Heinrich Tessenow

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Heinrich Joachim Helmuth Leonhard Tessenow (born April 7, 1876 in Rostock , † November 1, 1950 in Berlin ) was a German architect and university professor . Tessenow is one of the most important representatives of the German reform architecture .


Heinrich Tessenow was born as the eldest of several children of the carpenter Johann (Bernhard Carl) Tessenow (1850–1927) and his wife Louise (Maria Friederike Wilhelmine), née. Voss (1854-1931). After completing secondary school and an apprenticeship, Tessenow first worked in his father's carpentry shop and then attended a building trade school . He then studied at the Technical University of Munich with Karl Hocheder , Martin Dülfer and Friedrich von Thiersch .

After completing his studies, Tessenow initially worked as a teacher at several building trade schools. During this time, while working at the building trade school in Lüchow , he married Elly Mathilde Charlotte Schülke on December 27, 1903. He has already published an article about the Rundling villages in Wendland . From 1909 to 1911 he worked as Martin Dülfer's assistant at the Technical University of Dresden . This was followed by teaching activities at the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau , the Trier trade school and the Vienna School of Applied Arts .

From 1920 to 1926 he was a professor at the Academy of Arts in Dresden . From 1926 to 1941 he was a professor at the Technical University of Berlin , where Albert Speer was his assistant. Tessenow taught in 1934 at the United State Schools for Free and Applied Arts in Berlin. After the Second World War he resumed teaching at the Technical University of Berlin - now the Technical University of Berlin.

Tessenow was a member of the Corps Lusatia Dresden.


He is buried in the Dahlem forest cemetery. His grave is dedicated to the city of Berlin as an honorary grave .


Hellerau, Festspielhaus (2003)
Railway bridge over the Elbe in Meissen

Like Richard Riemerschmid or Hermann Muthesius in Hellerau, Tessenow preferred the simplicity and down-to-earthness of reform architecture. His sentence is famous: “The simple is not always the best; but the best is always easy. "

In contrast to Muthesius, Tessenow rejected any bourgeois norms. He was looking for the archetype of the house . That is why he reduced his buildings to smooth surfaces and basic geometric shapes. At the same time he approached rationalism and influenced Le Corbusier and Bruno Taut , who were representatives of the New Building . In 1927, Bruno Taut even described Tessenow as a “pioneer of residential building design”. The influence of Tessenow can also be seen in Taut's buildings in the Magdeburg settlement Reform .

His special commitment was the reform of housing construction . Numerous garden city designs , houses and schools, especially in Berlin, are part of his work. The design of the buildings he designed was functional and simple. Embedding affordable settler houses in a small kitchen garden was important to him. In 1910 he designed the Haus zum Wolf in the garden city of Hopfengarten for the art historian Paul Ferdinand Schmidt . From 1911 to 1912 he built the Jaques-Dalcroze educational institution (also known as the Hellerau Festival Hall ) in Dresden and the Saxon State School in the 1920s . In 1926, his design for the railway bridge over the Elbe in Meissen was implemented.

Buildings and designs

Two connected single-family houses on Heideweg in Dresden-Hellerau
Apprentice residence in Steinhorst


Berlin memorial plaque on Tessenow's former home in Berlin-Zehlendorf , Sophie-Charlotte-Strasse 7
  • 1919: Award of an honorary doctorate by the University of Rostock
  • 1927: Honorary membership of the Rostock Artists Association (and special exhibition in Rostock in 1929)
  • In Hanover, Berlin, Magdeburg, Trier, Rostock and Dresden-Hellerau streets and paths bear his name.
  • The Heinrich Tessenow Society organized a commemorative exhibition in Osnabrück in 1958.
  • In memory of Heinrich Tessenow, the Heinrich Tessenow Medal has been awarded annually since 1963 .


  • Carpentry work. Designs for wooden structures. Callwey, Munich 1907.
  • The residential building . Callwey, Munich 1909.
  • Craft and small town . Cassirer, Berlin 1919.
  • The country in the middle: a lecture. Hegner, Hellerau near Dresden 1921 ( digitized ).
  • House building and the like. With 107 drawings and photographs of Heinrich Tessenow's own work. Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1916 (a digitized version of this first edition can also be found in the Internet Archive ).
  • Written. Thoughts of a master builder (= Bauwelt Fundamente , Volume 61). Published by Otto Kindt. Vieweg, Braunschweig / Wiesbaden 1982, ISBN 3-528-08761-7 .
  • I followed certain thoughts ... village, town, city - what now? Thomas Helms Verlag , Schwerin 1996, ISBN 3-931185-17-6 .
  • Thoughtful. Published by Otto Kindt . Thomas Helms Verlag, Schwerin 2000, ISBN 3-931185-20-6 .


