Daniel Talesnik:
Hannes Meyer’s Materials Matter

Lecture Series Architecture as Living Matter

Hannes Meyer, “Bauen,” in Bauhaus, Zeitschrift für Gestaltung 1928, No. 2, p. 12-13

While the discourse about-and-around materials of some of the Bauhaus teachers was visual, and sometimes grounded in imported ideas from Constructivism like Faktura, architect Hannes Meyer’s approach was more ideological and technical, and his interest focused on structural capacity, heat resistance, and other measurable characteristics. Before he landed in the Bauhaus, Meyer’s 1926 manifesto “The New World,” made a case for modern architecture by listing “new” building materials. In his 1928 Bauhaus-period manifesto “Building,” the list was expanded from 19 to 30 materials: synthetic resin, Eternit, and rolled glass were part of an up-to-date palette of materials from where to mix-and-match. Guided by economic constraints, “modern” for him was about organizing these materials into a coherent whole. Despite the excitement, many materials in the list were not new, which leads to question if Meyer was advocating for the use of new materials, or for their modern deployment. Also, it was unclear if the enumerated materials were chosen for what they could do, or for what they represented. But then again, what did they represent? In 1930, when Meyer moved to the Soviet Union, what was once attempted as a critical stance towards materials became militant. In a lecture in 1931 he justified the scarcity of new buildings of steel and concrete in the Soviet Union by stating that local materials like mud, wood, and stone where perfectly suitable, and that materials in a national economy had to be understood as deficit units. What remains constant is that listing materials was still filling in for an argument. Can we read Meyer’s political shifts by strictly analyzing his changing approach to materials? He had traveled in 1930 to the Soviet Union with a food recipe, but did not find the ingredients. Then again, had he limited himself before to simply picking and arranging materials? Meyer’s approach to materials focused on their use and how they functioned together. This perspective opens a relationist interpretation that could be associated with new materialism. Looking back, we can see that this reinforces Meyer’s new, modern view.

Daniel Talesnik is an architect from the Universidad Católica de Chile (2006) and holds a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture from Columbia University (2016), awarded with the dissertation “The Itinerant Red Bauhaus, or the Third Emigration.” He has taught at the Universidad Católica de Chile, Columbia University, and Illinois Institute of Technology. He currently teaches at the Technische Universität München (TUM), where he is also a curator at the Architekturmuseum der TUM, where he has curated Access for All: São Paulo’s Architectural Infrastructures (2019), and Who’s Next? Homelessness, Architecture, and Cities (2021-22).

06. Juli 2022, 18:00 Uhr

This event will take place online.

To participate online please register in advance via Zoom: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.



Diese Veranstaltung wird durch Fotografien und/oder Videoaufnahmen dokumentiert. Falls es nicht Ihre Zustimmung findet, dass das Kunsthistorische Institut in Florenz Aufnahmen, auf denen Sie erkennbar abgebildet sein könnten, für die Veranstaltungsdokumentation und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (z.B. Social Media) verwendet, bitten wir um eine entsprechende Rückmeldung.


Unser Newsletter informiert Sie kostenlos über Veranstaltungen, Ausschreibungen, Ausstellungen und Neuerscheinungen des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz.

Wenn Sie unseren Newsletter beziehen möchten, tragen Sie bitte Ihren Namen und Ihre E-Mail-Adresse ein:


Hinweise zum Versandverfahren

Der Versand der Newsletter erfolgt mittels MailChimp, bei dem Ihre E-Mail-Adresse und Ihr Name zum Versand der Newsletter gespeichert werden.

Nach Ausfüllen des Formulars erhalten Sie eine sog. Double-Opt-In-E-Mail, in der Sie um Bestätigung der Anmeldung gebeten werden. Sie können dem Empfang der Newsletter jederzeit widersprechen (sog. Opt-Out). Einen Abmeldelink finden Sie in jedem Newsletter oder der Double-Opt-In-E-Mail.

Ausführliche Informationen zum Versandverfahren sowie zu Ihren Widerrufsmöglichkeiten erhalten Sie in unserer Datenschutzhinweis.