POWER SPACE VIOLENCE. Planning and Building under National Socialism

19 April to 16 July 2023
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin

Exhibition opening on 18 April 2023

The exhibition “POWER SPACE VIOLENCE” looks at planning and building under the National Socialist regime and explores the continuities and ruptures that extend into the present day. The focus of the exhibition is on the period from 1933 to 1945, not only in the German Reich, but also in the German-occupied territories of Eastern Europe, while also showing cross-references to other countries.

The exhibition is based on findings of the multi-year research project titled “Planning and Building under National Socialism. Prerequisites, Institutions, Impacts”, which was supervised by an Independent Commission of Historians.

The commission’s choice of the Akademie der Künste as exhibition venue could not be more steeped in history. As of 1937, this was where the headquarters of the General Building Inspector for the Reich capital of Berlin were located. The scope of the exhibition, however, extends well beyond Albert Speer and his work. Under National Socialism, planning and building permeated all aspects of life and constituted a core area of the Nazi dictatorship. The ideologically charged nature of National Socialist architecture and its racist practices of inclusion and exclusion determined who was allowed to live, who had to die, and how.

The exhibition presents 150 short biographies of architects, engineers, urban planners and building experts of that era. In addition to the continuities in staff that existed beyond 1945, the focus is also on the architectural legacies of the Nazi regime.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an opening symposium, guided tours and educational programmes for children, young people and adults. In addition, the Akademie der Künste has developed a programme of events with discussions, films, concerts and readings that address with artistic and discursive contributions contemporary issues related to “POWER SPACE VIOLENCE”. A film series of documentaries and artists’ films, made between 1961 and 2019, will be shown daily during the exhibition.

A well-illustrated catalogue (320 pages, 420 images) will be available in German and English. The scholarly findings of the 15 research commissions will be published in four volumes by Hirmer Verlag, Munich.

An exhibition by the Independent Commission of Historians (UHK) in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste, Berlin; the overall project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) through the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR).

The Independent Commission of Historians “Planning and Building under National Socialism” is composed of: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz, Prof. Dr. Tilman Harlander, Prof. Elke Pahl-Weber, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Pyta, Prof. Dr. Adelheid von Saldern, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schäche, Prof. Dr. Regina Stephan.

Funded by: