How are bungalows defined? As a flat roof, with lots of glass and a view of the sea of houses or as a simple cottage, as French people tend to think? What about „bangolo“, the Bangladeshi farmhouse? These questions are addressed in the documentary „Bungalow“ broadcast on Sunday, 18th July at 11:15 CEST on Arte.
For the documentary, Filmmaker Stefanie Appel visited Dhaka, Berlin, Mörfelden-Walldorf and Los Angeles - and interviewed Berlin International’s Prof. Dr. Carola Ebert, alongside other renowned experts such as Wita Noack (Director of the Mies van der Rohe House in Berlin), Hiller Goedeking (Chairman of the Richard Neutra Society in Mörfelden-Walldorf) and Said Ul Haque (Architect and Professor at the Bengals Institute for Architecture in Dhaka).
Much of the documentary’s perspective builds on Prof. Ebert’s PhD research on the history and cultural significance of the West-German bungalow, which Stephanie Appel read when preparing for the documentary, and which they discuss in the film. The interview took place in BI’s Hans-Dieter-Klingemann Library.
Learn more about Prof. Ebert’s research here or about her PhD here. For more info on the documentary, please find Arte’s press release below - or have a look at the trailer below!
About the documentary „Bungalow“
"Come over to my bungalow - by the rivers of cash flow“ is the chorus of the Viennese band Bilderbuch’s hit „Bungalow“. Apparently the flat house shape still appeals to younger generations; perhaps some people think of houses like the "Stahl house" in the Hollywood Hills in California, from which one looks out over L.A.’s suburbs. To French or East Germans, however, the word "bungalow" may evoke images of garden or vacation cottages. Historically, the "bangolo," the Bengali house, originated between Calcutta and Dhaka. Here, for centuries, people built single-storey houses with verandas out of bamboo, straw and mud to protect the interior from monsoon rains and the tropical sun.
The British colonial masters anglicized the house type to "bungalow“and brought it to Europe during the 19th century. In the 1920s, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's German pavilion for the 1929 World's Fair in Barcelona was an iconic building with a floating flat roof, a flowing sense of space, and a reflective water surface. This inspired European and American architects since the 1940s, who built several dozen "case study houses" in California.
It was not until they were re-imported to Europe that the term "bungalow" was coined for these building forms. The single-story double atrium house in which the German chancellor lived and received high-ranking guests since the early 1960s was christened the "Chancellor's Bungalow". In Mörfelden-Walldorf near Frankfurt and in Quickborn near Hamburg, bungalow estates were built according to the plans of the American-Austrian architect Richard Neutra. The building form was a rejection of the dumbed-down aesthetics of the 1930s and a deliberate link to the Bauhaus style rejected by the Nazis.
Today, bungalow construction is being rediscovered in its region of origin as a humane and sustainable building form. Saif Ul Haque was awarded for his school buildings and textile factories made of traditional materials.