GERMANY TOOK LONGER to embrace the changes in decorative arts seen elsewhere in Europe. This was largely because it was still preoccupied with the prevailing Historismus style, where design was centred on an interpretation of historic elements.
However, through the influence of the Belgian designer Henry van de Velde - who worked on a number of high-profile projects in Germany - and the innovative work of gifted German artists such as Richard Riemerschmid, Peter Behrens, and Franz von Stuck, the Art Nouveau style became popular. This style was known in Germany as Jugendstil (Youth Style) - a name associated with the popular review Die Jugend (Youth) - and it subsequently flourished throughout Germany during the last decades of the 19th century and into the 20th.
Jugendstil embraced both Symbolism and a preoccupation with nature and natural shapes. lt was applied to everything from architecture to furniture and simple household objects. Each element had to work as part of a whole in terms of form and design: a concept called Gesamtkunstwerk. The aim was to make the home a unified, total work of art: practical, simple, dignified, and beautiful.
Many of the exponents of Jugendstil were painters who turned to the decorative arts as part of a reaction against the stilling historicism of the fine arts. Munich was home to some of these designers, and came to be the city at the heart of the movement.
Among the furniture designers in the Munich group were Richard Riemerschmid, Bruno Paul, and the architect, Peter Behrens.
Behrens was also one of the founding members of the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk (United Workshops for Applied Art). His furniture combined traditional rectilinear shapes with restrained curves. Richard Riemerschmid, a talented designer, painter, and architect, was also linked to the workshops. His furniture followed Behrens' example but was also influenced by Celtic origins, which played a role in Germany's decorative traditions. His simply shaped furniture used wood in its natural state and colour, with the grain its most distinctive decorative feature. Bruno Paul, another protagonist of Jugendstil, developed comfortable, rectilinear designs called Typenmöbel which he was able to mass produce. They were a forerunner of the industrial furniture production of the 1930s and 40s.
Germany also spawned a hast of artists' guilds, established in an effort to realise the ideals of the British Arts and Crafts movement.
Some of the most celebrated examples of the German "new art" could be found at Darmstadt in the hause that Peter Behrens designed for himself. The interior, furniture, and decoration created a unified whole.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Germany had embraced industrial production and increasingly turned its attention to improving the quality of mass-produced, industrial products. This signalled the death knoll for Art Nouveau, with its ideals of hand-craftsmanship, freedom of artistic creation, and refined decoration.
OF ALL THE COUNTRIES in Europe, Germany was the most committed to Modem design. The reasons for this are many, but can be boiled down to two: firstly, World War I had a particularly destructive impact on Germany, thus kindling a desire amongst the people to move on; secondly, the central ideas of Modemism - most significantly, the union of an and industry - had their origins in the existing cultural heritage of the Deutscher Werkbund (DWB), formed in Munich in 1907.
EARLY INFLUENCES Founding members of the DWB, such as Richard Riemerschmid, Josef Maria Olbrich, and Peter Behrens, aimed to engender discussion between designers and manufacturers. The DWB's members were incredibly active in making their voices heard - they gave lectures, mounted exhibitions as far afield as the United States, and published books and magazines. "The German ideal for the future", wrote Friedrich Naumann, a prominent DWB member, "is to become a highly educated machine people." By 1914, however, a split had occurred between those who saw the future of design as a process of standardization and others who were reluctant to lose the individual, artistic approach to design.
STANDARDIZATION It was the desperate need for economically viable products in the wake of World War I that eventually brought the DWB down on the side of standardization. In 1924, the DWB published "Form without Ornament" and in 1925 re-launched the influential journal Die Form. lt was the ambitious Die Wohnung (The Dwelling) exhibition in Stuttgart in 1929, however, that proved the DWB's high point. The exhibition featured a housing estate which was built by architects and designers including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Man Stam, and J.J.P Oud. lt was the furnishings as much as the architecture that caused shock waves. This was the first time that tubular-steel furniture had been seen by a wider public, and the event that persuaded many manufacturers to work with avant-garde designs.
Despite the international flavor of Die Wohnung - participants came from the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, and France - Germany made a strong showing. In buildings designed by Peter Behrens and Mies van der Rohe the furniture of the Stuttgart-based brothers Heinz and Bodo Rasch could be found. Their cantilevered Spirit of Sitting chair was a talking point of the event, as was the refreshingly plain furniture of Erich Dieckmann and Ferdinand Kramer. In Berlin, another pair of brothers, Wassili and Hans Luckhardt, were also breaking ground with their unadorned style - their ST14 cantilevered, tubular-steel and plywood chair (1931) being, perhaps, their best-known work.
MODERNISM EMBRACED One of the most notable features of modernism in Germany is just how widespread the movement was. Berlin, Stuttgart, and Munich have already been mentioned, while Weimar and Dessau proved important centers of Modernism as well, by being home to the Bauhaus. Hamburg, too, had a thriving Modern community, while in Frankfurt the local authorities embraced Modernism enthusiastically. A slew of housing projects in the Modern style went up in Frankfurt in the years following World War I. In 1926, Ferdinand Kramer designed a range of simple, plywood furniture suitable for the new houses. It was made in workshops set up in disused army barracks. Also in 1926, the Austrian architect Grete SchutteLihotzky developed the Frankfurt Kitchen, which was a scientifically researched standardized unit that could be fitted into kitchens at minimal cost. Revolutionary at the time, the idea later became commonplace.
THE MOVEMENT'S DECLINE Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933 signalled the decline of the Modem era in Germany. Although in favour of the Modemist ideals of efficiency and cleanliness, Hitler was troubled by the non-Germans involved in the movement. A select few German Modemists worked for the Nazi govemment, while schools such as the Bauhaus (accused of "cultural Bolshevism") were closed. Although Germany was the breeding ground for many of the greatest ideas and developments of the Modem era, it was in other countries that the full range of the style was eventually explored.
After an economic depression in the mid-1890s, Germany was booming until the outbreak of the First World War. The country, which was worrisome for competing states, was powering the world market. In the world trade balance, the Reich took a position that aroused the envy of its neighbors.
By 1913, German exports had almost caught up with the British, with exports accounting for 13 to 14 percent of world exports. Internationally, the German Reich was the third largest exporter of capital. It did pioneering work in promising sectors such as the chemical, pharmaceutical and electrical industries. Even in short periods of recession, unemployment was no higher than 3.5 to 4.5 percent. In the mining industry, large-scale cartels merged mining, smelting, engineering and metalworking to form profitable vertically aligned operations. Social conflicts were cushioned by health, accident, old-age and disability insurance. Housing conditions continued to be catastrophic, especially in the working-class districts of Berlin and the industrial regions.
Architects committed to modernity sought to develop industry as a field in their work. Factory production was a power center of the empire. thus architecture should turn to this topic. It was in the professional interest of the architectural profession not to leave this field to the engineers alone. "German art and technology will thus work towards a goal; to the power of the German land which is revealed by the fact that a rich material life is enobled by a spiritually refined form," said Peter Behrens.
For industrial architecture, there were criteria that most architects were able to communicate in the early 20th century. It was undesirable to show the framework of the iron frame on the exterior without integrating it in closed, quiet areas. The aversion of the nineteenth century to the meager, soulless, scaffold of posts and beams continued in the twentieth century. Gottfried Semper had pronounced the verdict on the unorthodox material iron, and many carried on the conversation after him. The metal weave, the "ironworks," was considered aesthetically unsatisfactory because the eye was not yet used to trusting the thin-walled constructions to the load-bearing capacity of walls, massive pillars, and pillars.
