Hans Poelzig

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Poelzig, Hans


Born Apr. 30, 1869, in Berlin; died there June 14, 1936. German architect.

From 1888 to 1893, Poelzig studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. Between 1900 and 1916 he taught at the Academy of Arts in Breslau (present-day Wroclaw, Poland), becoming its director in 1903. He also taught at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden (1916–20) and at the Academy of Arts (from 1920) and the Technische Hochschule in Berlin (from 1924).

Poelzig was initially influenced by P. Behrens. This influence is evident in his water tower in Poznan (1910) and his office building in Wroclaw (1911). He subsequently adopted a fantastic, romantic, and sometimes expressionist style (for example, the chemical factory in Luban, Poland; 1911–12). He emphasized three-dimensionality and designed unusual decorative interiors (for example, the metal ceiling ribs resembling stalactites in the Grosses Schauspielhaus in Berlin and the many-stepped ceiling in the Kapitol Motion-picture theater in Berlin).

Poelzig’s works of the late 1920’s show a tendency toward more monumental forms (for example, the administration building for I. G. Farben in Frankfurt am Main, 1928–30). In 1932 he drew the plans for the Palace of Soviets in Moscow. Poelzig’s architecture and work as a teacher greatly influenced the following generation of German architects, including H. Scharoun. His career was cut short by the Nazis: beginning in 1933 he was deprived of the right to work and teach.


Heuss, T. Hans Poelzig: Lebensbild eines Baumeisters. Tübingen [1955]; new ed. Tübingen [1966].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It echoes the fairy-tale expressionism of Hans Poelzig's stunning Grosses Schauspielhaus in Berlin (1919), in which the domed auditorium for impresario and director Max Reinhardt created a spectacular setting somewhere between fantasy, circus and ice cave, its ceiling dripping with protrusions.
In one of the most definitive exhibitions to date, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum has assembled the many strands of Hans Poelzig's career, from architecture, painting and sculpture, to the design of household items, theatre and film sets.
The architect, painter, and set designer Hans Poelzig (1869-1936) is one of the most enigmatic figures of early-twentieth-century architecture.
A good number of them are well-known figures, such as Otto Dix, Hans Poelzig, and Richard Strauss, but--in keeping with the spirit of his project as a whole--they are accorded no higher status than less prestigious artists who today are unfamiliar or unknown.
In the process, some shadowy figures on the edge of Modernism are illuminated: architect-teachers like August Endell, Theodor Fischer, Henri van de Velde, Heinrich Tessenow, Richard Riemerschmid and Hans Poelzig. The central hero, if there is one, is Hermann Muthesius, whose reporting back from Britain around 1900 embraced a surprisingly broad range of concerns, and whose subsequent domestic work was as significant for the type of political and industrial client it represented as for its style.
Few European cinemas exhibited the Modernist refinement of designs such as Hans Poelzig's minimalist Babylon cinema in Berlin, for instance, or Gunnar Asplund's jewel-like Skandia in Stockholm.