Friday, 10.05.2019, 10:00–17:00

Unbuilt Architecture Today. On the Future Relevance of Unrealized Projects since 1945

International conference "Unbuilt Architecture Today. On the Future Relevance of Unrealized Projects since 1945"
Admission is free, registration is not required.
Mainly in German language.


Architectural plans and designs are collected and exhibited around the world. Many of these ideas have been implemented, but many more remain just ideas on paper. Their completion failed due to the respective political, economic, or technological circumstances or the plans were in fact only intended as an inspiration for the further development of architecture and society.

But why are renderings of unbuilt architecture kept for later generations if they never shaped our built environment? What value do these ideas have for studying what has actually been built? Can they provide inspiration for an architecture for the future?

The international conference “Unbuilt Architecture Today: On the Future Relevance of Unrealized Projects since 1945,” held by Berlinische Galerie and Technische Universität Berlin, will seek to provide answers to these and other questions. The goal will be to bridge the gap between the university and the museum, theory and practice, research and exhibition, and to jointly explore criteria for collecting, preserving, and exhibiting these architectural renderings.

Prominent architects and representatives from renowned architectural museums and research institutions will describe current findings and present their approach to materials related to unbuilt architecture at their respective institution. Contributions from German, Austrian, Swiss, and British practice will be combined with theoretical approaches to the issue from the perspective of cultural studies. The subjects to be discussed range from the current relevance of past architectural utopias, programs, and manifestos to the reception of unbuilt architectures in the realm of computer games.

The event is being held to mark the digitization project eHeritage – West-Berliner Architekturvisionen von 1945 bis 1990 at Berlinische Galerie, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until January 2020. Thanks to this support, a focused selection of architectural plans from the time of the Cold War intended for West Berlin, but never built, can be examined, digitized, and made available to a broader public. The visual material of the Berlinische Galerie on the architecture and urban planning in East Berlin, the capital of the GDR, already available online, could thus be complemented in a meaningful way. In recent years, research interest in Berlin postwar architecture before reunification has increased dramatically. Due to the great pressure being exerted on existing products from this architectural period, studies have focused until now on the study of already realized architectural history. The goal of this project was to compensate for the lacking awareness of unrealized West Berlin construction plans at least in part and to provide an important component for the history of the city as a whole.

The talks will be held in German except for the last part including a special lecture and a final discussion. There will be no translation available but abstracts are provided in English and German.

May 2019