Walter Arns was a fairly successful german architect who started his carreer immediately after World War II. His native city Remscheid, an important industrial centre, had been the target of several severe bomb attacks and was devastated by the end of the war. As a young professional, Walter Arns became one of the leading characters in the reconstruction of the city. Between the 50s and the 70s, his firm realized huge housing projects throughout the entire region. After the oil crisis and the subsequent de-industrialization of the region, he was forced to scale down his activities, but he remained active even in his old age, both in architecture and in local politics.
Following his 92th birthday, the municipality of Remscheid decided to honour him by a retrospective in the Remscheid theatre. The project was commissioned to Thomas Arns who presented a concept showing nineteen projects in Remscheid: “Walter Arns - Building For Remscheid”. These milestones from different periods of his professional life were meant as examples how his work had shaped his hometown. In the exhibition, each of the projects was presented by a pair of photographs: the first one was an original take from the time of it´s realization, the second showed a corresponding view of nowadays - thus not only presenting the conceptions themselves and the development of their architectural language, but also demonstrating the sometimes dramatic changes of the buildings and their urban context througout the decades. Since the exhibition had to be minimalized due to lack of space and a moderate budget, the catalogue played a very important role: It presented plans, background information and additional images, most of which hadn´t been publicly accessible before. So the exhibition was mainly meant to evoke the visitors´ interest to study the catalogue for more detail.
The exhibition opened the 20th of March 2016 in the presence of Walter Arns and his wife, and it lasted until July. It was very well received both by the old generation remembering the reconstruction and by young people interested in the city‘s history.