1905 - 1986
Selman Selmanagić (b. 1905 in Srebrenica – d. 1986 in Berlin) is the only student from the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia who completed his architecture studies entirely at Bauhaus and graduated there (1929-1932). His diploma has been preserved and bears the signature of famous professor Mies van der Rohe. Selmanagić was enrolled at Bauhaus in Dessau soon after its founder Walter Gropius had left, during the two-year headship of Hannes Meyer (1928-1930). It was the time in which the school was reorganized, with significant changes in the curriculum and various innovations in methodology related to work with students. However, in the introductory classes the influence of Walter Gropius could still be felt in terms of emphasis on research and experimentation. Exercises with Professor Albers at the Introductory Course had a great impact on Selmanagić’s ability of constructive thinking and spatial imagination, whereby the “final result would be learned rather than taught” (Albers).
Introductory Course had a great impact on Selmanagić’s ability of constructive thinking and spatial imagination, whereby the “final result would be learned rather than taught” (Albers)...
The period of Meyer's headship was directed at "exploring the life processes in the future users," which influenced the later work of Selman Selmanagić, as well as his socio-political engagement and convictions.
The focus in Albers’ exercises was on developing the so-called spatial structures, in which the interaction and interrelation between various materials, constructions, functions, and production technologies was to result in an optimum quality of the final product, with the minimum of costs regarding the material, energy, and time. These experiences would prove particularly valuable in Selmanagić’s later work as furniture designer for Deutsche Werkstätten in Dresden-Hellerau. The period of Meyer’s headship was directed at “exploring the life processes in the future users,” which influenced the later work of Selman Selmanagić, as well as his socio-political engagement and convictions.
Meyer’s imperative of designing for the “needs of the people rather than the need of luxury” remained present at the time of Bauhaus’ last head, Mies van der Rohe, primarily through the activity of Professor Hilberseimer. At his seminar in Urban Planning, a student collective was created in which Selmanagić participated as well. Their project of designing a residential district for the workers of Junkers factory (Junkers-Siedlung, 1932) revived, in a way, the spirit of Meyer’s times and created an alternative to the highly aestheticized way of teaching architecture at the seminars of Mies van der Rohe.
In the 1930s, Selmanagić worked in Israel. His unrealized projects from that time include designs of various buildings in Belgrade and Zemun. After World War II, he participated in a team of architects in charge of the post-war restoration of Berlin (Planungskollektiv, 1945-1950) and developed a very successful career as a professor at Kunsthochschule Weißensee (East Berlin), where he taught from 1950 until 1970.