About architecture and its social function during the 5th European Congress of Local Governments

This year’s European Congress of Local Governments, which will take place on 8-9 April in Krakow, as every year, will abound in various panel discussions on a large number of topics in the fields of finance, economy, innovation, society, environment and health. The organisers of the event decided to give a lot of space in the agenda of the meeting to aesthetic aspects of the functioning of cities.

One of the topics that European architects, urban planners and other creators of the artistic image of cities have been invited to discuss has been included in the title of the discussion panel: Modernism and a Plague of Kitsch in the Modern Metropolies. The Contemporary Challenges of Urbanism.

Questions will be answered by the invited guests: Joanna Hołda, Director of the Lublin Institute of Design (Poland), Irena Matković, Employee of the Strategic Planning Bureau of the city of Zagreb (Croatia), Jacek Purchla, Director of the International Cultural Centre and Arne Winkelmann, architect and expert of the city of Frankfurt am Main (Germany). Discussions will be moderated by renowned politician and journalist Juliusz Braun, member of the National Media Council.

The intention of this panel discussion will be to draw attention to the contemporary reception of the architectural legacy of European cities. Heritage is a non-renewable resource and therefore requires increased protection and conscious management. It can serve as a source of jobs, create opportunities for capital investment, as well as be a stimulant for the development of tourism, creative industries and ‘slow life’ movements. At the local level, cultural heritage is essential to maintaining of cohesion amongst the local community through resident’s integration.

The current condition of modernist buildings, condemned to the inevitable process of degradation of building materials, is conditioned by the way they are used. Buildings neglected due to lack of proper care are renovated or modernized when someone appreciates their architectural value. Modernisations and adaptations of 20th-century buildings should respect the ideological principles of modernism relating to the preservation of the building structure and its strictly related function. 2019 is an exceptional year for the international creative community, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Bauhaus school, the most famous art and crafts school established in Weimar, which gave rise to the development of one of the most important modernist movements in European architecture. How do contemporary cities deal with the heritage of modernism?