New from DOM publishers:
Natascha Meuser (ed.)
The Törten Project. Murder and Crime Mysteries from a Bauhaus Estate
A different approach to architectural teaching
Students develop crime stories set in the Bauhaus Estate in Törten, Dessau
Hannes M actually hated straight lines and was secretly in favour of Baroque ornamentation. His granddaughter discloses this secret, putting her life at risk. Meanwhile, a neighbour gets carried away with his zest for renovation and destroys the Amber Room, which had been stored in boxes in his garden shed. Another resident elsewhere on the estate can no longer see white surfaces. His creative drive incurs the fatal wrath of his friend.
These fictional stories unfold in Törten, imagined as a crime scene where virtually all protagonists have a skeleton in the closet. Twenty students at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, under the guidance of Professor Natascha Meuser, developed ideas for crime stories to shed new light on the workers’ estate designed by Walter Gropius in Törten between 1926 and 1928. This unorthodox approach to architectural pedagogy helped the students gain a deeper understanding of the world-famous row houses and became the genesis of The Törten Project: Murder and Crime Mysteries from a Bauhaus Estate. This small volume takes the reader behind the chaste white facades. It presents quirky narratives about mysterious entanglements, morbid secrets, and grisly intrigues, describing – almost incidentally – the buildings and their details.
“For some considerable time I have been uneasy with the view of Törten as an architectural phenomenon. This gave me the idea of embarking upon an experiment – my students would approach buildings of historic significance in Dessau within the context of narrative. In so doing they would be able to experience architectural history from a completely different perspective – namely that offered by the framework of a fictional account created by themselves. In this manner students from different cultural backgrounds would arrive at a deeper understanding of the building typology of modular housing.”
What is notable about this method of teaching architecture is its attempt to adopt innovative approaches to imparting knowledge. The book was conceived with the hope of passing on the students’ enthusiasm for the experiment to readers beyond academic circles.
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