The Munich Secession was an association of visual artists who broke away from the mainstream Munich Artists' Association in 1892, to promote and defend their art in the face of what they considered official paternalism and its conservative policies. They acted as a form of cooperative, using their influence to assure their economic survival and obtain commissions. In 1901, the association split again when some dissatisfied members formed the group Phalanx. Another split occurred in 1913, with the founding of the "New Munich Secession".
By the end of the Nineteenth Century, more artists lived in Munich than lived in Vienna and Berlin put together. However, the art community there was dominated by the conservative attitudes of the Munich Artists' Association and its supporters in the government. Another factor was the complete financial failure of an exhibition in 1888 at the Glaspalast, organized by the Artists' Association. This led to a bitter debate about responsibility and the exhibition's content which grew so furious, it attracted the attention of the Ministry of State for Science and Art
To address this situation, a group of artists with a progressive outlook gathered together in 1892, announced their separation from the official Artists' Association and established the Munich Secession, with an eye toward exhibiting at the upcoming World's Columbian Exposition. They called for a transformation in the ideas of what constitutes art and promoted the idea of an artists' freedom to present works directly to the public.
"One should see, in our exhibitions, every form of art, whether old or new, which will redound to the glory of Munich, whose art will be allowed to develop to its full flowering"
In this statement of principles, the artists declared their intentions to move away from outmoded principles and a conservative conception of what art is
The Secession had some difficulty finding a building for their exhibitions until the city of Frankfurt offered to provide the necessary space and 500,000 Gold Marks, if the group would move there permanently.
Land at the corner of Prinzregentenstraße and Pilotystraße was provided by the city and their debut exhibition took place in their new building on July 16, 1893. Over 4,000 visitors came to see 876 works by 297 artists.
In 1933, the National Socialist party began their crusade to bring all forms of artistic expression under their control: a process known as Gleichschaltung (bringing into line). Artists were eventually required to obtain state endorsement for all of their works. Those who were considered "degenerate" were not allowed to paint. In 1938, the Munich Secession was dissolved as part of the "Kulturellen Säuberung" (cultural cleansing) process.
Following the end of World War II in 1946, the Neue Gruppe and the Neue Münchner Künstlergenossenschaft (New Munich Artists' Association) were founded and led to the establishment of the Bundesverband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (Federal Association of Visual Artists).
In 1992, the Secession celebrated its centennial and, in March of the following year, the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the Munich Secession was created to support the Secession's continuing goals, maintain the "Secessionsgalerie" and promote exhibitions.
Between 1899 and 1914, the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt was the site of the legendary Artists’ Colony, founded by the young Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse. Situated close to the city centre, it became a sensational experimental field for artistic innovations in which the open-minded sovereign and a group of young artists realised their vision of a fusion of art and life. Their intention was to revolutionise architecture and interior design in order to create a modern living culture. The whole human life-style was to be reformed to gain in beauty and happiness as well as in simplicity and functionality.
This ideological aspect was particularly important in the euphoric beginning, when the Artists’ Colony still stood under the influence of an elitist aestheticism.
After 1901 the program became gradually more rational and realistic. The change of ideas is visible among other things in the numerous buildings created on the Mathildenhöhe between 1900 and 1914. They were presented to the general public in four comprehensive exhibitions in 1901, 1904, 1908, and 1914. Though the artists had at first exclusively projected the construction of private villas, they later also created apartment houses and workers’ homes as architectural life size models on the Mathildenhöhe, documenting their efforts to face the arising questions of their time’s life and housing.
The ensemble of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony is considered today to be one of the most impressive records of the dawning of modern art. Its appearance today is still marked primarily by the buildings of the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, who notably created the remarkable silhouette of the Mathildenhöhe, as it presents itself to the city, consisting of the Wedding Tower and the Exhibition Building, both completed in 1908.
The Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt is a kind of “open-air museum” where the artwork is present in the buildings, fountains and sculptures. At the same time, in the former studio house and spiritual centre of the artists’ colony, the “Ernst-Ludwig House”, created 1901 by Joseph Maria Olbrich, is today a museum that presents fine and decorative art from the members of the artists’ colony.
The unique integrity of the building complex is today a first-class cultural attraction. Moreover, the Mathildenhöhe is today a lively and contemporary centre of the city’s cultural landscape, supported namely by the Institute Mathildenhöhe.
“It is curious how hard it is to grasp the simple fact that raw material – and thereby also the item made from it – stays the cheapest when it is processed properly and conscientiously. Turning wood into shoddy furniture... is a sin against a natural product. If we use as much material as the earth can grow in a year , these materials will have reasonably normal prices; if we processed less, prices would drop due to abundant supply; if we consume more, prices will of course rise in relation to the increased demand. Not just that this raises the prices of products, but it’s also at the expense of our children and grandchildren. Taking this tack is a sin and a dishonour.”
Beginning in 1902, entrepreneur Karl Schmidt worked closely with architect and painter Richard Riemerschmid . Both held the manual arts dear to heart . Yet both were at the same time aware that machines were the wave of the future . They believed that only mass production held the key to turning good designs into affordable products . Schmidt and Riemerschmid did not perceive this as a threat, but as a great opportunity instead. In their view, handicraft and industry had to be united . So they went on to make the realm of machine work a mainstay of Deutsche Werkstätten . Riemerschmid developed a design world in line with the opportunities machines now offered . This “machine-spirit furniture” was reflected in the mass-produced machine-made products of 1905/06. Thus was born Germany’s first high-volume machine-made furnishings. They were affordable and had a new, contemporary form . Furniture came into retail trade as tier-priced “Dresdner Hausgerät” ( “Dresden household units” ). This programme was later expanded to “Deutsches Hausgerät” (“German household units” ).
By the mid-1920s, economisation and mass production were acknowledged as being inevitable for Germany. This came as no surprise to the Hellerau craftsmen. Building upon the prototype “Dresden household units” and “German household units” furniture programmes, novel and ingenious furniture was developed for Germany. Thus, Adolf Schneck’s “Billige Wohnung” (“Inexpensive Dwelling”), the first furniture series to be produced on an assembly line, became a symbol for consistent standardisation. Starting in 1930, Bruno Paul developed the “Growing Home”, the first complete furniture programme which enabled incremental room furnishing. After 1945, East Germany continued this “programme approach” to single or grouped pieces of furniture which consumers could assemble themselves. A well-known single piece from the mid-1950s was Franz Ehrlich’s “Model 602” chair, no less popular was the MDW group furniture introduced by in 1967 (assembly furniture of Deutsche Werkstätten, Rudolf Horn design collective).
CLV boards and plywood are familiar all around the world. Both of these technological innovations originated in Hellerau and had far-reaching consequences for furniture production. The search for new designs led early on to the search for new techniques, occasioning years of experiments at Deutsche Werkstätten (beginning in about 1899) producing large, smooth furniture modules. Initial results yielded plywood boards and later compressed CLV boards. Both developments lent a substantial boost to the woodworking industry. Karl Schmidt went on to patent hand and machine-applied laminates to solid wood for furniture production in Germany.The material shortage during the Second World War toled “tempered wood”. Inferior laminates were grouted with a thin phenolic resin coating to thin and light boards which retained their shape and were less susceptible to humidity. This allowed entire furniture sections to be shaped into their final form during the production stage. As the material was stronger, the end result was less material demand and lighter furniture.
After the Wall came down, Hellerau also experienced considerable change. Deutsche Werkstätten was privatised, a change which encompassed far more than just the legal corporate form.
