings, built for a utopia that never happened are slated for demolition. To erase buildings like Berlin’s Mäusbunker or the city centre of Kelenföld removes more than a concrete relic, it removes part of a city’s cultural heritage.  The notion of ‘thinking forward through the past’, figuring how to build for the future without losing architectural legacy (even if it’s a difficult legacy) is a dilemma for urban planners.

Berlin’s Mäusbunker and Hygieneinstitut were earmarked for demolition until public outcry postponed their destruction. After a prolonged campaign the Department of Heritage Protection announced the decision in May 2023 to list the Mäusbunker as a historical monument and reprieve it from demolition. It is still not clear what will happen to the to the Hygieneinstitute building. Their story featured in a 2020 exhibition at BDA Gallerie Berlin curated by architect Ludwig Heimbach.

The pace at which change in cities is happening is illustrated by Hungary’s Pavilion. That exhibition, Overnity looks at Kelenföld city centre, a district of Budapest, a communist-era construction   As recently as September 2021 a chunk of the district has been sold to a private developer who will demolish buildings to make way for something new.

Join Ludwig Heimbach on September 23rd at 5.30pm at the Architecture Biennale in Venice 2021. He’s brought to Venice

Register via this link Curator Talk 


The Panel

Nuria Schoenberg        President of Fondazione Archivio Luigi Nono
Kozo Kadowaki             Curator of the Japanese pavilion
Ryoko Iwase                   Architect – Japanese pavilion
Attila Róbert Csóka     Curator of the Hungarian pavilion
Ludwig Heimbach       Architect and curator of the exhibition
Francesca Ferguson     Moderator

If you cannot attend once a recording of the event is available we will update this post providing a link.

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