“E” is for Eiermann
- Egon Eiermann 1948
Egon Eiermann (September 29, 1904 – July 20, 1970) was one of Germany’s most prominent architects in the second half of the 20th century.
A functionalist, his major works include: the textile mill at Blumberg (1951); the West German pavilion at the Brussels World Exhibition (with Sep Ruf, 1958); the West German embassy in Washington, D.C. (1958–1964); a building for the German Parliament (Bundestag) in Bonn (1965–1969); the IBM-Germany Headquarters in Stuttgart (1967–1972); and, the Olivetti building in Frankfurt (1968–1972). By far his most famous work is the new church on the site of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin (1959–1963). Wikipedia
His wide variety of buildings have been admired for their elegant proportions, precise detail, and structural clarity. Following are a few examples of his architectural point of view.
Deutscher Pavillon, Egon Eiermann, 1958
Image via THE-ARQ-M tumblr
A staircase detail from an apartment building on Bartningallee 2–4, Wohnhaus, Berlin. Designed by von Egon Eiermann in 1961/1962. / Behance
Among the obligatory stops in a visit to Berlin is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Considered a symbol and link between the wartime destruction and the rebirth of the city, it is visited by millions of tourists, even though few remember the name of its architect, Egon Eiermann (1904-70). He was one of the leaders of German modernism who is being rediscovered and celebrated by the Bauhaus.
image via http://egoneiermann.tumblr.com/
The Legacy of Chairs
Egon Eiermann also designed furniture and interiors for some of his buildings.
Eiermann’s most successful furniture design was the “E 10” basket chair (1954), whose prototype was designed back in 1948 for “Wie wohnen”, an exhibition in Karlsruhe. Equally popular was the “SE 18” folding chair Egon Eiermann designed for Wilde & Spieth in Esslingen.
Egon Eiermann is next to Eileen Gray, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, Marcel Breuer one of the most famous Bauhaus architects and designers of the Bauhaus era.
1949 Egon Eierman Chair Model SE 42
obiblanche: Davore`s Egon Eiermann collection.
My flatmate Davor thought about to buy 2 nice vintage Eiermann chairs for our kitchen, now he has 30 red/orange and 25 black ones.
Egon Eiermann folding chairs via http://tootasinfoot.blogspot.com/2012/01/egon-eiermann.html
Folding Chair by Egon Eiermann at 1stdibs
I hope you enjoyed your brief introduction to the work of Egon Eiermann, please leave a comment if you are so inclined. If I have neglected to give accurate credit for any image or quote, please let me know and I will rectify the omission.
B is For Breuer
Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research
Marcel Lajos Breuer was born May 21,1902 in Hungary. He attended university at the Bauhaus School and later was a teacher in the carpentry department. When he came to the United States he was a professor at Harvard University (1937-46) in the School of Architecture.
First recognized for his invention of bicycle-handlebar-inspired tubular steel furniture, he designed his most famous creation, the Wassily Chair, so called after being admired by artist Wassily Kandinsky. It was the first chair to feature a bent steel frame. Breuer designed a whole range of tubular metal furniture including chairs, tables, stools and cupboards. Tubular steel has lots of qualities; it is affordable for the masses, hygienic and provides comfort without the need for springs to be introduced. Breuer considered all of his designs to be essential for modern living. Design_Technology.org
Democratic Affordable Furniture for the Masses
B 34 1928
B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung
Breuer’s flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934)
Between these years Breuer experimented with flat aluminium in his furniture. It was not as strong as tubular steel but was considerably cheaper. The seats were targeted at the mass- market and were sold in Wohnbedarf in Switzerland. The concave bands at the back are structurally necessary but at the same time are aesthetically pleasing.
The seat above is named the Armchair, Model No. 301. It is made from painted aluminium with a painted and moulded laminated seat and back. Image: design_technology.org
As an architect, Breuer worked primarily in concrete. Breuer’s buildings were always distinguished by an attention to detail and a clarity of expression. Considered one of the last true functionalist architects, Breuer helped shift the bias of the Bauhaus from “Arts & Crafts” to “Arts & Technology”.
jvworks: St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota
[Marcel Breuer’s 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA
Image and story http://archidose.blogspot.com/2008/08/ikea-1-breuer-12.html
1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)
The UNESCO building in Paris
Lecture Hall, New York University (1961, New York City )
Whitney Museum of American Art (1966, New York City ) ,
St. John’s Abbey Church (1953, Collegeville, MN ),
Ameritrust Tower (Cleveland, his only skyscraper)
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I am pleased to introduce my guest this month, Meto Mihaylov, Architect · Basel, Switzerland · Meto spent Christmas with our family in 2006 when he attended Westtown School in Pennsylvania, with my son Joshua. Lo and behold, we recently connected again (thank you Facebook), and my charming Bulgarian friend is now an architect! So naturally I queried….
Q: What led you to become an architect, your favorite architect/s? Did your time living in the U.S. influence you in any way?
A: My name is Meto. I come from Bulgaria. I have lived and studied in high school for one year in the USA. After this I studied architecture at a University in Denmark and now work as an architect in Switzerland.