The first change was eliminating serial furniture production. This market segment did not hold out promise for the future. Instead, “special production” became the starting point for the company’s new direction. “Special production” had been a separate division within the “VEB Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau”, having amassed years of experience in interior décor on exclusive building projects. As early as the founding years, much stronger yet in the 1930s, Hellerau became more and more involved with fine interior décor and had thus gained a wealth of specialised knowledge. This knowledge had lived on in the “special production” department. Deutsche Werkstätten set out to become the best address for high-quality interior furnishings and for work which met particularly high technical demands. And that we have done: from the seeds of a cabinet maker’s workshop grew a world-class engineering and artisan group accomplishing a broad range of endeavours.
The garden city at Dresden-Hellerau was inspired by the ideas of the English social theorist Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), whose 1898 book Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform (republished in 1902 under the title Garden Cities of Tomorrow, 1902), ranks among the most significant contributions to the field of modern town planning. Distressed by the effects of the Industrial Revolution – overcrowded cities, unhygienic tenement buildings, and the depletion of rural, agricultural districts – Howard envisioned a new kind of community that would combine the best features of city and country. The objective of Howard’s garden city was to raise the standard of living of all workers by providing them with “a healthy, natural, and economic combination of town and country life” on land owned by municipalities.
Howard’s ideas greatly appealed to the master carpenter and entrepreneur Karl Schmidt (1873-1948), who had founded the Dresdner Werkstätten für Handwerkskunst [Dresden Workshops for Arts and Crafts] in 1898. Ten years later, when Schmidt needed to build a new factory-workshop to accommodate his growing workforce, he decided to found Germany’s first garden city at Hellerau. The community, according to Schmidt’s conception, would consist of four components: his factory, a section of row-houses, a section for villas and single-family homes, and an area for communal and social facilities. With financial support from the politician Friedrich Naumann, he purchased a 350-acre plot of land to the north of Dresden and appointed a committee of architects to design the city and oversee building, which began in 1909. Schmidt’s committee included some of the most notable architects of the day: Richard Riemerschmid (1868-1957), Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950), and Hermann Muthesius (1861-1927), among others. Schmidt’s plans were quickly realized: by 1910, the factory was in full operation, and in July of that year, sixty families were residing in Hellerau. By the end of 1913, 383 dwelling-houses with 407 apartments had been built, and the community boasted a population of approximately 1,900 residents.
In many respects, Hellerau represented an amalgam of older German traditions and modern German reform initiatives. The emphasis on nature and healthy living, for example, was in keeping with the “small garden movement” [Kleingartenbewegung] of the Leipzig physician Daniel Gottlob Moritz Schreber (1808-1861). Schreber gardens, as they later came to be known, were communally-run gardens on the outskirts of cities. They were to provide apartment dwellers with the chance to garden and enjoy the outdoors. The Hellerau community, however, could be viewed not only through the lens of tradition but also modernity. The goal of Schmidt’s workshop, for example, was to bring artists and craftsmen together to produce high-quality goods and furniture at affordable prices. He devoted himself to the search for modern forms that suited the nature of the materials from which they were fashioned. In this regard, his enterprise anticipated certain goals of the Bauhaus movement.
The Deutscher Werkbund was founded in 1907 in Darmstadt against the background of the emerging industrialization with the aim of obtaining an excellent position on the world market through the good design of German products.
At the same time, functionality and material legitimacy were central quality criteria that encompassed all design disciplines. The interplay of art, industry and craftsmanship has given forward-looking impulses for building culture and design as well as overarching social processes.
The Deutscher Werkbund emerged out of the artists colony started there by Joseph Olbrich in 1899 at the invitation of Ernest Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse.
Following the First World War, economic circumstances meant that architectural extravagance was no longer realistic.
As a response, the Werkbund commissioned leading architects such as Walter Gropius, Peter Behrens, and Le Corbusier to showcase a new domestic architecture of Modernity. The showcase was produced at the Werkbund Exhibition of 1927 on the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart. Called "Die Wohnung" (The Dwelling), the exhibition allowed patrons to physically experience a new vision of society through architecture based around the ideals of reducing costs, simplifying housekeeping, and improving living conditions.
After World War II the Werkbund was reorganized by members who left the association in 1933 as separate divisions in all federal states. Since then the Werkbund's work and activities are organized in a wide range of topics; design, architecture, town and landscape planning, environment, resources, energy, education and social and demographic changes etc. Today the Deutscher Werkbund has about 1500 members all over Germany.
After more than seven years of service, the management of the Werkbund felt it appropriate to familiarize the public with its progress. They did this in Cologne in the summer of 1914 with an exhibition on 350,000 square meters in newly erected, temporary buildings. The city promised a major tourist event and provided exhibition grounds on the right bank of the Rhine Deutz. The exhibition met with an ambiguous response, in the public eye, but also within the Werkbund itself. It seemed too large, too pluralistic, too inconsistent, too ready for compromise, too snobbish or too vulgar. And too expensive.
For the architectural critics and historians who were attached to a flawless genealogical tree of the modem, only three buildings qualify for such status. The model factory, which Walter Gropius built because Hans Poelzig had canceled, continued the work that had begun with the Fagus plants in Alfeld. But actually, it was a step backwards from Alfeld. The modernist gesture was, as in Alfeld, left to the flanking staircases, glazed cylinders that stood against the closed surfaces of the entrance side. For the rest, the main building, endowed with visual art, displayed an almost Egyptian front, also influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. The fictional production hall behind it only slightly updated its similarity to Alfeld.
The exhibition theater had a three-part stage and an overall amphitheatrical design. Stylistically, the soft-domed structure with its six-tiered roofscape could appear as ‘late” Art Nouveau long after the Art Nouveau style. For the young architect Erich Mendelsohn, Van de Velde's theater, which he knew only from illustrations, meant encouragement. He saw in it "streamlined limbs of dreamed organisms." In addition to the theater, Van de Velde commissioned an organo-orgiastic fountain by Hermann Obrist. This sculptor, who had been plagued by visions, was also an artist who sought to deepen his expression and increase his essence. 167
The third building was Bruno Taut's glass pavillion. Above a fourteen-sided drum rose a double-glazed pineapple-shaped dome made of a network of concrete ribs. Taut dedicated it to the author of the book Glasarchitektur (1914), the quirky poet of humorous utopian novels Paul Scheerbart. For his part, Scheerbart rhymed the two lines, which ran around the cornice as a ribbon.
The Cologne show came to an abrupt end. When the German Reich declared war on Russia on August 1 and France on August 3, it was shut down without further ado. The homeless and then troops were quartered on the exhibition grounds. Several years after 1918, the ruins of the pavilions were visible on the Deutzer site, including the skeleton of Taut's glass house, this fairytale promise of a brighter luck. Not only 1914 had the Werkbund bad luck with the timing of its events. Also in 1932, a large exhibition planned for Cologne entitled The New Time fell victim to the circumstances of the times, this time the Great Depression. Also in 1932, a large, again in Cologne planned exhibition entitled The New Time should fall victim to the circumstances of the time, this time the Great Depression.
The estate was built for the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition of 1927, and included twenty-one buildings comprising sixty dwellings, designed by seventeen European architects, most of them German-speaking. The German architect Mies van der Rohe was in charge of the project on behalf of the city, and it was he who selected the architects, budgeted and coordinated their entries, prepared the site, and oversaw construction. Le Corbusier was awarded the two prime sites, facing the city, and by far the largest budget. The twenty-one buildings vary slightly in form, consisting of terraced and detached houses and apartment buildings, and display a strong consistency of design.
What the buildings have in common are their simplified facades, flat roofs used as terraces, window bands, open plan interiors, and the high level of prefabrication which permitted their erection in just five months. All but two of the entries were white. Bruno Taut had his entry, the smallest, painted in various colors.
