His oeuvre was diverse as his personality was colourful: in parallel with his architecture, he painted and created stage designs and film sets. He was director of the School of Art and Design in Breslau and later taught at the Technical High School of Charlottenburg, Berlin.
“Hans Poelzig. Projects for Berlin”
October 18, 2018– February 3, 2019
Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing
Christinenstraße 18a, 10119 Berlin
Hans Poelzig was a masterly expressionist architect whose drawing style is characterised by powerful marks in charcoal and pastel. His early sketchbooks are less well known and, although they appear somewhat reserved and romantic, reveal his embryonic talent as a draftsman. Poelzig’s many facets as an architect are evident not only in his use of varied styles and media but also in the diverse typologies of his buildings which range from small houses, cultural and administrative buildings to large urban planning projects.
Between the wars (1918-1933) before the National Socialists seized power, Berlin attracted many creative people from all over the world: Hans Poelzig’s most important designs for the German capital date from this time. Mies van der Rohe’s unrealised design for a glass tower block on Friedrichstrasse is regarded an icon of modern architecture. Hans Poelzig also participated in this competition and his design is no less spectacular: weighty, monumental, imposing in its presentation as a perspective view in charcoal. Poelzig also designed the Babylon cinema, still in use today in Berlin Mitte.
One of Hans Poelzig’s most famous projects in Berlin Mitte was the conversion of the Schumann Circus into the Grosses Schauspielhaus, where his expressionism was strongly embodied in the stalactite-like columns. It was demolished in 1988 when damage to its pile foundations could not be repaired.
In 1927, Poelzig’s design for the broadcasting building, the Rundfunkhaus on Masurenallee close to today’s Theodor-Heuss-Platz, was ahead of its time. This project presented the challenge of integrating radio studios with their sensitive technology within an administrative building. His masterly solution placed the production rooms in the core of the building surrounded by offices, thus sheltering the recording studios from street noise. The Rundfunkhaus with its decorative ground plan was conceived as part of the masterplan for a conference and exhibition centre and was intended to relate to a proposed oval conference hall, the so-called ‘Poelzig Egg’.
Industrial buildings were also part of the ‘Berlin Collection’. These include Dr. Cassirer’s cable works in Spandau which today house the archive rooms of the Berlin city museums. Less well known but of equal interest are Poelzig’s unrealised designs for the film studios in Gatow. The patterns of the façades resemble the interior decoration of one of Poelzig’s best known projects, the I.G. Farben office building in Frankfurt am Main, today the Campus Westend of the Goethe University.
The exhibition is curated by Hans-Dieter Nägelke (Architecture Museum of the Technical University, Berlin) and Nadejda Bartels (Tchoban Foundation).The works shown in the exhibition are on loan from the Architecture Museum of the Technical University, Berlin.