Marco A. M. Gabriel (Milano): Transnational architectural identities. The role of Fachwerk in the valorization of the German-Brazilian Cultures in the Itajai Valley brazil from the 1970s onwards

The talk explores the patrimonialization and touristification of the fachwerk architecture produced by German Immigrants in the Itajai Valley, Santa Catarina, Brazil – and how contrasting perceptions of German-Brazilian transnationalism influenced the resignification of fachwerk from a functional architecture to a highly valorized symbol of Germanness in Brazil from the 1970s onwards. Particular focus will be given to the case of the Pomeranian Immigrants in Pomerode.

The fachwerk technique was widely used for construction in German colonies in the Itajai Valley from the 1850s to the 1950s, characterizing the unique landscapes of cities such as Blumenau and Pomerode. In the rural areas of the Itajaí Valley, the use of the fachwerkproduced a singular vernacular architecture, especially in the headquarters of the rural small family properties and in the various architectural typologies that composed the structure of the German immigrants’ colonies (churches, schools, halls, clubs, commercial houses, among others).

After the decadence of the technique and the outcomes of the Vargas Era Nationalist Campaign (1937-1945), fachwerk became a central element in the valorization of German descendants’ culture, being both institutionalized and commodified – arguably causing profound changes in the relationship of the community with their Neue Heimat and their comprehensions of ethnicity.

Marco Antonio Minozzo Gabriel is a Brazilian architect currently holding a scholarship as a Ph.D. candidate in Preservation of the Architectural Heritage at Politecnico di Milano, Italy. His research focuses on the constitution, patrimonialization, and touristification of the fachwerkarchitecture made by Pomeranian Immigrants in the Itajai Valley, Santa Catarina, Brazil.  Marco holds an M.Sc. in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh (2015-2016), obtained with distinction as a UK Chevening Awards scholar.

Prior experiences include working as the Immigration Region Technical Office Chief for the Brazilian National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (2017-2019); being the Brazilian delegate at the UNESCO’S World Heritage Young Professionals Forum in Bahrain (2018) and at UNESCO Third International Youth Forum on Heritage and Creativity along the Silk Roads (China-2019); and a speaker at the UNESCO International Youth Forum Special Dialogue on Youth’s Response to COVID-19 (2020).

Hochschule Anhalt Dessau (Online, Lecture Series “Dessauer Gespräche”)