Advertised as a prototype of future workers' housing, in fact each of these houses was customized and furnished on a budget far out of a normal worker's reach and with little direct relevance to the technical challenges of standardized mass construction. The exhibition opened to the public on 23 July 1927, a year late, and drew large crowds.
Of the original twenty-one buildings, eleven survive as of 2006. Bombing damage during World War II is responsible for the complete loss of the homes by Gropius, Hilberseimer, Bruno Taut, Poelzig, Max Taut (home 24), and Döcker. Another of Max Taut's homes (23) was demolished in the 1950s, as was Rading's.
The magazine "Die Form: Zeitschrift für gestaltende Arbeit" (The Form: Journal for Creative Work) was published in the years 1925-1934 and edited by Walter Curt Behrendt for the Deutscher Werkbund.
Following are clickable images from a 1927 article detailing the Weissenhof Estate.
As its housing shortage persisted, the city of Stuttgart increased the funds earmarked for public housing construction to 1.5 million Reichsmark. At the annual conference of the Werkbund in Berlin, it was announced that an exhibition would be held in Stuttgart with the theme, “Die Wohnung” or “The Dwelling” and Stuttgart Mayor Karl Lautenschlager gave his approval that 40 out of a total 100 planned apartments or houses would be designed by Werkbund architects.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter C. Behrendt were appointed as consultants, and several architects were short-listed for the exhibition. Mies drew up his first development plan.
During this year the lists of architects who would contribute to the project were the subject of frequent debate, and they were revised several times over. At a certain point, for example, Le Corbusier, being an architect from the Western part of Switzerland was rejected for "national reasons". Once the selected architects had received an invitation, the first building plans were submitted. The 15 architects (excluding Jeanneret and Bourgeois) were each paid 3000 Reichsmark; Döncker as Director received 5000 Reichsmark.
On 1 March, the first sod was turned on the site of the future Weissenhofsiedlung and, on 11 April, the apartments were assigned to different interior architects. Then the colour scheme of the housing development was determined together with the architects and another 145,000 Reichsmark was approved by the city to cover additional costs. On 25 April, Mies van der Rohe commissioned Lilly Reich with the design of the Trade Hall and the hall exhibition on the border of the city gardens.
The Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung" was opened on 23 July. It comprised four elements that complemented each other: -an exhibition hall showing exemplary furnishings and new technical equipment, -an exhibition of plans and models which introduced modern buildings by international architects from America and Europe to the German public -an experimental site adjoining the Weissenhofsiedlung featured semi-finished houses and illustrated new methods of construction -a demonstration of new functions and architectural ideas in "real" buildings, including model furnishings
On the opening day of the exhibition, not all houses were completed, and the remaining houses were finished on 6 September. The exhibition hall closed on 9 October, whereas the other parts of the exhibition were extended until 31 October. Almost 500,000 visitors attended the exhibition.
Taking stock of the exhibition, the department of public works of the municipal council noted on 29 October that even though the exhibition had failed to deliver the "cheap housing" solutions which had been expected at the outset, it had still drawn considerable international attention thanks to its novel concepts. Indeed, "Stuttgart had become a gathering place of visitors from around the world in a way that took everybody by surprise".
In the years after the exhibition, the Weissenhofsiedlung was not only the subject of lively debates and discussion, it also became a target of criticism provoked largely because its cubic forms, flat roofs and unadorned functional objects such as the furnishings, which many critics regarded as rather "cold" and alien.
The Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung" was dissolved on 17 February. The first tenants moved into the apartments of the Weissenhofsiedlung. Few of the new tenants, however, were willing to buy the furniture.
Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor and the dictatorship of the National Socialists began. Now, the Weissenhofsiedlung was subjected to a barrage of criticism, and was even called a "blot on the cityscape of Stuttgart". The activities of the Werkbund were regarded as synonymous with the "decline of German craftsmanship and henceforth the Werkbund had to comply with the ideology of an emerging Nazi Germany. The streets "Friedrich-Ebert-Straße" and "Rathenaustraße" at the Weissenhofsiedlung were renamed "Freiherr-vom-Steinstraße" and "Scharnhorststraße".
On March 1938, the supreme command of the armed forces in Berlin signaled its approval for the construction of a new building complex for the general command V. The buildings were to be erected on the site of the Weissenhofsiedlung and the Siedlung itself was to be demolished. The date on which the demolition work would start was 1 April 1939; all tenants were given notice to vacate their apartments by this date. Several architects were invited to participate in the competition, among them Bonatz, Schmitthenner and Adolf G. Schneck who had also contributed to the Weissenhofsiedlung.
World War II began. All occupants of the Weissenhofsiedlung had to move out, the plots and premises subsequently became the property of the German Reich. At the time of the Reich garden exhibition in Stuttgart some of the houses were used as offices, others housed soldiers of an anti-aircraft unit, and Mies van der Rohe's apartment block was converted into a hospital for children suffering from scarlet fever and diphtheria. The war put a halt to the demolition plans of the Weissenhofsiedlung, and the buildings for general command V were relocated to Strasbourg.
During the air-strikes, many buildings of the Siedlung were destroyed. Of the houses of Walter Gropius, only some crooked steel struts were left. The houses built by Ludwig Hilberseimer, Bruno and Max Taut, Hans Poelzig, Richard Döcker and Adolf Radling were either partly damaged or destroyed.
When the war ended in 1945, the streets that had previously been renamed were given their original names again. The Siedlung now passed into the ownership of the Federal Republic of Germany. The extent of the devastation of all major German cities, including Stuttgart, was horrible. At a time when reconstruction was the most urgent task of the day, the department of public works naturally took little interest in the preservation of the Weissenhofsiedlung as an important international monument of modern architecture: The gaps left behind by the ravages of war were filled up with conventional multi-family homes, whereas buildings that had survived the war were converted; in the ensuing years, the building stock of the Siedlung fell more and more into disrepair.
At the request of Bodo Rasch, who with his brother, Heinz Rasch, had each furnished an apartment in Mies van der Rohe's house, the buildings which had outlived the war more or less unscathed were listed as historic monuments.
On the occasion of the "Bauhaus exhibition" in Stuttgart, the original buildings of the Weissenhofsiedlung received a fresh coat of paint and were fitted with information boards.
Acting on an initiative by Bodo Rasch, Mia Seeger, Frei Otto and others, an association called "Freunde der Weissenhofsiedlung e.V." (Friends of the Weissenhofsiedlung) was founded on the 50th anniversary of the opening ceremony of the Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung". It is this association which has been looking after the preservation and restoration of the Siedlung ever since.
From 1981 to 1987, the state office of public works modernised and reconstructed the eleven original buildings of the Weissenhofsiedlung in three successive stages.
Following the 60th anniversary of the Weissenhofsiedlung, an exhibition showing the completed restoration work of the Weissenhof buildings was organised at the Fine Arts Academy in Stuttgart. A book with the title "Die Weissenhofsiedlung" was published containing important information on the buildings; it was the fruit of years of research by the author Professor Karin Kirsch, who had collated a wealth of material.
The City of Stuttgart purchased the property at Bruckmannweg 10. It had been vacant since the destruction of the Richard Döcker house in 1944. A project group established in 1999 began with preparations for the 75th anniversary in 2002.
Weissenhofsiedlung celebrated its 75th anniversary. The City of Stuttgart decided to purchase the Le Corbusier two-family house in Rathenaustrasse 1 and 3, where it established an Information and Documentation Center on Weissenhofsiedlung. This building had been lived in until very recently, and its renovation according to historic monument standards is financed by the Wüstenrot Stiftung which, in the past, had restored some other renowned buildings of modern architecture, such as the Schminke House by Hans Scharoun and the so-called “Einstein Tower” by Erich Mendelsohn in Potsdam.
