The Mainz Town Hall as political architecture and uncomfortable monument

At the conference initiated by the International Scientific Committee 20th century (ICOMOS ISC20C) Monument and non-monument: CONCRETE HERITAGE OF THE POST-WAR ERA (9th Forth Museum Kaunas, Lithuania, 11th and 12th June 2021) Sigrid Brandt will speak on the topic: The Mainz Town Hall as political architecture and uncomfortable monument.

About the Conference: Formidable solids of exposed concrete and monotonous, utilitarian shapes of social housing have become one of the most recognizable and universal elements of post-war architectural language. Regardless of the different political systems, geographic conditions or local aesthetic traditions an architectural style of now commonly referred to as “brutalism“ (derived from the French “béton brut” or „raw concrete“) became a dominant expression of our architecture and an inseparable part of many cities around the world. In East European countries large-scale mikro-rayons vividly embody the pragmatic dimension of the socialism project. On the other hand, there was a striking part of Soviet modernism that was demonstratively irrational, focused not on a standardized function, but on a breath-taking emotion. A similar duality appeared in Western societies. Despite specific aesthetic values many of these buildings are seen by some as not fitting into the contemporary context. Even though the rising interest around the architecture of brutalism is growing, these monuments and buildings are too often being demolished, unrecognizably altered or simply left to deteriorate. ICOMOS ISC20C initiates this InnovaConcrete workshop as a field for debate whether these structures – monuments, apartment buildings or other functional types – can and should remain for future generations as a relevant part of our history.

Monument and non-monument: CONCRETE HERITAGE OF THE POST-WAR ERA
Kaunas, Lithuania, 11th and 12th June 2021