Hans Scharoun (1893–1972 · architect)

Scharoun was born in Bremen in 1893. After studying at Berlin Technical University, he worked as a freelance architect from 1919 to 1925. From 1925 to 1933, he was a professor at the Academy of Art in Breslau (Wroclaw in present-day Poland). Scharoun enjoyed world renown for his design of the Siemensstadt estate. Like his colleague Hugo Häring, he is considered an advocate of "organic construction". Despite external forms that are often strikingly concise, his structures are not a stylistic end in themselves. Many of his famous buildings and floor plans are, in fact, highly functional and derive their quality from a conscious departure from boxy design principles. The National Socialists regarded Scharoun, like many other leading architects of the era, as an enemy. He was thus denied public contracts in Germany but remained to build mainly private residences. One of his most notable is the factory-owner’s villa Haus Schmincke in Löbau, Saxony. Scharoun worked as a Berlin city planner in 1945-46 and together with other architects, he presented a radical concept for the post-war reconstruction of Berlin. From 1956 to 1961, he implemented elements of this concept in the Charlottenburg North housing estate near Siemensstadt. Completed in 1963, the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall at the Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz is considered his crowning achievement. Sharoun was one of the very few public housing architects to live in buildings they designed themselves.