The Federal Government wanted to sell some portion of its buildings in Weissenhofsiedlung. Following protests by the City and the public, the action was halted. The City is promoting a Weissenhofsiedlung Foundation whereby both City and Federal Government would jointly submit their properties. Initial negotiations have begun. An international working group is formed to prepare a transnational nomination to inscribe the entire work of Le Corbusier, including both of his houses in Weissenhofsiedlung, into the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Opening of Le Corbusier House as a museum and information center.
The aim of the association is the "refinement of commercial work", an increase in the quality of the German art industry is aimed at improving the competitive conditions of "German quality work" on the world market. At the same time, the Werkbund stands in the midst of the reform movements at the beginning of the 20th century.
In the years leading up to the First World War, Peter Behrens, among other things, designed the AEG building, an anticipation of today's corporate design concepts. Walter Gropius built the Fagus factory in Alfeld. Richard Riemerschmid and Bruno Paul are providing important impulses for industrially manufactured modular furniture, while industrial architecture is being reformed by Hans Poelzig's Water Tower in Posen.
Participation in the World Exhibition in Brussels, with the theme "Germany's Spatial Art and Applied Arts"
Werkbund exhibition in Cologne, including theater by Henry van de Velde, sample factory of Walter Gropius and glasshouse of Bruno Taut. During this exhibition, there will be a fundamental discussion between Henry van de Velde and Hermann Muthesius on standardization. Henry van de Velde represents the position of individual shaping, while Muthesius advocates far-reaching typing for quality enhancement.
Werkbund exhibitions abroad - in Basel, Winterthur, Bern and Copenhagen.
Founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar.
First edition of the Werkbund magazine "Die Form", which presents in detail the "new building", the "new typography" and experiments in design and photography and appears monthly from 1925 to 1934.
Exhibition "The form without ornament". The first volume of the series "Books of Form" will be published with the same title. Later, further volumes follow, including the titles "Transformations of Form in the XXth Century" (1926), "Light and Illumination" (1928).
International Werkbund Exhibition in Stuttgart - Settlement "Am Weissenhof" and exhibition "Die Wohnung".
- Second Werkbund exhibition in Cologne.
- "Apartment and Workroom", Exhibition and Settlement in Wroclaw
- "Film and Photo" Exhibition in Stuttgart. With this probably most important show of the avant-garde photography of the twenties, which presents an international cross-section from the USSR (El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodtschenko) to the USA (Edward Weston), the visual media gets more in focus of the Werkbund.
- Under the artistic direction of Lilly Reich, the DWB participates in the World's Fair in Barcelona.
On behalf of the German government, the German Werkbund designs the German contribution at the "L Exposition d'art decoratif" in Paris.
- International Werkbund Exhibition in Vienna.
- Cancellation of the planned exhibition "Die neue Zeit" in Cologne.
Phasing out of the "German Werkbund" against the votes of Martin Wagner, Wilhelm Wagenfeld and Walter Gropius.
Communication from the National Socialists to the members of the German Werkbund, announcing the appropriation of the Werkbund by the Reich Culture Coucil. Werkbund members such as Walter Gropius or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe emigrate, others work in the fascist "German Labor Front" or at the "Kunstdienst", one of the forerunners of the "German Commodities".
Destruction of the Werkbund archive in Berlin by bombs.
First Werkbund meeting held in Rheydt / Niederrhein after the War. The new association is federally organized, the individual regional associations work locally and independently of the federal office, which primarily represents the goals and tasks of the Werkbund in general through publications, exhibitions, word events, statements etc. in public.
- The temporary managing director of the German Werkbund Theodor Heuss becomes the first Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Werkbund exhibition "new living and German architecture since 1945" in Cologne
Theodor Fischer was born the sixth child of Ferdinand and Friederike Fischer in Schweinfurt. After the early death of his father in 1869, wholesaler of indigo, color wood and wool, Theodor Fischer attended the humanistic grammar school in Schweinfurt.
From 1880 to 1885 he studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich. After completing his studies, Fischer first worked in the office of the Reichstag from 1886 to 1889 under the direction of Paul Wallot in Berlin.
In 1901 he followed the call to the Technical University of Stuttgart and was there until 1908 as professor of building design including city plant.
Fischer's most successful and intensive creative period began as an architect when he was appointed to Stuttgart. At the same time, he attracted the young generation with his new teaching method, which was characterized by science and urban planning, and his openness to the ideas of his pupils. Fischer was, as the architect Fritz Schumacher put it, "the educator of a whole generation of architects, who subsequently shaped the image of the cities until after the Second World War, both as traditionalists and as progressives."
In 1908, Fischer returned to the Technical University of Munich as a professor of architecture. In 1917, he published the ideas of an urgent study reform in 1917 in his "Manifesto for German Architecture", in which he vehemently advocated a new apprenticeship in architecture in which after two years of university, three years of apprenticeship were to follow under the guidance of a master. Bruno Taut incorporated these ideas in his "Architecture Program", and it became the basis for the Bauhaus Manifesto.
Born at Tettenweis near Passau, Stuck displayed an affinity for drawing and caricature from an early age. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.
He first became well known by cartoons for Fliegende Blätter, and vignette designs for programmes and book decoration. In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise.
In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during 1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich Academy.
In 1897 Stuck married an American widow, Mary Lindpainter, and began work designing his own residence and studio, the Villa Stuck. His designs for the villa included everything from layout to interior decorations; for his furniture Stuck received another gold medal at the 1900 Paris World Exposition.
Having attained much fame by this time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles became unfashionable. Notable students of his over the years include Paul Klee, Hans Purrmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Alf Bayrle and Josef Albers.
Franz von Stuck died on August 30, 1928 in Munich; his funeral address memorialized him as "the last prince of art of Munich's great days". He is buried in the Munich Waldfriedhof next to his wife Mary.
Hermann Muthesius Hermann Muthesius was born in 1861 in Großneuhausen in Thuringia. In 1881 he first began studying art history and philosophy in Berlin, after which he moved to the Technical University and studied architecture until 1887. Incidentally, Muthesius works with Paul Wallot, the builder of the Reichstag. After completing his studies, he worked for almost four years at the architectural firm Ende & Böckmann in Tokyo. From 1896 to 1903 he worked as a technical attaché for architecture at the German Embassy in London. From 1904 Muthesius worked as a privy councilor in the Prussian Ministry of Commerce and as an independent architect. In 1907 he is one of the co-founders of the German Werkbund, whose second chairman he remains until 1916. Muthesius died in 1927 in an accident.
During his time in London, Hermann Muthesius engages intensively with the Arts and Crafts Movement and writes numerous writings on English architecture, the most famous being The English House of 1904. His focus is primarily on the English country house, which combines exemplary expediency and naturalness for him. After his return to Germany Muthesius builds up to his death over a hundred houses, mostly country houses or suburban residential buildings, many of them in the vicinity of Berlin. Of particular note are his buildings for the silk weaving mill Michels & Cie in Novawes near Potsdam (1912) and the radio station Nauen (1916-20).
After having published the demand for cooperation between "Industrie und Kunstlertum" (Applied Arts and Architecture, p. 136) as early as 1906, after the Dresden Arts and Crafts Exhibition, in 1907 he co-founded the Deutscher Werkbund. For him, the purpose of the Werkbund is to improve the quality and shape of mass products, to raise the demands of consumers and ultimately to train a national culture as well.
