Mendelsohn, Eric

Mendelsohn, Eric

German architect who designed the Einstein Tower in Potsdam (1921), a highly plastic building. Its design is an outcome of expressionist demands. He also designed the Luckenwalde Hat factory (1923) and the Schoken Department Stores in Stuttgart (1928), using bold new forms to express a new function.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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


Whitthik, A. E. Mendelsohn. [London] 1937. [2nd ed.] London [1956].
Eckhardt, W. E. Mendelsohn. New York, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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