The Reconceptualization of Modernist Structures and Planning Principles in Post-Socialist Rural Regions.
Emily Bereskin, Christoph Muth
ABSTRACT: Through a case-study analysis of Germany’s Southern Oderbruch, this paper investigates the shifting conditions of modernist planning and architecture in post-socialist rural regions. It considers both the reuse of individual modernist structures as well as the current reconceptualization of modernist planning principles for the area today.
The guiding political principles of the German Democratic Republic gave equal priority to the development and settlement of rural areas as it did to urban and town planning, resulting in intense centralized efforts to construct new, modern rural centers. After 1952, and following the Soviet model, agricultural land and production processes were collectivized into agricultural production collectives—Landwirtschaftliche Produktionsgenossenschaften (LPGs), reconfiguring the customary spatial arrangements of rural life. Rather than the traditional regional settlements which often paired single-family homes, gardens, farm buildings, and fields on one plot, agricultural production and processing were scaled up and consolidated into immense industrial structures. Workers were housed in multi-family apartment buildings, and rural centers were outfitted with cultural, educational, and recreational facilities formerly only found in towns.
Following German Reunification and the dissolution of the LPGs, the area has undergone major social, structural, and spatial changes. Regional agricultural production has been consolidated under fewer, larger corporations; rural centers are shrinking and are facing new challenges such as long-term unemployment and aging populations. Based on policy and site-analysis as well as interviews with local actors, this paper considers the fate and reuse of the LPG structures within this new structural transformation, analyzing the legal and economic frameworks dictating their re-use as well as the actors and strategies shaping these new spaces. The paper first considers representative examples of reuse from the categories of housing, production centers, and cultural buildings. It then turns to consider the reinterpretation of the modernist rural planning principles for the guiding of rural centers in the area today.
Abstract published as:
BERESKIN, E. & MUTH, Ch. 2019. “The Reconceptualization of Modernist Structures and Planning Principles in Post-Socialist Rural Regions” [abstract], in M. Melenhorst, U. Pottgiesser, T. Kellner, F. Jaschke (Eds.). 100 YEARS BAUHAUS. What interest do we take in Modern Movement today?. (Proceeding of the 16th Docomomo Germany and 3rd RMB conference, Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin: 1 March 2019), Berlin, Hochschule OWL (University of Applied Sciences) – DOCOMOMO Deutschland: 29-31.