In 1914, at the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne, the so-called typing debate takes place, when Muthesius announces his programmatic guiding theses. His theses begin as follows: "Architecture and with it the entire Werkbundschaffensgebiet urges for typification (...). Only with the typification (...) can find a generally accepted, safer taste input." (The Werkbundarbeit der Zukunft, p. 32) These theses provoke fierce opposition from Henry van de Velde and other members who oppose these demands with their concept of artistic freedom and individualism. After the First World War Muthesius builds a number of predominantly classicistic houses, but is gradually becoming an outsider in the face of new developments in architecture. Since the seventies, after an exhibition organized by Julius Posener and the translation of his main work into English, his interest in him has increased again.
German architect and designer, whose factories were among the first to be treated as architecture. A prolific self-taught architect, he was also an influential teacher.
Born in Hamburg, Behrens studied art in Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf, and Munich before establishing himself as a successful painter. However, by about 1890 he was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of William Morris and over the next ten years designed a variety of different objects as well as typefaces.
In 1900 his success came to the notice of the Grand Duke of Hesse, who invited him to join the artists' colony at Darmstadt, of which he was patron. There Behrens designed his first house (for himself), which led him into architecture. By 1907 he had been appointed architect to AEG, and for them he built the turbine factory in Berlin (1909), which had an architectural form of its own unrelated to its functional purpose of housing machinery.
During the next ten years Behrens's style developed in the direction of neoclassicism, influenced to some extent by the expressionist trend in Europe. The German embassy in St Petersburg (1911) and the I. G. Farben office in Höchst (1920) are examples of this trend.
As a teacher, Behrens had a considerable influence on Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, all of whom worked in his office at AEG. Behrens also ran a masterclass for postgraduate architects at the Vienna Academy (1922–36). During the Nazi regime Behrens was on the staff of the Berlin Academy – a measure of the extent to which he was prepared to compromise.
Bonatz was born in Solgne, Alsace-Lorraine, then German Empire. In 1900, he finished his studies of architecture at the Technical University of Munich. He trained under Theodor Fischer, but unlike Fischer, did not join the Nazi party, and had actually briefly belonged to the SPD. After building several major buildings during the Weimar Republic, notably the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (main station, 1913–1927), after the Nazis came to power he became architectural expert and advisor to Fritz Todt, the general inspector for German road building, and in this position built major bridges for the new Reichsautobahn system and with Hermann Giesler worked on the design for a planned new main station for Munich.
The government tried to make good use of Bonatz's talents and name, but found him politically unreliable. He disliked Paul Troost's renovation of the Königsplatz in Munich and said so, a political mistake. In February 1935 he gave a speech inveighing against architecture which made "the act of representing an end in itself" rather than form coinciding with function in which he called Albert Speer's New Reich Chancellery "patently inadequate". Because of his vocal opinions, Bonatz was investigated twice by the police, who accused him of aiding Jews and being openly critical of Hitler.
Although he won the competition to execute the gigantic glass dome for the new main station in Munich, he soon became disenchanted with Hitler's requiring the dome and critical of the entire design. This led him to leave Germany for Turkey in 1943. He was a faculty member at the Istanbul Technical University from 1946 to 1954 and oversaw renovation of the university's Taşkışla campus. While in Turkey he built many projects in Ankara, including a residential area with over 400 units and the reconfiguration of the Ankara Exhibition Hall into the Ankara Opera House, before returning to Germany in 1954 to participate in the reconstruction of Stuttgart and Düsseldorf. He was a professor at the University of Stuttgart from 1954 until his death in 1956.
Richard Riemerschmid was a German architect, painter, designer and city planner from Munich. He was a major figure in Jugendstil, the German form of Art Nouveau, and a founder of architecture in the style. A founder member of both the Vereinigte Werkstätte für Kunst im Handwerk (United Workshops for Art in Handcrafts) and the Deutscher Werkbund and the director of art and design institutions in Munich and Cologne, he prized craftsmanship but also pioneered machine production of artistically designed objects.
At the United Workshops in Hellerau, Riemerschmid developed a programme of machine production of art furniture. For example, a chair in his "music room" exhibit at the German Art Exhibition in Dresden in 1899 was so popular, the Workshops immediately placed it in production, it was also being manufactured and sold by Liberty's the next year, and it was widely copied.
Riemerschmid paved the way for the modern artistic handcrafts movement. Influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement, he created furniture, carpets, fabric and wallpaper designs and glass and porcelain pieces. In all of these his guiding principles were "objective clarity and purpose, solid craftsmanship and the use of simple, inexpensive materials"
After the Nazi regime came to power in 1933, Riemerschmid was forced out of the Werkbund, and in 1943 Hitler forbade the award of the Goethe Medal for Art and Science to him as urged by Albert Speer. However, he did receive the medal on 20 July that year
The difference between Taut and his Modernist contemporaries was never more obvious than at the 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung housing exhibition in Stuttgart. In contrast to the pure-white entries from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, Taut's house (Number 14) was painted in primary colors. Le Corbusier is reported to have exclaimed, "My God, Taut is colour-blind!"
In 1924 Taut was made chief architect of GEHAG, a Berlin public housing cooperative, and was the main designer of several successful large residential developments ("Gross-Siedlungen") in Berlin, notably the 1925 Hufeisensiedlung ("Horseshoe Estate"), named for its configuration around a pond, and the 1926 Onkel Toms Hütte Development ("Uncle Tom's Cabin") in Zehlendorf, named for a local restaurant and set in a thick grove of trees. Both of these constructions became prominent examples of the use of colorful details in architecture.
Taut worked for the city architect of Berlin, Martin Wagner, on some of Berlin's Modernist Housing Estates, now recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The designs featured controversial modern flat roofs; access to sunlight, air and gardens; and generous amenities like gas, electric light, and bathrooms. Political conservatives complained that these developments were too opulent for 'simple people'. The progressive Berlin mayor, Gustav Böss, defended them: "We want to bring the lower levels of society higher."
Between 1924 and 1931, Taut's team completed more than 12,000 dwellings. In tribute to Taut, GEHAG incorporated an abstracted graphic of the Horseshoe Estate in its logo. This state housing association was sold by the Senate of Berlin in 1998; its legal successor is Deutsche Wohnen.
Van de Velde was born in Antwerp, where he studied painting under Charles Verlat at the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. He then went on to study at Carolus-Duran in Paris. As a young painter he was thoroughly influenced by Paul Signac and Georges Seurat and soon adopted a neoimpressionist style (pointillism). In 1889 he became a member of the Brusselsbased artist group "Les XX". After Vincent van Gogh exhibited some work on the yearly exhibition of Les XX, van de Velde became one of the first artists to be influenced by the Dutch painter. During this period he developed a lasting friendship with the painter Théo van Rysselberghe and the sculptor Constantin Meunier.
In 1892 he abandoned painting, devoting his time to arts of decoration and interior design (silver and goldsmith’s trade, chinaware and cutlery, fashion design, carpet and fabric design). His own house, Bloemenwerf in Ukkel, was his first attempt at architecture, and was inspired by the British and American Arts and Crafts Movement. He also designed interiors and furniture for the influential art gallery "L'Art Nouveau" of Samuel Bing in Paris in 1895. This gave the movement its first designation as Art Nouveau. Bing’s pavilion at the 1900 Paris world fair also exhibited work by Van de Velde. Van de Velde was strongly influenced by John Ruskin and William Morris’s English Arts and Crafts movement and he was one of the first architects or furniture designers to apply curved lines in an abstract style. Van de Velde set his face against copying historical styles, resolutely opting for original (i.e. new) design, banning banality and ugliness from peoples minds.
