Site Design: The Wolf House Revisited

Presenting archaeological sites and ruins to the public means far more than just erecting a ticket booth and putting up some signs to show the way. It is a gentle art that requires a variety of skills. Understanding the place and its cultural significance and developing a narrative are among the basic requirements for any kind of interpretation and presentation. In particular however, making a site accessible – physically, intellectually, emotionally and aesthetically) requires creative skills. Site design, therefore, requires the collaboration of heritage experts and archaeologists on the one hand with architects and landscape designers on the other.

The study project will explore the general topic of Site Design, focussing on finding approaches for one particular place: the site of the Wolf House in Gubin, just across the border in Poland, a train ride of 30 minutes from Cottbus. The Wolf House, built in 1926, was the first modernist villa by the famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: a predecessor of his Tugendhat House in Brno (Slovak Republic). Whilst the Tugendhat House is on the World Heritage List, the Wolf House did not survive the turmoils of World War II. However, an archaeological sondage carried out in 2001 by World Heritage students from BTU showed that the basement of the Wolf House still survives in the soil in a municipal park.

Currently plans are afoot to reconstruct the long-lost Wolf House: a highly problematic approach, potentially endangering the site. By contrast, the study project will aim to find ways to visualise the building and its significance by exploring the potential of the site and its context, and develop creative concepts through the collaboration in small groups of Master students from different backgrounds (archaeology, architecture, tourism and others). Concepts may include partial reconstruction and partial excavation as well as artistic approaches.

Prof. Dr. Leo Schmidt, Weronika Bartkowiak (Lehrstuhl Denkmalpflege)
Prof. Bernd Huckriede, Dipl.-Ing. Barbara Witt (Lehrstuhl Entwerfen, Wohn- und Sozialbauten)