Symposium: Innovation in Tradition
Institute for Architectural Theory, History and Heritage Preservation, University of Innsbruck
The sentence “The architect designed the great Tyrolean house in one day, …” was not written about the work of the Tyrolean architects and engineers Musch & Lun. The phrase comes from Eric Hobsbawm who mentioned in “The Invention of Tradition”, “The architect designed the great Northumbrian house in one day, while his host was out shooting” – with the postscript, “a nice contribution to the saga of Victorian industry.”
Between approximately 1881 and 1930, the contracting company Musch & Lun dominated the building industry in South Tyrol, both culturally and technologically. Thus, Musch & Lun were not just contractors, but influential entrepreneurs with close connections to international networks, from which they drew valuable stimuli for the realization of sustainable economics and social initiatives for the regional development of South Tyrol at the turn of the century from 1881 to 1914. Musch & Lun was involved with several innovations in the region, for example the regionalization of architecture. They regionalized architecture in different types, some of them they did according to “authentic” models (rural traditions), others by using a revival of the so-called “Überetscher Stil” – a specifically South Tyrolean style development between 1550 and 1650-1680 which was adapted by Musch & Lun according to the concept of the Anglo-American “Picturesque”. Moreover it is remarkable that Musch & Lun not only established regionalized building models (Baukastensysteme) but also combined them with the latest achievements in the field of building technology.
This shows that the regionalization of architecture should be seen in a new way. Not only new technologies should be understood and described as innovations, but also regionalisms. As examples from Musch & Lun demonstrate, regionalisms were invented. Simultaneously Musch & Lun took into account international trends in architecture, combined them with new technical developments and integrated fictitious constructions like the “Tyrolean house” or the “Überetscher Stil”. This approach serves to analyze the complex issue “regionalization of architecture” in a new form as “Innovation in Tradition”.