  • Tessenow, Heinrich . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General lexicon of fine artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 32 : Stephens – Theodotos . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1938, p. 552-553 .
  • Martin Ebert: Heinrich Tessenow. Architect between tradition and modernity. 3. Edition. Grünberg Verlag , Weimar / Rostock 2006, ISBN 3-933713-04-8 .
  • Otto Kindt : Heinrich Tessenow and his time, based on what he wrote in books and the posthumous writings. Thomas Helms Verlag, Schwerin 2005, ISBN 3-935749-54-6 .
  • Marco De Michelis: Heinrich Tessenow 1876–1950. The complete architectural work. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-421-03009-X .
  • Ines Hildebrand: Tessenow, Heinrich. In: Guido Heinrich, Gunter Schandera (ed.): Magdeburg Biographical Lexicon 19th and 20th centuries. Biographical lexicon for the state capital Magdeburg and the districts of Bördekreis, Jerichower Land, Ohrekreis and Schönebeck. Scriptum, Magdeburg 2002, ISBN 3-933046-49-1 .
  • Sigrid Hofer: Reform Architecture 1900–1918. German architects in search of the national style. Edition Menges, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-936681-01-5 , pp. 41–55 ( Heinrich Tessenow. The regionalism in small house construction ).
  • Ulrich Huebner u. a .: Symbol and truthfulness. Reform architecture in Dresden. Verlag der Kunst Dresden Ingwert Paulsen jun., Husum 2005, ISBN 3-86530-068-5 .
  • Otto Maier: Heinrich Tessenow. In: Bauwelt , year 1980, issue 40/41, p. 1768.
  • Gerda Wangerin, Gerhard Weiss: Heinrich Tessenow, a builder (1876–1950). Life, teaching, work. Bacht, Essen 1976, ISBN 3-87034-028-2 .
  • Heinz P. Adamek : Heinrich von Tessenow (1876–1950). Villa Böhler / St. Moritz - an obituary . In: Art Chords - Diagonal. Essays on art, architecture, literature and society. Böhlau, Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-205-20250-9 , pp. 126-134.
  • Thuringian State Office for Monument Preservation and Archeology (Hrsg.): The Tessenow settlements in Pößneck. Thuringian contribution to the development of social housing (= workbook of the Thuringian State Office for Monument Preservation and Archeology, New Series, 53). Erfurt 2019, ISBN 978-3-95755-046-0 .

Web links

Commons : Heinrich Tessenow  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Rostock registry office, birth certificate no. 333/1876 of April 8, 1876. Name form also in the church official certification of his baptism. The form of the name Heinrich Joachim Helmuth Bernhard Tessenow found in literature is wrong.
  2. On May 7, 1876, Tessenow was baptized in the Rostock St. Jakobi Church .
  3. Wendland-Lexikon , Volume 2. Lüchow 2008, p. 462.
  4. ^ Heinrich Tessenow: The farming village in the Hanoverian Wendland. In: The draftsman , Leipzig 1906.
  5. Erwin Willmann (Ed.): Directory of the old Rudolstädter Corps students. (AH. List of the RSC.) , 1928 edition, No. 4892.
  6. A longer quotation in full; It reads: “It is true that the requirement that our commercial work should be formally purer also includes the requirement that it should be formally less or simple; but as far as we think of something like an ideal way of life, we will probably always find that greater simplicity plays a very important role for us; one would like to say: the simple is not always the best; but the best is always easy ; otherwise we will be less able to communicate about simplicity than about cleanliness; When we consider how largely our environment can be clean, we answer almost without hesitation that it should only be as clean as it is possible at all; on the other hand, a demand for simplicity immediately has a lot of fundamental concerns. ”Quoted from: The cleanliness or the purity of commercial work. In: House building and the like. With 107 drawings and photographs of Heinrich Tessenow's own work. Bruno Cassirer, Berlin 1916, pp. 39–46, here p. 45 f. (Digitization of these pages in the Internet Archive ).
  7. Younger edition: The cleanliness or the purity of commercial work. In: Otto Kindt (ed.): Heinrich Tessenow. Written. Thoughts of a builder. Vieweg, Braunschweig / Wiesbaden 1982, ISBN 3-528-08761-7 , pp. 37–40, here p. 39 (digitized version of this page from Google Books).
  8. Hübner et al., P. 32 f.
  9. The builder 6/1906.
  10. ^ Marco De Michelis: Heinrich Tessenow 1876–1950. The complete architectural work. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-421-03009-X , p. 217.
  11. Garden City of Hopfgarten. (PDF; 6.6 MB) Accessed February 9, 2014 .
  12. a b c d e Short biography of the University of Magdeburg
  13. Start at the top. In: Isenhagener Kreisblatt (az-online.de). August 14, 2010, accessed February 9, 2014 .
  14. List of monuments in Berlin
  15. Between Kreis and Tessenow. (No longer available online.) In: Meissen 21. Archived from the original on February 26, 2014 ; Retrieved February 9, 2014 .
  16. List of monuments in Berlin
  17. List of monuments in Berlin
  18. List of monuments in Berlin
  19. List of monuments in Berlin
  20. List of monuments in Berlin
  21. ^ Edelgard Feiler, Klaus Feiler: The forbidden peninsula Wustrow. 2004, ISBN 3-86153-323-5 , p. 21.
  22. Rostock Studies on University History , Volume 4, Between Monarchy and Modernity, The 500th Anniversary of the University of Rostock 1919, Rostock 2008, p. 68
  23. ^ Rostocker Anzeiger of March 27, 1927.
  24. Compare the documentation at Wikimedia Commons (see section Web Links )
  25. Tessenow, Heinrich . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists of the XX. Century. tape 4 : Q-U . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1958, p. 429 .