Hans Scharoun and the aftermath of the First World War
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Architecture, 2014, 19 (6), pp. 825 - 848
- Issue Date:
© 2014 RIBA Enterprises. The connection between the First World War experience and the inter-war German avant-garde is axiomatic. Current scholarship focuses almost exclusively on artists and writers although it was architects such as Walter Gropius, Bruno Taut and Hans Scharoun who led the German avant-garde in the 1920s. It is, of course, easier to uncover connections between art and war than between architecture and war since artists often drew, painted or sculpted pieces that directly addressed the trauma of war whereas buildings do not. Nevertheless, architects were profoundly influenced by the events of 1914-1918 and commented on the significance of the war experience to their work. The little scholarship that does examine architects focuses almost exclusively on war memorials and ignores the effect the war had on aesthetic ideas and the direction of progressive architectural design. This paper explores the case of Hans Scharoun, who was one of Germany's most important architects in the first half of the twentieth century, to probe the ways his war service, and the events he participated in and witnessed, may have affected the course of his inter-war practice.
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