HIDDEN MIES HOME ON SHOW
An exhibition detailing an almost unknown home by Mies van der Rohe, one of his earliest Modernist schemes, is set to be the focus of a new show this year.
Unearthed fragments of the Wolfhaus - once a bustling family home, before it was destroyed during the Second World War and its aftermath - are set to form part of an exhibition that will travel through Central Europe.
The show will transport archaeological treasures from the house's remains in Gubin, on the Polish-German border, through Germany, before returning to Poland.
The tour - through Berlin and Dresden and ending up in the Polish cities of Wroclaw and Gliwice - will mirror the collaborative nature of an unnoticed archaeological dig that revealed the remains in 2002.
The project uncovered the house's basement still intact and containing fragments of china that the 1925 home's original owner - textile manufacturer Erich Wolf - would have used to eat his breakfast with his daughters Christine and Bärbel (pictured).
The clinker brick building sat over the Neisse River, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The architect developed an open, asymmetric composition of low-lying brick blocks on the west side, while keeping the eastern entrance closed with a small number of windows, a modest entryway, and a clinker-brick facade spanning two to three stories.
Gubin was severely damaged during the final throes of the Second World War. It is thought that on Teichbornstrasse, on the slopes of the Neisse, a German Wehrmacht unit resisted a rapidly approaching Red Army. Caught in the crossfire, the house was completely gutted, but by this time the Wolf family had already fled Gubin, leaving all of their possessions behind.
After the war, Gubin became a divided border town, split between German and Polish administration. In the early post-war years, many dilapidated buildings in Old Town Gubin, as the city became known, were dismantled to recover building materials for the reconstruction of Polish cities. According to eyewitness reports, what remained of the Wolf residence was also taken away. All that is left of the building today is a brick wall and part of the terrace.
Of the present site, Terence Riley of MoMA, New York, writes: 'It has a curious atmosphere. In what one might refer to as the darkest corner of provincial Lusatia, Mies had for the first time experimented with Modern architecture in its full scale.' The mobile exhibition, which will be entitled 'Mies memory box' and will be curated by Rolf Kuhn, former director of the Bauhaus Dessau, will aim to raise funds with which to continue the excavation of the Modern masterpiece. Among the objects displayed will be items found in the house's cellar, including original china, marble, bricks and steel.