“Absolutely Palpable Utopias”: The Expressionist Ideas Behind Bruno Taut’s GEHAG Housing Estates

  • Shannon Pruden

Abstract

The buildings Taut designed in the late 1920s bear few visible similarities to the expressionistic building and city plans he sketched during and immediately following the First World War. As such, Taut’s works are often separated into distinct stylistic periods. This categorization cloaks Taut’s continued commitment to socialist utopian ideals. This paper treats Taut’s expressionist period as a self-conscious attempt to clarify his architectural and socialist convictions. By situating Taut’s successive architectural phases in historical context, this paper will show how the ideas Taut explored during his expressionist phase continued to influence the design of the residential housing complexes he built with GEHAG in the late 1920s by analyzing his Britz Horseshoe Estate.