Eric Mendelsohn

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Mendelsohn, Eric

 

Born Mar. 21, 1887, in Allenstein, East Prussia, present-day Olsztyn, Poland; died Sept. 15, 1953, in San Francisco, USA. German architect.

From 1907 to 1911, Mendelsohn trained under T. Fischer at the Technische Hochschule in Munich. From 1911 to 1914 he was affiliated with the Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group in Munich. Having emigrated from Germany in 1933, Mendelsohn lived in Great Britain from 1933 to 1941, Palestine from 1936 to 1938, and the United States from 1941 to his death. He taught at the University of California and other universities. Influenced by art nouveau and later by expressionism, Mendelsohn in his early works combined sharply expressive, sculptural forms (conventional or extremely geometric) with a strict functionalism of the composition as whole. Examples of his early work are the astrophysical observatory (Einstein Tower) in Potsdam and the hat factory in Luckenwalde, Brandenburg (1921-23).

In the second half of the 20th century, Mendelsohn abandoned the tense dynamism of his early works for calmer, nevertheless equally effective solutions and moved closer to functionalism. Works from this period include the Schocken stores in Nuremberg (1926), Stuttgart (1926-28), and Chemnitz (now in Karl Marx Stadt, 1929-30), as well as the Columbus House in Berlin (1929-32). While living in Palestine, Mendel-sohn built two hospitals in Haifa (1937) and the Anglo-Palestine Bank in Jerusalem (1938) and greatly influenced local architects. His principal works in the United States are the Maimonides Hospital in San Francisco (1946) and a synagogue-community center in Saint Louis (1950). He visited the USSR in 1924 and designed the Krasnoe Znamia Knitwear Factory in Leningrad in 1925. In 1932, Mendelsohn participated in the design contest of the Palace of Soviets in Moscow.

WORKS

“Otryvki iz pisem i vyskazyvanii.”In the collection Mastera arkhitektury ob arkhitekture. Moscow, 1972. Pages 301-21.
Russland, Europa, Amerika. Berlin, 1928.

REFERENCES

Whitthik, A. E. Mendelsohn. [London] 1937. [2nd ed.] London [1956].
Eckhardt, W. E. Mendelsohn. New York, 1960.
References in periodicals archive ?
Here in these pages, and especially in his work with existing buildings, you will detect strong creative trains of thought that connect seemingly disparate commissions in time and space -- Florida Southern College, the De La Warr Pavilion, Benenden Hospital, Trinity College of Music, the cultural centre at Derngate and so on up the scale to his vast King's Cross station masterplan -- all of them on equal terms with the work of such estimable precursors as Frank Lloyd Wright, Erich Mendelsohn, Thomas Tait, Wren, Hawksmoor, Mackintosh, Cubitt and others - progenitors of the original buildings so expertly revised, enlarged and reworked by McAslan himself according to a single idea teased from a difficult brief.
Erich Mendelsohn, Complete works of the architect, first published Mouse Berlin 1930, English edition Triangle Publishing London 1992 p28.
In the 1930s he blossomed as, first, an interior designer and, then, in brief partnership with Erich Mendelsohn, as an architect.
The museum must encapsulate the life and idiom of such individuals too, people like Hannah Arendt (the biographer of Varnhagen) another victim but survivor, and Walter Benjamin, Max Pechstein, and Erich Mendelsohn.
And there were precedents: a little to the west is the Storgata area, which was partly redeveloped in the 1930s, when architects like Erich Mendelsohn and Ole Sverre evolved Modern Movement buildings that made real contributions to a civilised urban fabric of streets and open spaces.