The first phase of the modernism as the new architectural current was still strongly linked to the concepts, which first appeared in the period of the secession. However, it had the different sources of inspiration and gave the new formal interpretations, both in town planning and architecture. One of the more important attitude was the idea of the protection of landscape in its natural and cultural values. Among the housing estates constructed in accordance with these principles distinguishing place occupy these ones from Lower Silesian region built in the first years after the first world war, thanks to their designer and coordinator of the majority of the processes of construction – Ernst May.
After the first world war in Germany a hunger for dwellings due to the damage of war and the development of the industry has become an unprecedented dimensions. At the same time, the political situation changed to allow the solution to this problem. Already in 1918, the Landtag introduced the right of nominating the communal cooperatives under the control of the regional centers. The company “Schlesisches Heim” was found in Silesia in July 1919. It started its activities by side “Schlesische Landgesellschaft”, under the same direction of Koepplel and the architectural management of Ernst May. The main purpose of the activities of the company was the construction of cheap, small houses for workers and clerks on the outskirts of towns as suburban and semirural settlements.
A decisive factor in the choice of type of buildings was inherently sociological. It connected smoothly with the principles of respect for the local landscape, both natural and culture. May chose essentially suburban and out of town housing estates. For such foresaw the structure referring to solutions in traditional silesian villages. The simplest systems were kind of expansion of cities or villages in the surrounding agricultural landscape, which over the centuries were building suburbs and founded and expanded the villages (street-villages, chain-villages). The specific solution of it was application on main street enclosures of buildings. The similar character had small squares or broaden of the street highlighted in layout of streets. The urban structure of these housing estates was not modeled on the small towns with market-squares. They had to look like the villages with central pasture, the smallest, probably, should remind local farm.
The secession ideas similar to the conceptions of Unwin, based on the respect for the past and the inspiration of medieval and folk architecture, resulted in the architectural work of May as a kind of regionalism. Discarding the role of examples buildings from the preceding period, closely related with “classic” stiles, and by this “urban” in his image, May directed the attention to the most numerous at the Silesian village classicist homes and sometimes even from late Baroque period. The studies related to the shape of the roof, a design of attics and garrets. These items formed the entire geometry of objects. Also minor architectural form like cornices derived from the similar inspirations.
The process of designing of architecture and town planning of housing estates based on studies of character of local settlements, the local landscape natural and cultural. May derived inspiration in the immediate vicinity of the proposed area, from the rules governing the nature and the local community.
Key words: housing estates, town planning of XXth., modern architecture, Ernst May, regionalism