Since antiquity, the spread of regional and later also national architectures has been a process of fundamental importance for cultural history. The global expansion of the 20th century Modernism can certainly be considered as one of its peaks. While more and more architects from Africa, Asia and Latin America came to study in Europe and the political divisions between East and West arose, multifarious transfer processes overlapped and intertwined. In this context, after World War II, architecture became an important signifier of competing concepts of modernisation and new national identities in the henceforth so called ‘‘Third World’’.
Until the end of the Cold War in 1990, architectural achievements played an extremely important part in the self-portrayal of competings ystems. However, as the current research shows, this notion should be extended to include the analysis of the different forms of cooperation between the East and West.
The one-day workshop focuses on diverse patterns of architectural “exports” during the Cold War period. On the one hand, we are interested in the framework of postcolonial and global history, on the other hand, we would like to contextualise the economic aspects of the transfer processes and the concept of “multiple modernities”. Moreover,
we would like to analyse the questions of chronology and local characteristics of the regions, in which cooperations and conflicts between different political systems and building practices took place.
Particular attention will be given to the international presence of the East German architects. We aim to pose questions about the possible room for manoeuvre for the planners from the GDR in creative transfer and fusion processes as well as their entanglement in different transnational networks. Doing so, we hope that a lively exchange of ideas in the course of the workshop will stimulate comparisons between different actors and practices and between numerous strategies of appropriation and adaptation of architecture.