Databáze uměleckých výstav v českých zemích 1820 – 1950

Exhibition of the German Society for Garden Cities


At the beginning of the 20th century, Brno’s Erzherzog-Rainer-Museums für Kunst und Gewerbe gained a significant primacy in the field of modern architecture and urban planning. It became the first stop of the travelling exhibition Die Ausstellung der Deutschen Gartenstadtgesellschaft on the territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It came to Brno thanks to Hans Kampffemeyer, the secretary of the German Society and one the leading promoters of garden cities in Central Europe.

Unfortunately, the exhibition had no catalogue, but the museum’s energetic director, Julius Leisching gave an extensive account of the origins and significance of the garden city phenomenon in the museum’s magazine Mitteilungen des Erzherzog-Rainer-Museums für Kunst und Gewerbe. The text was meant to help readers place the exhibition’s content into the broader context of contemporary housing reforms. Leisching based his article primarily on the ideas of Ebenezer Howard, whose groundbreaking vision of garden cities emerged as a critique of poor housing conditions in industrial centres. 

Leisching was mainly inspired by Gartenstädte in Sicht, the German translation of one of Howard’s books, in which the author formulated his principle of three magnets. The first two magnets represent the two ways of living – city and country – which Howard sees as opposites. However, if we abandon these conventional categories, we can create a third magnet that combines the advantages of these two modes of dwelling while avoiding their respective disadvantages. This is the central concept of the Garden City, a new type of urban ensemble, which is filled with greenery and features a complex infrastructure, with a population capped at 32,000.

The Brno exhibition presented this vision through a variety of media: models, over 300 drawings and designs of mostly completed neighbourhoods and entire garden cities, photographs, and designs of individual buildings.

The artifacts on display represented a wide range of European and American model settlements, and the selection went beyond the examples of garden cities. In addition to model settlements such as Bournville, Port Sunlight, and Earswick in England, visitors could see images of the Merck worker colony near Darmstadt and the Krupp company’s Margaretenhof colony near Essen, the workers’ dwellings in Ulm, Gmindersdorf, and Einswarden, and the villa colonies of Schwachhausen in Bremen and Friedrichshöhe near Constance. Of special note were the models of railway guard houses built by the Bavarian State Railways. The above list of artifacts shows that the “garden city” became an umbrella term for a range of contemporary residential buildings that did not necessarily follow the garden city concept but whose designers belonged to the same generation and, to a varying degree, drew from the modern tendencies in the field of residential architecture in England.

Vendula Hnídková


Ebenezer Howard, Gartenstädte in Sicht, Jena 1907

Julius Leisching, Die Gartestadtbewegung, Mitteilungen des Erzherzog-Rainer-Museums für Kunst und Gewerbe 27, 1909, no. 6, pp. 81–92

Austellung, Mitteilungen des Erzherzog-Rainer-Museums für Kunst und Gewerbe 27, 1909, no. 6, pp. 92–93

Exhibiting authors
Brief notes about the exhibition

Anonym, “Erzherzog Rainer-Museum”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 119, 26. 5., p. 2.

Anonym, “Erzherzog Rainer-Museum”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 124, 2. 6., p. 2

Anonym, “Erzherzog Rainer-Museum”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 132, 12. 6., p. 2

Anonym, “Erzherzog Rainer-Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 126, 4. 6., p. 2

Anonym, “Erzherzog Rainer-Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 156, 13. 7., p. 2

Anonym, “Gartenstadt-Ausstellung”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 144, 26. 6., p. 2

Anonym, “Gartenstadt-Ausstellung”, Brünner Zeitung, 1909, no. 145, 27. 6., p. 4

Anonym, Gartenstadtausstellung, Arbeiter Zeitung 21, 1909, no. 158, 10. 6., p. 7 

Anonym, Wanderausstellung, Gartenstadt. Mitteilungen der deutschen Gartenstadtgesellschaft 3, 1909, no. 4, p. 60

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