Hans Scharoun

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Hans Scharoun (right) in 1966 with Otto Nagel .

Hans Scharoun (born September 20, 1893 in Bremen , † November 25, 1972 in Berlin ), full name: Bernhard Hans Henry Scharoun , was a German architect and one of the most important representatives of organic architecture . It was based strongly on the ideas of the architect Hugo Häring , who developed the approach of deriving the building design from the nature of the building task.


1893 to 1924

Hans Scharoun was the son of a businessman who moved to Bremerhaven in 1894 . He attended high school and graduated from high school in 1912. He showed his first interest in architecture during his school days. At the age of 16 the first drafts were made, at 18 he took part for the first time in an architectural competition for the modernization of a church in Bremerhaven. Scharoun studied architecture at the Technical University (Berlin-) Charlottenburg until 1914 , but never graduated. In 1914 he volunteered for service in the First World War . Paul Kruchen , his mentor from Berlin times, placed him in a reconstruction program for East Prussia . After the war, he took over his office as a freelance architect in Wroclaw in 1919 . There and in Insterburg , where he had already opened an office in 1918, he realized numerous projects and organized art exhibitions, such as the first exhibition by the expressionist artist group Brücke in East Prussia.

1925 to 1932

At the Wroclaw Academy of Fine and Applied Arts , he became a professor in 1925 and taught until its closure in 1932. In 1919 he had the Expressionist architects circle Crystal Chain of Bruno Taut connected, in 1926 he joined the Union of Architects The ring at. In 1927 Scharoun built a house in the Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart , and in the late 1920s he was responsible for the development plan for the Siemensstadt housing estate in Berlin. Based on Hugo Häring's theory of the new building, Scharoun represented a concept of architecture that broke away from rationalism and prefabricated form schemes in order to develop the building from a special functional character. The design of the social living space played a central role.

1933 to 1945

During the Nazi era , Scharoun stayed in Germany, while many of his friends and colleagues from the Glass Chain or the Ring went abroad. From 1932 until it was bombed out in 1943, he had his office in Passauer Strasse , near Tauentzienstrasse. During this time he only built a few single-family houses, including the remarkable Schminke house in Löbau in Saxony in 1933 .

He had to adapt the following houses to the outside of the politically determined building regulations, inside they show the typical Sharoun room sequences. During the war he was busy repairing aircraft damage. He secretly captured his architectural ideas and visions in numerous watercolors. With these imaginary architectures he prepared himself mentally for a time after National Socialism.

City planning officer in Berlin (1945–1946)

After the surrender of the Wehrmacht and thus the end of the war in Europe, the Soviet military administration set up an anti-fascist magistrate for the entire urban area of Greater Berlin on May 19, 1945 . In the Werner Magistrate , Scharoun was the head of the building and housing department as town planning officer and in this office he was responsible for the development of a reconstruction concept for the heavily destroyed city. In mid-1946 in the ruins of the Berlin City Palace , he presented his ideas for the reconstruction of the city in an exhibition entitled “Berlin plans - First Report”. His so-called “ collective plan ” was based on the Athens Charter and envisaged an almost complete demolition of the existing remaining buildings and a new construction in a kind of grid structure of main roads in order to enable social harmonization through an even density of housing and strict separation of functions. The spaces in between were intended as a “ city ​​landscape ” to represent a counter-image to the tenement town of the previous century, so-called “living cells” were intended as basic units, which provided living space for around 5,000 residents and corresponding public facilities. The plan was utopian and in an extremely controversial discussion met with widespread incomprehension.

Scharoun soon got caught between the political fronts of the looming division of the city. After the first free elections in Berlin on October 20, 1946 , the Ostrowski magistrate began work on December 5, 1946. Scharoun's successor as town planning officer was the much more conservative architect Karl Bonatz , and in 1947 Scharoun was appointed to a professorship for town planning at the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin.

On November 30, 1948, a "Democratic Magistrate" was established in the Soviet sector ( East Berlin ), which was headed by Mayor Friedrich Ebert until 1967 . Although the latter supported Scharoun's collective plan and was even supposed to be implemented in 1949 as a general development plan for “Democratic Berlin”, later “Berlin, Capital of the GDR”, it did not come to that: Scharoun's designs were committed to the New Building , its strict and functionalist architecture was rejected by the SED as bourgeois, decadent and formalistic. The political leadership of the GDR called for an anti-culture to the international style of capitalism. The Stalinallee was finally built in neoclassical forms (borrowing from the socialist confectioner's style and Schinkel's classicism ); Hermann Henselmann , who originally also stood in the tradition of New Building, was primarily responsible for this .

