Free PDFs of the German Avant-Garde Architectural Journal Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau (1926-1931)

Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau's Coverage of Ivan Leonidov's Proposal for the Lenin Institute

 The modernist movement was alive and well in interwar Germany.  Not only at the Bauhaus, which stood at the forefront of the avant-garde, under the leadership of Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, but all over the country.  László Moholy-Nagy and Gropius published their famous Bauhausbücher series, El Lissitzky established his journal ABC: Beitrage zum Bauen, and Theo van Doesburg transplanted his Dutch De Stijl magazine to Germany.

D. Aranowitz's German article on Soviet Architecture in Moscow

Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau was something of a mixed bag, presenting traditional architectural buildings alongside some of the more avant-garde productions.  Modernism, as a self-consciously international movement proposing a new universal language for architecture, sought to transcend national borders and keep their domestic audiences informed of developments abroad.  Современная архитектура wrote extensively on the Bauhaus architects and Le Corbusier.  In turn, Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau included articles covering the architecture that was emerging in the Soviet Union.

Image from Aronowitz's Article on Soviet Architecture

With the rise of Nazism, combined with the pre-existing  socialist/communist sympathies amongst German avant-garde architects, German and Dutch architects flocked to the Soviet Union to help aid in the construction of a new society.  As  Hannes Meyer (the Bauhaus director forced out for his communist beliefs) expressed, the German architects wanted to participate in this radical social experiment.  The Pravda correspondent A. Gatman reported the following words from Meyer:

“After many years of working within the capitalist system I am convinced that working under such conditions is quite senseless.  In view of our Marxist and revolutionary conception of the world we, revolutionary architects, are at the mercy of the insoluble contradictions of a world built on animal individualism and the exploitation of man by man.  I have said, and I say again, to all architects, all engineers, all builders: ‘Our way is and must be that of the revolutionary proletariat, that of the communist party, the way of those who are building and achieving socialism.’

I am leaving for the USSR to work among people who are forging a true revolutionary culture, who are achieving socialism, and who are living in that form of society for which we have been fighting here under the conditions of capitalism.

I beg our Russian comrades to regard us, my group and myself, not as heartless specialists, claiming all kinds of special privileges, but as fellow workers with comradely views ready to make a gift to socialism and the revolution of all our knowledge, all our strength, and all the experience that we have acquired in the art of building.”

[From Pravda, Berlin dispatch dated October 10th, 1930]

But anyway, on to the journals!

  1. Städtebau (1930) – № 1
  2. Städtebau (1930) – № 2
  3. Städtebau (1930) – № 3
  4. Städtebau (1930) – № 4
  5. Städtebau (1931) – № 1
  6. Städtebau (1931) – № 2
  7. Städtebau (1931) – № 3
  8. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 1
  9. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 2
  10. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 3
  11. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 4
  12. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 5
  13. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 6
  14. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 7
  15. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1926) – № 8
  16. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 1
  17. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 2
  18. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 3
  19. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 4
  20. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 5
  21. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 6
  22. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 7
  23. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 11
  24. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 1
  25. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 2
  26. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 3
  27. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 4
  28. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 5
  29. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 6
  30. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 7
  31. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1928) – № 8
  32. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 1
  33. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 2
  34. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 3
  35. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 4
  36. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 5
  37. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 6
  38. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 7
  39. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1929) – № 8
  40. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1930) – № 1
  41. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1930) – № 2
  42. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1930) – № 3
  43. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1930) – № 4
  44. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1931) – № 1
  45. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1931) – № 2
  46. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1931) – № 3
  47. Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1931) – № 4

5 thoughts on “Free PDFs of the German Avant-Garde Architectural Journal Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst und Städtebau (1926-1931)

    • Yes, though even some of the avant-garde members suspected the foreign modernists were importing “bourgeois” ideas. But for the most part they got on cordially. Stalin appointed the socialist Ernst May to oversee most of the new construction. He was interested in bringing in “outside specialists.” But the warm welcome was not to last. In 1937, nearly all the members of the foreign avant-garde were forcibly expelled by the Stalinist regime. They were accused of “wrecking,” “sabotage,” and engaging in “bourgeois speculation.” And so marked the death of the modernist dream.

      Architectural modernism lost its vision of helping to transform society after the debacle in Germany and the Soviet Union. Instead of workers’ housing they built swanky towers for major corporations. Instead of being implemented on a wide scale, modernist designs were used for isolated structures, and to create cheap slums to push the poor into. And so the dream became a nightmare.

  1. Hi. I’m an architecture student from Portugal. I’m writing an essay and i really needed this: Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst (1927) – № 7. Can you provide the link, please? Thank you.

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