repostagem: história oficial

originalmente publicado no dia 29 de março de 2009 em http://stoa.usp.br/gaf/weblog/46308.html

Leaving aside their momentous influence on post-war architecture, the ready acceptance in the United States of Gropius and his colleagues led to distortions in the history of the Modern Movement and even of the Bauhaus itself. Their recognition, together with Gropius’ essay The New Architecture and the Bauhaus (1935), consecrated for the English-speaking world a single, seemingly consistent theory and traditionif not for the whole of modern architecture then at least for its German component. Of this tradition the American exiles, and Gropius above all, became the guardians. It was their Bauhaus, their retrospective outlook upon architectural progress between the wars, that has got into the history books.

But there are alternative views that lead one to question this stewardship. The Bauhaus, it is worth remembering, was primarily an arts-and-crafts school in which during Gropius’ time the architectural strain ran thin. No true architectural course was taught there for the first eight years of its existence, 1919-27; once established, architectural teaching was for three years under the control not of Gropius but of Hannes Meyer, who became director in 1928. When Meyer fell foul of the political establishment and was ousted in 1930, he went to work in the Soviet Union. In this he was far from alone. Not only did colleagues from the Bauhaus accompany Meyer; so too did a corps of architects who had greater experience than did Gropius and his friends of actually applying to housing the principles of the new architecture. For every progressive architect who left Germany for the west in the 1930s, another could be cited who went east. Among major figures besides Meyer were Mart Stam, Ernst May, Hans Schmidt and Bruno Taut.

Unlike that of their counterparts in America, the experience of those who went to Russia was ultimately bitter and disappointing. They worked hard and long, but as Stalinism took hold they trickled back to scattered exiles in Mexico, Switzerland, Tanganyika, Turkey – wherever neither capitalism, nor fascism openly prevailed. Many kept their socialist ideals only to eke out their post-war careers in relative oblivion, denied the attention of history or the blandishments of senior academic life. Yet these men’s careers, if broken by political adversity, represent a strain of architectural ideology rooted in the German Modern Movement of the 1920s and, for a time, strong to the point of dominance in the Bauhaus itself. Fervent believers in the new methods and materials though most of these architects originally were, this was not their most important or enduring characteristic; for in Russia the shrewdest of them learnt, thirty years before their western colleagues, the drewbacks of too much faith in technology and, indeed, in a universal style. By consistently undertaking projects only of a strictly social nature, notably housing, and by discarding artistic individualism in favour of collaborative method, they pointed to a new conception of the architect which turned its back on romanticism as much, if not more, than the new formal vocabulary of style which they and their western colleagues equally professed.

[todos os grifos são meus]

fonte: SAINT, Andrew; "The Battle of the Bauhaus" in The Image of the Architect; New Haven e Londres: Yale University Press, 1985.

Aliás: a história da arquitetura construtivista russa é pouco conhecida e pouco estudada, especialmente entre arquitetos e estudantes brasileiros. Quando muito, fala-se de Guinzburg e do Conjunto Narkomfin. Durante a Guerra Fria havia pouco interesse por aquela arquitetura do lado ocidental – além, é claro, da pequena quantidade de informações disponíveis. Pesava também o culto aos heróis da arquitetura moderna ocidental (de Le Corbusier e Mies van der Rohe a até mesmo o pessoal do SOM…). Já do lado dos soviéticos, havia a conhecida repressão stalinista às práticas dos construtivistas, consideradas parte de uma forma de arte "burguesa e degenerada", além de antirrevolucipária. O realismo soviético era considerado a estética oficial do regime e artistas como Malevitch foram obrigados a abandonar a abstração e partir para a figuração para poder continuar a pintar. No entanto, os ateliês populares sugeridos pelos construtivistas, assim como a crença em uma arte emancipadora e popular, eram efetivamente mais "socialistas" que as práticas que se seguiriam no período stalinista. Desta forma, a maior parte dos estudos acadêmicos sobre o período construtivista não possuem mais do que trinta anos.

O trecho citado nesta postagem tem a ver com as situações descritas no parágrafo anterior: gerações de arquitetos foram ensinados que o legado da Bauhaus se desenvolvou predominantemente nos EUA pelos arquitetos imigrantes, como Gropius e Breuer. De fato, tais arquitetos ajudaram a desenvolver propostas de pré-fabricação da arquitetura, de currículos para o ensino e na formação de novos escritórios, colaborando na criação da paisagem capitalista que conhecemos (seja a dos subúrbios ricos, seja a dos arranha-céus de vidro e aço). Como se sabe, Gropius e Breuer foram para Harvad e Mies para o IIT. No entanto, quase não há estudos sobre o legado das obras de Hannes Meyer, Ernst May, Bruno Taut, entre outros, após a Bauhaus ou no curto período de tempo que permaneceram na URSS.

 

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