Until 1950 Scharoun headed the East Berlin Institute for Construction , where one of the residential cells (intended as a basic urban unit without roads) was worked out as part of the redesign of the Friedrichshain district . However, only two buildings of his designs were realized, the five-storey arcade houses in Karl-Marx-Allee 102/104 and 126/128. The loosely structured living cell with the weekly market and one and two-family houses fell victim to the above-mentioned changed urban planning models of the SED leadership.

Post-war period and late work (1947–1972)

Permanent representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the GDR with a Scharoun studio attached, Berlin-Mitte, Hannoversche Strasse 28–30 (2006)

Outside of his plans for urban planning in Berlin, Scharoun was more successful, although this success was initially very slow. For historical reasons, his project Berlin-Mitte , Hannoversche Strasse 28–30, should be emphasized . The property had been a barracks site since the 18th century , and in 1948 the Soviet military administration in Germany (SMAD) handed over the building to the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin (DAW), which was slightly damaged during the war . In 1949 Scharoun built an attic with a case as a studio; it served the DAW's Institute for Construction , which was headed by Scharoun . The construction work was under the responsibility of chief construction manager Wagner , who was supported by the then intern and later architect Claus-Peter Werner . At the beginning of 1951, the German Building Academy was founded out of the Institute for Civil Engineering and the Institute for Urban Development and Structural Engineering , with its headquarters in this building. In 1973 the Bauakademie cleared the house, which was then converted for the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the GDR .

Scharoun won first prize five times in competitions up to 1955, but not a single one of these designs was ever realized. These include the Liederhalle in Stuttgart in 1949, the theater in Kassel in 1952 and the town hall in Bremen in 1955. It was not until the new building of the famous Philharmonie in Berlin, in whose competition he took part in the summer of 1956, that Scharoun's first competition success was to be achieved, which was actually implemented (Construction period: 1956–1963). A terrace-like auditorium with a total of 2200 seats surrounds the hexagonal stage in the middle of the room. The unusual shape guarantees optimal acoustics and should, according to Hans Scharoun, create “the relationship: people, space, music”. He compared the arrangement of the rows of seats with "vineyards on the slopes of a wide valley".

He was also able to realize his understanding of architecture in other exemplary buildings, e.g. B. in the Stuttgart high-rise group Romeo and Juliet (1954-1959), in the Geschwister-Scholl-Gesamtschule in Lünen (1956-1962), and in the elementary school in Marl (1960-1968), which in May 2008 in Scharoun school Marl was renamed. What all buildings have in common is the novel access to a very imaginative and socially differentiated spatial organization. The school is planned as a small town suitable for children and young people, the high-rise group shows a diverse division of space and functions. Finally, the Berlin Philharmonic, which is internationally recognized as one of the most successful buildings of its kind, is Scharoun's main work. Around the center of the music podium, the rows of spectators rise irregularly and in terraces, the ceiling is layered over the architectural landscape like a tent-like firmament.

The building of the German Embassy in Brasília (1963–1969) remained the only building that Scharoun built outside of Germany.

One of his late works is the south-eastern low-rise building (short name: SO) in the architecture department at the Technical University of Berlin. The outer facade of the building is clad with split panels made of Theuma fruit slate. Scharoun realized his specific reference to building and decorative stone in a functionally determined room detail by means of a wall design in the ground floor foyer. Large-format natural stone panels are visible on a long wall, each made of a different type of stone . The selection and the arrangement of the 40 sample boards are based on the specifications of Hans Scharoun. This display wall, conceived for teaching purposes, presents 20 building and decorative stones from Germany, Italy and France, including side surfaces. Most of the grades are shown with two boards to indicate selected sub-grades or material variations. This display area was later partially covered with an information display case and a large notice board. The rock types had to be determined again afterwards due to incomplete labeling to produce their overall statement.

Hans Scharoun's grave of honor at the Zehlendorf forest cemetery

From 1955 to 1968 he was president of the Berlin Academy of the Arts (West) , from 1968 its honorary president. He was a founding member of the Paul Hindemith Society in Berlin .

Scharoun died in 1972. He was buried in the Zehlendorf forest cemetery in Berlin-Nikolassee in Dept. 028-847 (old: IU-24) in an honorary grave of the State of Berlin .

After 1972

Some of Scharoun's most important buildings were not completed until after his death. These include the German Maritime Museum (1975) in his hometown of Bremerhaven, the theater (1973) in Wolfsburg and the building of the State Library of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin (across from the Philharmonie).