Van de Velde's design work received good exposure in Germany, through periodicals like Innen-Dekoration, and subsequently he received commissions for interior designs in Berlin. Around the turn of the century, he designed Villa Leuring in the Netherlands, and Villa Esche in Chemnitz, two works that show his Art Nouveau style in architecture. He also designed the interior of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen (today the building houses the Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum) and the Nietzsche House in Weimar.
In 1899 he settled in Weimar, Germany, where in 1905 he established the Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts, together with the Grand Duke of Weimar. It is the predecessor of the Bauhaus, which, following World War I, eventually replaced the School of Arts and Crafts, under new director Walter Gropius, who was suggested for the position by Van de Velde.
Although a Belgian, Van de Velde would play an important role in the Deutscher Werkbund, an association founded to help improve and promote German design by establishing close relations between industry and designers. He would oppose Hermann Muthesius at the Werkbund meeting of 1914 and their debate would mark the history of Modern Architecture. Van de Velde called for the upholding of the individuality of artists while Muthesius called for standardization as a key to development.
During World War I, Van de Velde, as a foreign national, was obliged to leave Weimar (although on good terms with the Weimar government), and returned to his native Belgium. Later, he lived in Switzerland and in the Netherlands where he designed the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. In 1925 he was appointed professor at the Ghent University Institute of Art History and Archaeology, where he lectured architecture and applied arts from 1926 to 1936. He was instrumental in founding in Brussels, in 1926, today's renowned architecture and visual arts school, la Cambre, under the name of "Institut supérieur des Arts décoratifs."
He continued his practice in architecture and design, which had demarcated itself significantly from the Art Nouveau phase, whose popularity was by 1910 in decline. During this period, he mentored the great Belgian architect, Victor Bourgeois. In 1933 he was commissioned to design the new building for the university library (the renowned Boekentoren). Construction started in 1936, but the work would not be completed until the end of the Second World War. For budget reasons, the eventual construction did not entirely match the original design. For instance, the reading room floor was executed in marble instead of the black rubber Van de Velde originally intended. He was also involved in the construction of the Ghent University Hospital.
He died, aged 94, in Zürich.
In 1903 Hans Poelzig became a teacher and director at the Breslau Academy of Art and Design (Kunst- und Gewerbeschule Breslau; today Wrocław, Poland). From 1920-1935 he taught at the Technical University of Berlin (Technische Hochschule Berlin) and was later Director of the Architecture Department of the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin.
With his Weimar architect contemporaries like Bruno Taut and Ernst May, Poelzig's work developed through Expressionism and the New Objectivity in the mid-1920s before arriving at a more conventional, economical style.
Poelzig renovated the Zirkus Schumann, an amphitheatre, to create the Großes Schauspielhaus. Its combination of a normal stage with a revolving stage and a cyclorama was innovative for its time. The stage was connected through an adjustable forestage with an arena surrounded by a horseshoe of seating.
One extant building that is characteristic of his style is the Haus des Rundfunks (1930) in Masurenallee, Berlin. In 1927, he was one of the fifteen architects who contributed to the influential modernist Weissenhof Estate exhibition. His design (1928/29) for the convention centre opposite was never realised.
The rationalism of his planning is evident in the large administration building complex of the IG Farben company in Frankfurt (1929/30).
Accused of "cultural Bolshevism" by the National Socialists in his proposed design for the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, he saw no professional future for himself in Germany. He died on 14 June 1936 shortly before his planned emigration to Turkey.
In 1898, Paul, together with Behrens, Pankok, and Riemerschmid, was working as an applied artist. He was a leading figure in the development of the Jugendstil, and quickly established himself as the premier designer for the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk, a maker of artistic housewares in Munich.
In 1906, Paul designed a festival decoration for a barracks in Munich, his first commission on an architectural scale. His design (perhaps apocryphally) impressed Kaiser Wilhelm II and facilitated his appointment to the vacant directorship of the Unterrichtsanstalt des königlichen Kunstgewerbe-Museums (educational institution of the royal museum of applied arts) in Berlin
Paul’s appointment in Berlin was part of a wider program of educational reforms promoted by Hermann Muthesius and Wilhelm von Bode. Paul, who was a member of the Munich Secession and the Berlin Secession as well as being one of the twelve artists who founded the German Werkbund, proved a committed reformer. He revised the curriculum of the Unterrichtsanstalt to promote practical craftsmanship as the basis of artistic education. He emphasized the training of professional designers for the applied arts industries, establishing a precedent that continues in schools of design to the present day.
As a designer, Bruno Paul provided more than 2,000 furniture patterns to the Vereinigte Werkstätten. He also designed furniture for Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau as well as designing ship interiors for the Norddeutscher Lloyd, Pianos for Ibach, and streetcars for the city of Berlin. Paul’s most historically significant furniture design was the Typenmöbel of 1908, the first example of modern, unit furniture conceived to allow an unlimited number of combinations of standardized, machine-made elements. Like much of his work, the Typenmöbel was widely published in contemporary professional journals.
Paul’s architecture was closely related to his designs for furnishings and interiors. Prior to the First World War he was best known as a residential architect. His houses were simple and elegant, efficiently planned and devoid of superfluous ornament. His favored vocabulary, an abstracted classicism, had a profound influence on the work of his students and apprentices. In 1914, Paul designed a model house and two restaurants for the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. His buildings reflected the prevailing tone of the exhibition, and underscored the extent to which his pre-war work reflected the harmonious culture advocated by the Werkbund.
After 1918, Paul’s architecture reflected the changing economic and social conditions of the Weimar Republic. In 1924, he designed the Plattenhaus Typ 1018 for the Deutsche Werkstätten, a prefabricated concrete dwelling developed in response to the pressing need for affordable housing. Although the stark, prismatic volumes of the Plattenhaus reflected the vocabulary of the neue Sachlichkeit, the elegant detailing was typical of Paul’s pre-war designs. By the end of the decade, he was completing large, commercial projects throughout Germany. In 1928, he was working on a department store for the Sinn company in Gelsenkirchen, the Dischhaus office building in Cologne, and the Hochhaus am Kleistpark, the first skyscraper in Berlin. The Sinn department store, with its cantilevered reinforced concrete frame and entirely glass curtain walls, exemplified the technical sophistication of these buildings, which demonstrated Paul’s mastery of the emerging International Style.
Paul implemented the full scope of his program of reforms in 1924, when the Unterrichtsanstalt was merged with the art school of the Prussian Academy. The new institution, the Vereinigte Staatsschulen für freie und angewandete Kunst (United State School for Fine and Applied Art), provided a coherent educational program that encompassed every technical and creative aspect of artistic endeavor. As its first director, Paul led an institution regarded by Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the two most important in Germany. In the scope of its curriculum and its number of students, Paul’s school in Berlin far surpassed the other, the Bauhaus. Paul’s students, either in his nominally private architectural practice or in his academic atelier, included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Adolf Meyer, Paul Thiersh, Kem Weber, and Sergius Ruegenberg.
Paul's career was effectively terminated in 1933, when the Nazi accession resulted in his forced resignation from the Vereinigte Staatsschulen, his expulsion from the Prussian Academy, and his renunciation of the prospect of significant architectural commissions.
As a teacher, designer and architect, Bruno Paul was one of the progenitors of the Modern Movement. His work embodied one of the most significant, and frequently overlooked, directions in the history of progressive design in Europe, that of a pragmatic Modernism attuned to the needs and desires of the middle class. Paul’s mature designs embodied simplicity and clarity of form, stylistic abstraction and functional elegance. By promoting these ideals through his involvement with the Werkbund, his leadership of the Vereinigte Staatsschulen in Berlin, and his prolific work as a designer, Bruno Paul facilitated the popular acceptance of Modernism as the characteristic style of the Twentieth Century.