In my culture it is normal to pick a profession at a very early age. I was a little kid when I saw the ancient city of Plovdiv for the first time. I fell in love with its old buildings and with its atmosphere, and decided that I wanted to become an architect.
NYC made the biggest impression on me when I was in the USA and solidified my intention to study and do buildings. Please visit this city at least once in your life if you can.
At University I learned more and more about the contemporary work of the 20th and 21st century. It is scary to see how Professors in Europe teach architectural theory no different than religion is taught in a religion class. “Le Corbusier is God, and if you question any of what I tell you- you are dumb”. I like it when people question things and point out defects in buildings. This is a constructive way to work and achieve better results. Architects must not be the ones who judge architecture because they are too immersed into it and lose the objectivity. We do not build for architects- we build for people, for children, for shopping, for doctors etc. I like to ask friends and family to give me their opinion on my buildings during the design process, because their view tends to be much more objective, human, and overall better than when I ask my colleagues.
My list of professional influences reflects my worldview. There are certain architects whom I like, but I always try to be fair and see the pros and cons in their work. I do not believe in unconditionally worshiping an architect like I see many architect friends do. The character of a person, in architecture, always shows up in the work, so I like to study architects also as individuals, in order to understand their thought process better.
I like the organic form of Oscar Niemeyer but even more I like his overall organic approach to life. The houses of John Lautner have a similar effect- a completely revised space which makes life better. He was also very good at sustainable budget houses, not only the houses for the rich, like the one in the movie “The big Lebowski”. When it comes to the ever-present-for-good-or-bad field of Modernism, I find Paul Rudolph to be the one who really cracked the code of the modern form and proportion, overcoming the haunting sterility of modernist structures.
I recently had the good fortune to hear SeARCH’s Bjarne Mastenbroek present his way of seeing things and I found a lot of common ground with him. He works in the real world, where he has a budget amidst a financial crisis, and has to build residential buildings and schools in Holland two times cheaper and three times better than twenty years ago. When you manage to do something like this, you are truly creative and innovative, and a real architect, unlike someone like Zaha Hadid, who gives someone sketches of an unknown spaceship, budget- unknown, energy requirements for building it and after- unknown, building time- unknown, “oh, and by the way- I designed it but you have to build it yourself, because I can’t”. So, back to Mastenbroek, and I will leave you with him. He will build the first passive hotel in the ski resort of St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps, where, until now, only the richest of the rich built the most unsustainable, most expensive villas possible (Norman Foster built his own house there). Mastenbroek made a research and he will heat the hotel with 60 cows, which in winter will produce more heat just in staying inside glass rooms, than a radiator or floor heating. No cars allowed, you will have to reach the place on a dog sled. The sloping roof will be a part of the ski slope. The Swiss government, based in the capital city of Bern, is going to discuss changing the law of the Canton (State) of Graubünden in 2014, so that the crazy Dutchman can do the cow hotel. Keep an eye out, you will see it happen soon.
Be careful with architects. I can tell you that this industry often makes people extremely selfish and gives them a mania for fame. They stop wanting to make the world a better place and start wanting only attention. Please do not trust that single persons create buildings just because the media find it much easier to give you a single name. Even Mastenbroek cannot complete a house alone. Buildings are done by dozens of people and it is real teamwork that brings about a great result in the form of a built structure. Thank you for reading this and look for the architecture that makes a true innovation.
Architect Meto Mihaylov
Zentrum Paul Klee (by Renzo Piano) — in Bern, Switzerland.
Paradigm Gallery’s photo.
In a small Kentucky town, Paul Rudolph was born to a nomadic Methodist preacher in 1918. His unique childhood was spent traveling the American south from church to church. The charm of these pious concrete structures and other regional landmarks inspired Rudolph to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University. His serendipitous meeting with Walter Gropius, the founder of Bauhaus, while pursuing his master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design would help shape his bright future as an architectural visionary.
Orange Country Government Center in Goshen, New York.
After attaining his master’s, Paul Rudolph partnered with Ralph Twitchell in Florida and became a kingpin of the “Sarasota School”. This style of architecture focused on a clean contemporary floor plan and highlighted natural light, sweeping overhangs, and flat roofs. In 1958, Rudolph completed the Art and Architecture Building at Yale University. While there he felt a strong desire to share his passion and he became Dean at the Yale School of Architecture. After six years of inspiring a new generation of builders, Rudolph relocated to New York. He continued to focus all of his attention on the controversial Brutalist style. Brutalist architecture was inspired by the modernist movement. These buildings tend to be extremely linear, square, and feature predominantly concrete.
Yale Art and Architecture Building.
Despite being idolized by his peers, the public found many of his larger brutalist designs to be “brutal indeed” and criticized the abundance of concrete and steel. When Paul Rudolph passed away in 1997, his obituary in the New York Times said, “With the exception of Louis I. Kahn, no American architect of his generation enjoyed higher esteem in the 1960’s. But after 1970, his reputation plummeted. Many of his buildings are being torn down, or are in danger of being torn down. Mr. Rudolph leaves behind a perplexing legacy that will take many years to untangle.” However; a little over 15 years later, the unique appeal of Paul Rudolph’s brutalist designs is reaching new audiences who are embracing the incredible buildings with open arms.
Paul Rudolph’s 1961 Miami home.