Ernst May

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

May, Ernst


Born July 27, 1886, in Frankfurt am Main; died Sept. 11, 1970, in Hamburg. German architect.

Between 1910 and 1920 May studied at the Technische Hochschule in Munich under T. Fischer. In addition to Germany he worked in the USSR (1930-33) and East Africa (1934 to the early 1950’s). As chief architect of Frankfurt am Main (1925-30), he was among the first in Western Europe to put the principles of rationalism into practice in large-scale construction (settlements near the city, such as Bruchfeldstrasse and Praunheim). May’s underlying principles of urban construction were the decentralization of cities—that is, the creation of a system of satellite towns around the historical center (the unrealized project of the reconstruction of Moscow, 1931-33) and the standardization and mass production of housing (the unrealized general plan for Magnitogorsk, 1930-33). In the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, May abandoned the rigidness of the plans that he had developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, replacing the principle of linear construction with freer spatial compositions (the settlements of Neue Altona and Griinhof in the Hamburg vicinity, 1954-55).


“K proektu general’nogo plana Magnitogorska.” Sovetskaia arkhitektura, 1933, no. 3.


J., E. May. Stuttgart, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Building culture; Ernst May and the New Frankfurt Initiative, 1926-1931.
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'I don't want to be labelled as an architect of kitchen only.' Margarete Sch[ddot{u}]tte-Lihotzky, who died in Vienna shortly before her 103rd birthday is best known for her 'Frankfurt Kitchen', the prototype of today's fitted kitchens: 10 000 versions were installed in the Frankfurt Social Housing which she designed under Ernst May from 1926-30.
Impressed by Sch[ddot{u}]tte-Lihotzky's work, Ernst May invited her to Germany when he was appointed Frankfurt's building director.
Under the shadow of developing fascism, Mart Stam was one of the architects, along with Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky, who accompanied Ernst May to the Soviet Union in 1930.
The site is Romerstadt, one of the famous Modernist Siedlungen planned by city architect Ernst May in the late 1920s, with blocks of flats and rows of terraced houses laid out on the Zeilenbau principle (AR June 1978).