Dresden - Brest
The image of the city and its (re)construction

The EU-funded project "RES URBANAE – Perspectives on Cities under Reconstruction" is linked to the current building and planning processes in two cities - Brest and Dresden - whose histories have a number of things in common: they were destroyed by the bombing raids of the Second World War and then rebuilt in completely different forms according to the respective possibilities of time for implemen­tation. The project offers an unprece­dented view of urban history, partic­ularly that of reconstruction, against the backdrop of a world charac­terised by both change and the resilience of cities. The exhibition aims to analyse the way in which the destruction of urban space has given rise to subsequent creative approaches – be they of architectural, artistic or urban planning nature – and also to observe the role played by imagery and imagination in the (re)construction of urban identity.
This exhibition uses the comparative history of two cities – Brest (in France) and Dresden (in Germany) – to show how urban visual and conceptual worlds are constructed and reconstructed. Brest is a medium-sized city, in contrast to Dresden, which has half a million inhabitants.

Histor­ically, Brest, a military base facing the sea, and Dresden, the baroque jewel of Saxony, stood in contrast to each other, but in their almost complete destruction during the bombing raids of the Second World War, they shared a common fate. Since then, both cities have faced the same challenge of reconstruction. Their different pasts and their antago­nistic geopolitical situation during the Cold War led to different reconstruction concepts and timescales.

We offer the opportunity to travel through three centuries, comparing the developments of the two cities, with the aim of finding the conver­gences in the dissim­i­larities and the divergences in the similarities. Each city conveys a certain image of itself, defined by the buildings, destructions and reconstructions that have charac­terised the urban area. In this exhibition, realised projects and those that have remained dreams are compared with each other. The concept of utopia is also examined, as it continues to generate exciting ideas and approaches.

Brest and Dresden, two very different cities with strong identities, invite us to reflect on the diversity of European cities, which today face the same political, cultural and environ­mental challenges as well as provide a variety of answers based on their historical and contem­porary charac­ter­istics.
We hope that within these reflections each visitor will find an echo of their own city and the way it finds solutions to the problems that permeate our common European history.
The exhibition will be on display in the atrium of the Verkehrsmuseum Dresden from 16th of December 2023 to 25th of February 2024.

Further information:
  • Admission is free on Fridays (05.01., 12.01., 19.01., 26.01., 02.02., 09.02.2024).
  • This travelling exhibition is complemented by the presentation of student works "RES URBANAE - Views of Cities under Reconstruction: Brest and Dresden" on the history and reconstruction as well as projects for the future of urban districts in Brest at the Zentrum für Baukultur (Kulturpalast) from 15.12.2023 - 20.01.2024.
  • https://res-urbanae.eu

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