Accused of "cultural Bolshevism" by the National Socialists in his proposed design for the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, he saw no professional future for himself in Germany. He died on 14 June 1936 shortly before his planned emigration to Turkey.
Bruno Paul's ingenuity and craftsmanship created the United Workshops "Typen-Möbel" or "type furniture", based on certain dimensional and stylistic units of wooden panels, side panels, doors, drawers and compartments, making the latter a "furniture cell" for boxes and cabinets. Five different sizes make for the most varied combinations and do justice to the practical and formal conditions of all the main pieces.
In order to make the furniture as resistant as possible to the fluctuations of the temperature, they are made of "locked plates". Shut-off is the most effective means against pulling, tearing and cracking, against the "working" of the wood. Massive woods stretch in the dampness in the direction of their annual rings, in drought and heat they disappear; so the furniture throws, or it cracks.
Even the driest wood is there against not fully assured. But if you glue several plates crosswise over each other and press them under strong hydraulic pressure, they prevent each other from swelling and dizzying; they form a rigid plate. Such worked furniture are of utmost durability. Almost more important is the supplementary system associated with the type furniture. It is modeled after the American bookcases and allows larger furniture or entire groups. To a corner cupboard or other centerpiece different side parts can be supplied, which join well according to the height and width. The highest variety is offered by the bookcases, but also the buffets, clothing boxes, etc. are very change.
Erich Mendelsohn was born in Allenstein, East Prussia, on March 21, 1887. He received his architectural training in Berlin and Munich, and he set up in private practice in Munich at the age of 25. In Munich he was friendly with leaders of the German expressionist movement in painting. Following military service in World War I, Mendelsohn returned to his practice and prepared an exhibition of his architectural sketches. His designs showed the strong influence of expressionism in their dynamic and dramatic use of line.
Mendelsohn's first major commission was the Einstein Tower (1919-1921), an observatory in Potsdam, Germany. Although he had originally intended the building to be executed in poured concrete (to emphasize the expressive forms of the tower), for technical reasons it was constructed of brick rendered with cement. The building attracted considerable attention, particularly because of the plastic treatment of form, which made the seven-story tower seem to flow upward from its rounded base to its domed observatory. This structure typifies his interest in an architecture of abstract, sculptural expressionism.
Shortly after this Mendelsohn began to turn away from free-flowing designs. An example of this new direction is his Steinberg Hat Factory (1920-1923) in Luckenwalde, Germany. During the late 1920s he became more and more attracted to the formal lines of the International Style. At this time he was commissioned to design several branches of the Shocken Department Store. In the one at Stuttgart (1926) he emphasized the horizontal by using continuous-ribbon windows separated with bands of brick. The rounded staircase at the corner of the asymmetrical structure was cantilevered over the entrance. Mendelsohn refined this approach in the design for the Shocken store at Chemnitz (1927-1928). Here, in an imposing curved facade, the windows alternated with opaque white bands, creating a feeling of clarity and lightness.
The rise of Nazism in Germany and its accompanying religious persecution forced Mendelsohn to flee in March 1933. In London he entered into partnership with Serge Chermayeff. Mendelsohn divided his practice between England and Palestine. His most important British design was the De la Warr Pavilion (1934) at Bexhill-On-Sea. In Palestine he executed a number of buildings, including a hospital at Haifa and the University Medical Center (1937-1939) on Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem.
Mendelsohn emigrated to the United States in 1941 but did not practice until after the war. His American work included many hospitals, synagogues, and community centers. Among the most important was the 14-story Maimonides Hospital in San Francisco (1946); here he emphasized the horizontal with conspicuously cantilevered balconies with small, curved projections.
Mendelsohn designed a number of synagogues and community centers in the Midwest, including those in St. Louis, Mo. (1946-1950), Cleveland, Ohio (1946-1952), Grand Rapids, Mich. (1948-1952), and St. Paul, Minn. (1950-1954). The Cleveland design was the most ambitious, successfully harmonizing the central dome of the synagogue with the building's undulating site. Mendelsohn died in San Francisco on Sept. 15, 1953.
Hoger was a student of the Backstein (brick) architecture of North Germany, particularly interested in the decorative traditions of brickwork and the effects of light and shade on brick buildings. Hoeger learnt his architecture skills during his time working at Lundt & Kalllmorgen and for Fritz Oldenburg.
He then founded his own architectural practice in 1907 however because of his lack of higher education he was denied membership in the Federation of German Architects. During this time he described himself as a builder and worked on the design and building of private homes around Hamburg. Before the outbreak of World War One, Hoeger’s office produced the dished house (now home to the department store "Kaufhof"). The dished house was the first to use clinker bricks; clinker bricks are more robust and frost-resistant due to the higher firing temperatures, unlike normal bricks and require no further treatment.
These first large buildings became the key style of his later buildings, with a strong vertical or horizontal layout by the placement of the eaves and the stepped floors. This design element brought him his first success. However his designs were strongly influenced by the Baupflegekommission (building code commission) and subsequently corrected. The clinker he called his Bauedelstein (style) which was constructed with playful ornaments. This style, however, was partially rejected.
In 1912 Hoeger began with the extension of the Hapag-management, known now as Ballindamm, because the construction of 1903 by Martin Haller did not offer sufficient space. But the client wanted the surface material to be sandstone and Hoeger had to relinquish his favorite building material.
1920, he published "The essence of the modern brick building" by Fritz Schumacher, the Hamburg chief architect, Hoeger felt very connected to the cause. With brick and clinker brick he thought showed an "earthiness" that was familiar to the German people, because these materials were typical for Northern Germany.
Hoeger most known building is the Chile House in Hamburg, which he built between 1922-1924 for the ship owner and nitric importer Henry (Chile) Sloman. The 12-storey block featured a curved, ship like façade. In 1926-1928 Hoeger built the first skyscraper in Hanover, the Gazette-skyscraper (Anzeiger-Hochhaus), for the publisher August Madsack. The style elements are similar in many ways to that of Chile House.
Otto Bartning began his career in 1902 with architecture studies at the Technical University in Berlin. After an extended trip around the world in 1904–1905, he continued his studies at the Technical University of Karlsruhe and discontinued them in 1907. He already received the commission to build a Protestant church in Peggau/Styria in 1905, which is why he opened his own architecture studio in Berlin. This was followed by more church buildings for diaspora congregations in other countries, as well as the construction of some residential buildings in Berlin.
In 1918, Bartning became a member of Work Council for Art and chaired the instruction committee on 'Recommendations on a Curriculum for Craftsmen, Architects and Fine Artists', among other positions. Together with Walter Gropius, Bartning developed the basic features of the pedagogical programmes – which Gropius then implemented with the Bauhaus in Weimar. In addition, Bartning was involved in the November Group, on the board of the German Werkbund, and in Der Ring (The Ring) architect association.
With the publication of New Church Architecture (1919), Bartning demonstrated his continued interest in the theoretical and practical issues of modern sacral architecture. This reached its preliminary climax in 1922 with the design of a fourteen-ray star church. He celebrated his breakthrough as an architect in 1928 with a two-tower steel church on the occasion of the Pressa Exhibition in Cologne.
After the Second World War Bartning became head of the construction department of the Protestant relief organization in Neckarsteinach . Under his leadership, the relief organization set up two series church programs with the support of foreign churches. Bartning designed three types of emergency churches , 43 of which were built throughout Germany, especially where refugees and displaced persons had been accepted. In a follow-up program were more, now smaller church building in the three types of community center, Diaspora chapel and house the church built.