Alternatives for Living

Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Photo: Volker Döhne © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019


The start of the projects simultaneously marks the reopening of Haus Lange and Haus Esters, both of which have been extensively renovated over the course of the last two years. As a unique ensemble of modernist architecture, the protected historical villas provide the impetus for interdisciplinary thinking and practical designing – approaches already formulated as a social vision by the Bauhaus in the 1920s.

Homes tell us much about the character of a society. When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the last director of the Bauhaus, planned Lange House and Esters House in the late 1920s and furnished them as total works of art together with Lilly Reich, he was already attempting to realise the utopia of modern living. By inviting artists, designers and architects to develop site-specific works for the villas, the
Alternatives for Living projects focuses attention on the community life of tomorrow – visions of the future, conceived on the basis of a critical observation of our present-day reality. Over the course of the coming year, diverse aspects and chapters will be
brought together to form a large-scale staging. Utopian, dystopian and mobile drafts of domestic living will be put up for discussion in three exhibitions. An extensive accompanying programme comprising Augmented Reality, lectures, film evenings, open classrooms, fablabs, performances and much more shed light on the architecture of the newly renovated houses, confronting the  historical domestic culture of the 1920s and 1930s with questions concerning the present-day living situation as well as the possibilities and challenges offered by recent technologies.  

Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Photo: Volker Döhne
Krefeld, Lange House, from west

Kunstmuseen Krefeld
Haus Lange Haus Esters
Wilhelmshofallee 91–97
47800 Krefeld

Tue–Sun 11–17 Uhr
closed on Mondays
closed on December 24, 25, 31





Artists, designers, architects
Banz & Bowinkel, Bless, Franck Bragigand, Dunne & Raby, Didier Faustino, Michal Helfman, Tamara Henderson, Olaf Holzapfel, Christopher Kulendran Thomas, Laura Lima, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Raumlabor, Andreas Schmitten, Slavs and Tatars, Apolonija Šušteršič, Andrea Zittel

Prologue: Mixed Reality

March 17th – April 14th 2019 | Lange House

Employing the means of Augmented Reality, visitors will be able to experience the living situation of the 1930s, demonstrating Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s visionary domestic concept. 

Architecture as a living body

March 17th 2019 – January 26th 2020 | Lange House

The structure, materiality and uses of Lange House and Esters House, which have been served as exhibition venues for contemporary art since 1955 and 1981, respectively, have frequently been altered. These transformations are reflected in two rooms based on such source material as documents, photographs, plans and models. 

Dialogue: Participation and science

March 17th – August 18th 2019 | Esters House

The topic of Alternatives for Living  will be discussed, taught, presented and performed in a crossover of art, design and architecture. The Raum labor artists group structures Esters House with modular furnishings, lending it a new and different domestic quality that makes one want to spend time here.

Exhibition: Act 1 Utopia

May 5th 2019 –  January 26th 2020 | Lange House

The first part of the UTOPIA – DISTOPIA – MOBILITY trilogy begins in May 2019 at Lange House. Artists, designers and architects realise new living concepts for the spaces in the villa designed by Mies van der Rohe and develop visionary notions of cohabitation, free from actual social or material prerequisites.

Exhibition: Act 2 Mobility

July 7th 2019 – January 26th 2020 | Gardens Lange House Esters House

In July 2019, the exhibition format extends out into the outdoor space around the two houses, where new installations have been developed for the  gardens. As a special highlight, the artist Andrea Zittel will transform the former garden house of the Esters family into a café. 

Exhibition: Act 3 Dystopia

September 15th 2018 – January 26th 2020 | Esters House

Beginning in September, utopian designs will be shown in Haus Lange that respond to the dystopian approaches on display in Haus Esters. The result is a dialogue between the two houses that addresses the potentials, dreams and nightmares of cohabitation in the future as seen from various perspectives.

Closing event

Sun, 26.01.2020, Haus Lange Haus Esters

About Mies

Learn more about the life and work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), who served as director of the Bauhaus in Dessau from 1930 to 1933 and is regarded as a towering figure in avant-garde architecture.

Read more
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau. © Peter Jan Pahl