The implementation of the famous library building took (as in earlier times) an unfortunate turn for Scharoun; In 1969, construction management was withdrawn from his office and his area of ​​responsibility was limited to "artistic management". Scharoun did not see the completion of the building; after his death in 1972, management was continued by his close colleague Edgar Wisniewski , with whom he had already worked on the planning. The library was finally opened six years later (1978).

The expansion of the Berlin Philharmonic to include the Chamber Music Hall, the State Library and the State Institute for Music Research in Prussian Cultural Heritage with a Museum of Musical Instruments came about under the direction of his office partner Edgar Wisniewski, who continued the office after Scharoun's death. The facade of the Philharmonie was clad in gold anodized aluminum panels from 1978–1979, just like the one in the State Library's magazine. A (similar) external cladding was originally planned, but was not implemented for cost reasons, instead the exposed concrete was painted white and ocher. After the reunification of Berlin in the east of were Cultural Forum subsequent Potsdamer Platz redeveloped why Scharoun urban planning of the adjacent Cultural Forum were shelved. The debate about the further development of the area around the Matthäikirche continues to this day.

Awards and honors

Works (selection)

Buildings (selection)

Drafts (selection)

  • Competition design for the Domplatz in Prenzlau , 1st prize (1919)
  • Competition draft for the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden (1920)
  • Competition draft for the construction of a new high-rise at Friedrichstrasse station in Berlin (1922)
  • Competition design for the new town hall in Ulm (1925)
  • Competition draft for the new building of a school complex Schlichtallee / Fischerstraße in Berlin-Lichtenberg (1927)
  • Competition design for a town hall and exhibition halls in Bremen (1928)
  • Competition design for the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, 1st prize (1949)
  • Competition design for the new building of the Leipzig Opera House (1950)
  • Competition design for the America Memorial Library in Berlin (1951)
  • Draft for an elementary school in Darmstadt (1951, as part of the " Darmstädter Meisterbauten ", not executed)
  • Competition draft for the development of the island of Helgoland (1952)
  • Competition draft for the new building of the State Theater in Kassel , 1st prize (1952)
  • Competition draft for the National Theater in Mannheim , 3rd Prize (1953)


  • 1925 Inaugural lecture at the State Academy of Arts and Crafts in Breslau
  • Foreword to: Architecture of the World: Baroque, Italy and Central Europe. Series: Architecture of the World. Ed. Pierre Charpentrat, Henri Stierlin. Fig. Peter Heman. Taschen, Berlin 1964 a. ö., most recently 1990 (illustrated book)

Graphic work

  • Twelve drawings. Akademie der Künste, Berlin 1993, portfolio, without ISBN (graphics from 1910 to 1945)


The majority of Scharoun's estate is archived in the architecture department of the Academy of Arts (Berlin) .


  • Manfred Walz, Peter Strege, Hartmut Dreier (eds.): Hans Scharoun in the Ruhr area. Design and build for life. Berlin Story Verlag, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-95723-128-4
  • Birgit Gropp, with Dietrich Scholle: The buildings by Hans Scharoun in Westphalia. Westfälische Kunststätten, 120th Westfälischer Heimatbund , Münster 2016 ISSN  0930-3952
  • Elke Sohn: On the concept of nature in urban concepts based on the contributions by Hans Bernhard Reichow , Walter Schwagenscheidt and Hans Scharoun on reconstruction after 1945. LIT-Verlag, Münster 2008, ISBN 978-3-8258-9748-2
  • Jörg C. Kirschenmann, Eberhard Syring: Hans Scharoun. Outsiders of modernity. Taschen, Cologne 2004, ISBN 978-3-8228-2449-8
  • Martin Petsch: Borgsdorf - Between >> decent << building ethos and modernity: The Weigand house by Hans Scharoun. In: Brandenburgische Denkmalpflege 22, 2003. Issue 2, pp. 17–26
  • Paolo Vincenzo Genovese: Hans Scharoun. Scuola a Lünen Torino 2001 (Italian)
  • Christina Threuter: Organic Building ” versus “National Style”. Hans Scharoun and the failure of his activities in the GDR . In: Holger Barth (ed.): Grammar of socialist architectures. Readings of historical urban development research on the GDR . Berlin 2001, pp. 279-292.
  • Christina Threuter: Hans Scharoun's architectural drawings from 1939 to 1945 . Peter Lang, Frankfurt 1994
  • Peter Blundell Jones: Hans Scharoun. London 1995 (English)
  • Otto Maier: Building as a Philosophy. Hans Scharoun on his 100th birthday In: Baumeister 9/1993, p. 5
  • J. Christoph Bürkle : Hans Scharoun and the modern age. Ideas, projects, theater construction. Frankfurt 1986 (Neufass. Artemis, 1993 ISBN 3-7608-8139-4 )
  • Jörg C. Kirschenmann, Eberhard Syring: Hans Scharoun. The demand for the unfinished. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt , Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-421-03048-0
  • Peter Pfankuch (Ed.): Hans Scharoun. Buildings, drafts, texts. Series of publications by the Akademie der Künste, 10. Berlin 1974, new edition 1993, ISBN 3-88331-971-6 .
  • Achim Wendschuh (Ed.): Hans Scharoun. Drawings, watercolors, texts. In: Series of publications by the Academy of the Arts , 22. Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-88331-972-4
  • Edgar Wisniewski : The Berlin Philharmonic and its chamber music hall. The concert hall as the central space. Gebr. Mann Verlag , Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-7861-1714-4
  • Eckehard Janofske: Architectural spaces, idea and design with Hans Scharoun. Braunschweig 1984
  • Eberhard Roters: Galerie Ferdinand Möller. Gebr. Mann, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-7861-1181-2
  • Peter Blundell Jones : Hans Scharoun. A monograph. Stuttgart 1980

