To the event

Self-sufficiency in food was a central function of the garden cities built in the 1920s and 1930sEstates. The garden was considered an elementary component, regardless of whether the plans followed more traditional world views or - as in Dessau-Törten - a vision of a "new and better world". And so the gardens themselves were far less the focus of the disputes about the New Settlement, as these disputes were comparatively ignited by industrial versus handicraft production and by design guidelines. And even today, the garden side (not only) in Dessau-Törten is somewhat overshadowed. This Talk Walk therefore once follows the question: What have the gardens of the "new and better world" developed in the meanwhile ninety years?


For guidance

Bertram Weisshaar has been designing walks since 1995, for example through brown coal pits, allotment settlements and urban spaces and edges. Since 2001 he has run the Latent studio in Leipzig.TALK WALKs are informative and entertaining "talk shows in locomotion". Along a selected walk route, a conversation develops with usually two invited "talk guests". In this form, the public walk becomes a literal walk of thought along a selected theme. Frequently, questions about building culture, traffic and public space set the tone. The route previously researched by Bertram Weisshaar leads to selected, relevant places, bringing the discussions to the concrete locations, so to speak. This supports the aim of presenting the issues in words that are as easy to understand as possible. Many things are explained by themselves at the specific location, which would otherwise require many sentences. The TALK WALKs - mostly urban walks - lead into little-noticed areas of the city or present familiar places from a multi-layered perspective.

A short round of talks at the end of the walk provides space to summarise what has been seen and heard, to reflect on it and, last but not least, to discuss it critically. The talks and discussions are amplified by means of a mobile system and can thus also be followed by larger groups.


The Dessau Gropius Settlement Törten

The Törten settlement, built from 1926 to 1928 on behalf of the city of Dessau, was created within the framework of the Reichsheimstättengesetz, i.e. the houses were owned by the residents from the beginning. With the "semi-rural" settlement, the Bauhaus wanted to solve problems of low-cost mass housing in a practical way. Gropius designed a terraced housing estate with kitchen gardens of 350 to 400 square metres each for growing vegetables and keeping small animals for self-sufficiency. In a total of three construction phases, 314 terraced houses were built, each with between 57 and 75 square metres of living space, depending on the type of house. The house types were built in different variants in order to obtain information about the rational production of residential buildings, but also about the suitability of new building materials and industrial products in an extensive test programme of the Reichsforschungsgesellschaft für Wirtschaftlichkeit im Bau- und Wohnungswesen (Reich Research Society for Economic Efficiency in Building and Housing), which was started in 1927. The construction site was organised like a clock line so that several houses of a construction phase could be built at the same time by specialised work brigades. The components prefabricated on site, such as so-called rapid beams made of concrete, were transported by a small railway and moved by cranes.

The light-coloured cubes are grouped in mirror images to form semi-detached houses and groups of four to twelve units. The façades were divided by vertical and horizontal window bands; the interior was kept in light colours. For the interior, the Bauhaus workshops offered special furniture, which, however, found no buyers. The construction of the houses resulted from the need for cost-saving building: the load-bearing walls were made of prefabricated, inexpensive hollow slag concrete elements, the ceilings were made of reinforced concrete girders.


Meeting point
From the terminus Kreuzbergstraße (tram line 4 direction Dessau Törten)

Cost: 8,- € p.p.
Duration: 2.5 h
Number of participants: max. 30 persons
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