- Hermann Henselmann
Hermann Henselmann (born
3 February 1905in Rossla; died 19 January 1995in Berlin) was a German Architectmost famous for his buildings constructed in East Germanyduring the 1950s and 60s.
Henselmann studied at the Kunstgewerbe school in Berlin from 1922 to 1925. His early projects, such as a house on Lake Geneva near Montreux (1930) were Modernist in style, showing a clear
Bauhausinfluence, and due to this and Henselmann's partly Jewish ancestry he was prevented from working as a private architect by the Nazigovernment.
After the war he was appointed head architect in the city of Gotha and later in
Weimarin the SovietZone of Germany, although his projects were subjected to harsh criticism for their Modernism. He served in Hans Scharoun's town planning group that tried to convert the SED's leaders to Modernism, although unlike Scharoun Henselmann stayed in East Berlinafter their rejection. His neo-classical Weberwiese building in Berlin, emblazoned with quotes from his friend Bertolt Brecht(who had personally convinced him not to leave for the West) announced his conversion to the historical revivalism of the style known as Socialist Realismor Stalinist architecture. Henselmann would subsequently design the towers that cap each end of the Stalinallee boulevard (renamed Karl-Marx-Alleein the 1960s) at Frankurter Tor and Strausberger Platz, which showed the influence of Karl Friedrich Schinkelas well as the 'Seven Sisters', the Stalinist 'wedding cake' skyscrapers in Moscow.
Return to Modernism
Henselmann was appointed head architect for the city of Berlin in 1953 and held various town planning positions until his retirement. After
Stalin's death and the rehabilitation of Modernism, Henselmann returned to his earlier concerns, designing flagship buildings for East Berlinsuch as the Haus des Lehrers (House of Teachers) and Congress Hall in Alexanderplatzand the housing complex of Leninplatz (which was renamed Platz der Vereinten Nationen or United Nations Square in 1992, and its large statue of Lenin removed). Plans for a 'Signal Tower' drafted in 1958 became early drafts for the vast Fernsehturm, finished in 1969. Other late projects in a modernist and high rise style included the cylindrical Jen-Towerin Jenaand a tower for the LeipzigUniversity in the shape of an open book. Henselmann's later projects gave a modern, technocratic face to the German Democratic Republic, akin to the skyscrapers being built at the time in Frankfurt. He dismissed the brief period of Socialist Realismas a 'childhood illness', though his buildings on Karl-Marx-Alleeare now protected monuments. Henselmann retired as an architect in 1972.
* 1951 Weberwiese High Rise,
* 1953–1956 Towers on Frankfurter Tor and Strausberger Platz,
* 1958 Study for a TV Tower (early version of the
Berliner Fernsehturm, 1969)
* 1961–1964 Haus des Lehrers,
* 1968–1970 Leninplatz, Berlin (since 1992 Platz der Vereinten Nationen)
City-Hochhaus Leipzig, formerly University of Leipzig
Anders Aman, "Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe in the Stalin Era" (MIT, 1988)
* [http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/sla/2005/00000011/00000001/art00002 Hermann Henselmann and the Architecture of German Socialist Realism- article in "Slavonica"]
* [http://www.architekten-portrait.de/hermann_henselmann/index.html Hermann Henselmann: Architect Portrait (in German)]
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