Poelzig, Hans

Poelzig, Hans

Berlin-born architect who, as city architect of Dresden, Germany, designed the Grosse Schauspielhaus, Berlin (1919), and the Chemical Plant, Luban (1912). As a professor, he produced several fantastic expressionist designs, all unrealized.
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.