Web links

Commons : Hans Scharoun  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Nils Aschenbeck: Let colors speak. Gray inheritance: In Chernyakhovsk, once Insterburg, buildings by Hans Scharoun are falling into disrepair . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of July 6, 2013, p. 34.
  2. Johann Friedrich Geist , Klaus Kürvers , Dieter Rausch: Hans Scharoun. Chronicle of life and work. ISBN 3-88331-974-0 , Akademie der Künste (Berlin) , Berlin 1993, pp. 84 & 148.
  3. ^ Foundation Haus Schminke , photos and text
  4. City of Berlin planning for the post-war period up to 1989
  5. Nowel, Ingrid: Berlin - The new capital . Ostfildern 2005: DuMont, p. 161f.
  6. Syrting, Eberhard; Kirschenmann, Jörg: Hans Scharoun: Outsiders of Modernity . Cologne 2007: Taschen, p. 15f
  7. Johannes H. Schroeder, Gerda Schirrmeister: Natural stone on the campus of the Technical University of Berlin . Berlin 2010, pp. 42–46, ISBN 978-3-928651-14-1 (partial authorship Otmar Hartenstein)
  8. Syrting, Eberhard; Kirschenmann, Jörg: Hans Scharoun: Outsiders of Modernity . Cologne 2007: Taschen, p. 83
  9. Scharounplatz at the Kulturforum is ready , tagesspiegel.de, December 16, 2019
  10. Building history of the colorful series
  11. Let colors speak in: FAZ of July 6, 2013, page 34
  12. Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  13. Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  14. Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  15. Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  16. ^ Website about the Schminke house
  17. Catalog of works by Hans Scharoun No. 126 - 150  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.stiftung-hausschminke.eu  
  18. Baensch House at: Scharoun Society
  19. Monument database of the LfD Bremen
  20. ^ Ruby: Hans Scharoun - House Möller. Cologne 2004
  21. ^ Department of Conservation and Restoration - Wall Painting ( Memento of the original from October 27, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. : "Investigation of historical colourfulness" @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.fh-potsdam.de
  22. ^ House Scharf - country house. Monument. In: berlin.de. District Office Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf , accessed on February 1, 2017 (Margarete Scharf was the daughter of Otto Gerstenberg , see also Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection ).
  23. a b Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  24. Entry in the Berlin state monument list and floor plan; Exterior view
  25. ^ Website of the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule Lünen about the school building
  26. ^ The Democratization of Education in FAZ, June 25, 2013, p. 27
  27. Entry in the Berlin State Monument List
  28. and Johanneskirche Altenbochum
  29. Christel Darmstadt (ed.): Sacred architecture in Bochum. Schürmann & Klagges, Bochum 2003, ISBN 3-920612-94-9 , p. 40.
  30. Julia Ricker: A tent made of bricks. Hans Scharoun's Johanneskirche in Altenbochum receives a new roof. In: Monumente , 2012, no. 3, p. 32f., As well as literature: Gropp
  31. ^ Foundation Archive of the Academy of the Arts Berlin. In: arch INFORM ; Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  32. Scharounschule Marl , Geschwister-Scholl-Gesamtschule Lünen Johanneskirche Bochum , time table, joint consideration of the 3 buildings, Fig.