UTOPIE
Halle Neustadt, Germany
Halle-Neustadt was born as a self-suficient solution for satisfying all the needings of the new working class. It was not conceived to be a utopia itself, but it followed some utopic socialism system guidelines. Nevertheless, the system’s deep flaws reflect that utopias may work theoretically. But in a panoramic view, they depend on many circumstances capable of unbalance any delicately designed plan.

The word “UTOPIE” speaks about the intention to guarantee all the commodities to maximize productivity. It reflects the city’s identity, which is currently building a sustainable future, not forgetting its roots.
THE CITY
Halle is a city located in Sajonia-Anhalt state, on the banks of the Saale river. It was part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1949 and 1990.
In 1958, the GDR socialist government developed a plan to increase chemical production in the area. For this purpose, they began the integral project for building Halle-Neustadt, the “chemical workers socialist city.”

The architect Richard Paulick, a son of the Bauhaus where he worked closely with Walter Gropius, was hired to design the project.
SOCIALIST URBAN PLANNING
The Halle-Neustadt urban planning model is a close relative of the utopic socialism by Owen, Fourier, or Cabet, which was later rethought by Le Corbusier and developed by architecture schools, like the Bauhaus.

The city is composed of carefully arranged, enormous prefab concrete beehives (like Block 10, the largest housing complex in Germany). A new town, autonomous, built out of nothing, design to hosting more than 90.000 inhabitants.

Nevertheless, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 led to a dramatic increase in unemployment. Halle became a shrinking city, reducing its population to more than a half in just two decades.
THE SPACE
The space chosen by Freiraum Gallerie is based on the strategy thought by a committee made up of artists, architects, and urban planners from the city. It aims to connect two significant city areas through the intervention on the ramp access to Neustadter Passage. For this purpose, they carry out several surveys to get some insight and different opinions from the Halle Neustadt neighbors. They shared the results with us to develop the concept design. We aimed to make a complete intervention on the area, focusing primarily on the ramp, an essential element of this complex space.
APPROACH
We approach such a complex space by unfolding it, turning it into a more simple, flat, and abstract canvas. Then, we write three times the word “UTOPIE” and place it on the canvas. The word rotates as the canvas unfolds. We propose to apply a geometric transparency effect, which chromatic interactions refer to some of the city’s significant works of public art, such as the murals by Josep Renau or the masonry walls of many of the block’s façades. Once the word is placed on the canvas, we fold it back, creating a composition of typographic elements. The work turns almost abstract, unreadable but acts as a new skin by wrapping the space uniformly, flattening it, and generating new rhythmic patterns resulting from the different typography anatomy parts. The painting slightly changes when walking up and down the ramp giving access to the Neüstadter Passage.
INFORMACIÓN Y CRÉDITOS

  • 610 m2 intervention
  • Plastic paint over cement and water based poli urethane on concrete
  • It is part of the Wall and Space project, commissioned and produced by Freiraum Gallerie, with support from the City of Halle
  • Thanks to all the Freiraum Gallerie crew, especially to Danilo Halle, Philip, Ina
  • Execution team: Irene García, Javier Ballesteros, Jan Lütgert
  • Studio support: Alba Sánchez, Clara González
  • Photos by Boa Mistura, Danilo Halle and Readys