Colonial architecture in the spotlight

Gerine Hoff
On Tuesday (26 March), the Scientific Society in Windhoek hosts a public talk by Michael Falser (Technical University of Munich/Germany) on “From Windhoek and Daressalam to Tsingtau and Samoa: German Colonial Building Cultures in a Global Perspective – A Critical Evaluation of Primary Sources”.
From around 1880 to 1920, the German Empire was one of the most powerful colonial powers in Europe. The colonial territory comprised territories on three continents: in Africa (German Southwest Africa, Cameroon, Togo, German East Africa), East Asia/China (Kiautschou/Tsingtau) and Oceania (German New Guinea, Micronesia to Samoa).
It can be argued that architecture, urban planning and infrastructural projects were back then – and still are today – a powerful, visible and physical, evidence of this period in local societies around the globe.
This presentation discusses the history of the German colonial building cultures on these continents, evaluating the German colonial print sources with explicit references to architecture.
It is based on an exhibition and catalogue project from 2023, with a focus on former Deutsch-Südwestafrika (Namibia), and includes architectural plans, drawings, maps, detailed sketches, photographs, artistic representations and postcards, panoramas and stereo images.
Michael Falser studied architecture and art history in Vienna, Paris and Berlin, and is currently a project leader at the Technical University of Munich with a research project “German Colonial Architecture as a Global Building Project around 1900 and as Transcultural Heritage Today”.
In 2023 he curated the exhibition “German Colonial Building Cultures – A Global Architectural History in 100 Primary Sources” at the Central Institute of Art History in Munich and edited an exhibition catalogue with the same title.
Currently, he is conducting photographic fieldwork in all previous German colonies, including Namibia.
The event starts at 19:00 and entrance is free.