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Michael J. Lewis

(Gottlieb Wilhelm)

(b Nordhausen, May 29, 1806; d Berlin, June 19, 1889).

German architect, theorist, teacher and writer. He entered the Berlin Bauakademie in 1827 and soon became a leading figure in the new Architekten-Verein zu Berlin (see Berlin §II 3.). Like many of his generation, he was much influenced by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and had a youthful fascination with the Gothic. His first book was a study of medieval timber architecture. He was particularly concerned with the relationship between style and construction and he soon began to apply this analysis to Greek architecture. The result was his monumental Die Tektonik der Hellenen (1843–51). The Rundbogenstil architect Heinrich Hübsch had already suggested that the forms of ancient Greek architecture were based on stone construction and not derived from timber antecedents. Bötticher expanded this insight into a vast system that explained all of Greek architecture in structural terms. For him, Greek architecture was rational building, its forms corresponding absolutely to the requirements of the stone used in its post and lintel construction. This constituted a major upheaval in the interpretation of Classical architecture, insisting that its elements were sanctioned neither by their historical pedigree nor by Platonic perfection of form, but rather by immutable physical and material laws. Bötticher briefly considered synthesizing Greek and Gothic structural principles to form a new style, but he quickly abandoned the idea, arguing that it would be superficial. In a prophetic ...

Article

Werner Szambien

(b Paris, Sept 18, 1760; d Thiais, Dec 31, 1834).

French architect, teacher and writer. He was one of the most influential teachers of his time, and his radically rationalist approach, which emphasized priority of function and economy of means, was expressed in analytical writings that remained popular into the 20th century. He studied under Pierre Panseron (fl 1736) and from 1776 in the office of Etienne-Louis Boullée. He also took courses with Julien-David Le Roy at the Académie d’Architecture and participated in competitions under the guidance of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet. He twice came second in the Prix de Rome: in 1779 for a museum and in 1780 for a school. During the 1780s he worked as a draughtsman for Boullée and for the engraver Jean-François Janinet. In 1788 construction began in the Rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière, Paris, of his Maison Lathuille, a building with Néo-Grec decoration but with a layout characterized by its extreme simplicity. About 1790 he executed a series of drawings entitled ...

Article

Gisela Moeller

(b Berlin, April 12, 1871; d Berlin, April 13, 1925).

German architect, designer, writer and teacher. After moving to Munich in 1892, he abandoned his plan to become a teacher, deciding on a career as a freelance scholar. He then studied aesthetics, psychology and philosophy, being particularly influenced by the lectures of the psychologist Theodor Lipps. He also studied German literature, art and music. In 1895 he intended to write a doctorate on the theme of ‘The Construction of Feeling’. In spring 1896 he met Hermann Obrist, who persuaded him to abandon his proposed academic career and become a self-taught artist. As well as book illustrations and decorative pieces for the art magazines Pan and Dekorative Kunst, he produced decorative designs for wall reliefs, carpets, textiles, coverings, window glass and lamps. In 1897 he designed his first furniture for his cousin, the historian Kurt Breysig. His first architectural work, the Elvira photographic studio in Munich (1896–7; destr. 1944), decorated on its street façade by a gigantic, writhing dragon, was a quintessential work of ...

Article

Claudia Bölling

(Christian)

(b Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Feb 9, 1795; d Karlsruhe, April 3, 1863).

German architect, architectural historian, theorist, writer and teacher. He was the son of a local postmaster and was educated in Darmstadt. In 1813 he entered the University of Heidelberg to read philosophy and mathematics. There he came under the influence of Friedrich Creuzer (1771–1858), a pioneer in the field of historiography and the empirical study of history; Hübsch later used Creuzer’s theories in his approach to architectural history. After only two years Hübsch decided to study architecture under Friedrich Weinbrenner in Karlsruhe, perhaps influenced to change direction by Georg Moller, whom he had met in Darmstadt. Hübsch stayed in Karlsruhe for two years and then between 1817 and 1820 made study trips to Italy, Greece and Constantinople. Throughout his life he continued to make similar journeys all over Europe, particularly to Italy, France and England. During 1823 and 1824 he again stayed in Rome, where he mixed with the German expatriate circles and particularly with the Nazarenes. In ...

Article

Wolfgang Herrmann

(b Hamburg, Nov 29, 1803; d Rome, May 15, 1879).

German architect, teacher and writer. He was one of the best-known and authoritative exponents of the historicist approach to architecture that dominated mid-19th-century Europe, as expressed particularly in his public buildings for Dresden and for Vienna’s Ringstrasse. He was also an influential teacher and theorist, and his ideas inspired many important architects of the next generation who were involved in new developments that ultimately led to the advent of modern architecture.

He entered the University of Göttingen in 1823 to study mathematics, an interest he retained throughout his life, as shown by his subsequent investigation of ancient Greek geometry: his pamphlet Über die bleieren Schleudergeschosse der Alten was written in 1853 to prove that trajectories calculated by the Greeks coincided with curves of optimal efficiency. In 1825, pressed by his parents to follow a more rewarding career, he applied for a post in hydraulic engineering. While awaiting the outcome of his application, he went to Munich and registered for the architectural course at the Akademie, where Friedrich von Gärtner was Professor of Architecture; Semper cannot be called a pupil of Gärtner’s, however, as he soon left Munich to stay for some time in Heidelberg and Regensburg, before departing in ...

Article

Françoise Bercé

(b Paris, Jan 27, 1814; d Lausanne, Sept 17, 1879).

French architect, restorer, designer and writer. He is one of the few architects whose name is known to the general public in France, although his fame as a restorer of medieval buildings is often accompanied by a somewhat unflattering critical judgement: a restoration ‘à la Viollet-le-Duc’ is usually understood to be abusive in terms of the original work and is often confused with the type of eclectic architecture that he himself particularly disliked. Through his published writings, particularly his Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle (1854–68), he made a substantial contribution to contemporary knowledge of medieval buildings. In addition, his writings and theories had an enormous impact on attitudes to restoration ( see Architectural conservation and restoration ) and on contemporary design, not only for the Gothic Revival movement but also in the development of rationalism, providing an important stimulus to new movements in architecture both in France and abroad (...