Paul Bonatz

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Paul Bonatz

Paul Michael Nikolaus Bonatz (born December 6, 1877 in Solgen ( Lorraine , realm of Alsace-Lorraine , today Solgne, Moselle department , France ), † December 20, 1956 in Stuttgart ) was a German architect , influential university professor and bridge designer. Alongside Paul Schmitthenner, he is one of the main representatives of the Stuttgart School and - internationally seen - one of the most important architects of traditionalism .


Paul Bonatz's father was a civil servant of rural origin from Mecklenburg , his mother from Luxembourg . After graduating from high school in Hagenau , Alsace , he first studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich , then architecture after a year until he passed the diploma examination in 1900. After his marriage in 1902, Bonatz went to Stuttgart, where he worked as an assistant to Theodor Fischer until 1905 . then worked until 1908 as a lecturer and associate professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart . When Fischer returned to Munich in 1908, Bonatz was appointed as his successor to his Stuttgart chair, which he held until 1943. In 1906 his name can be found in the directory of members of the exhibition catalog of the 3rd annual exhibition of the German Association of Artists in Weimar. In 1908 Bonatz became a member of the German Werkbund, which had been founded a year earlier .

In individual cases, mostly in competition designs, Paul Bonatz worked with his younger brother Karl Bonatz (1882–1951). In 1910, Bonatz and his college friend Friedrich Eugen Scholer (1874–1949) founded an architecture office in Stuttgart (“Bonatz und Scholer”) to handle his numerous private construction contracts (in addition to teaching ); this collaboration ended in 1943/1944. It is no longer possible to determine how large Scholer's share in the joint projects was.

Bonatz was a traditionalist. He and Paul Schmitthenner represented an artisanal understanding of building and rejected the " new building ", modern land uses and construction methods. In particular, Bonatz, as doyen of the Stuttgart School of Architecture, turned against the project of the Weißenhofsiedlung , which the Werkbund had been planning in his hometown since 1925. In Schwäbisches Merkur he wrote "The plan is irrelevant, craftsmanship and amateurish [...] In various horizontal terraces, a cluster of flat cubes pushes up the slope in an uncomfortable confinement, more reminiscent of a suburb of Jerusalem than of apartments for Stuttgart."

When the faction around Bonatz lost its majority in the election of the Württemberg Werkbund in the summer of 1926, Bonatz and Schmitthenner resigned and in 1928 founded the conservatively oriented architects' association “ Der Block ”. However, he only remained associated with the bloc until 1931, after which he left the bloc. As a result, he developed a somewhat more differentiated judgment regarding modern designs based on plans by Otto Bartning .

During the time of National Socialism , Bonatz was Fritz Todt's artistic advisor , involved in many designs for bridges for the Reichsautobahn and a regular author of specialist articles in the programmatic journal Die Strasse . After Todt's death, his successor Albert Speer made the Reichsautobahn part of the Reich Ministry for Armaments and Ammunition .

In 1943, the non-party Bonatz received an offer to work as a consultant in the construction office for technical schools of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. In September 1943 he moved to Ankara . When Turkey, which had been neutral until then, broke off diplomatic relations with Germany in August 1944 , he stayed in Turkey and, despite instructions, did not return to Germany, where his family continued to live. From 1946 to 1954 he was a professor at İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi . In 1947/1948 he was involved in the conversion of a former exhibition hall into the Ankara State Opera. In 1950 he built the Rosenberg Bridge in Heilbronn again in Germany .

Since foreign architects were no longer allowed to build in Turkey without local cooperation partners, he finally returned to Stuttgart in 1954. In 1955 he was involved in the design of the Neckar Bridge in Neckarweihingen . In 1956 Bonatz died and was buried in the forest cemetery in Stuttgart .

Buildings and designs (selection)

Bonatz and Scholer achieved their final breakthrough with first prize in the competition for the new Stuttgart main station in 1911, which was followed by the execution contract in 1913. In 1914 the foundation stone for the station building was laid; On October 22, 1922, the first construction phase (southern part with tower) was put into operation, the second construction phase was completed in 1927.

  • Participation in the planning of the Zeppelindorf workers' settlement in Friedrichshafen , 1914–1915
  • Power plant of the Rottweil powder factory , 1915–1916
  • Zeppelin hall construction in Friedrichshafen, 1915–1917
  • Tomb for General (von) Lotterer in Ludwigsburg , 1916
  • various designs for memorials to the fallen, 1917 and 1918
  • House for the manufacturer Fritz Roser in Stuttgart, 1919–1922
  • third own house in Stuttgart, 1921–1922
  • Villa for the entrepreneur Alfred Vorster in Cologne, 1921–1922
  • Villa for the banker Herstatt in Cologne-Marienburg, 1921–1923
  • Villa for the later National Socialist Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin-Schmargendorf , Lentzeallee 7–9, 1922–1923
  • Administration building of Gebr. Stumm GmbH , called " Stummhaus ", in Düsseldorf , 1922–1925 (an early German high-rise )
  • Cenotaph for those who fell in World War I at the forest cemetery in Stuttgart-Degerloch , 1923
  • Liebrecht house in Hanover, 1923–1924
  • Villa for Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart, Feuerbacher Weg 48/50, 1923–1924
  • Conversion of the memorial house of the Black Forest Association with observation tower on the Mooswaldkopf near Lauterbach , 1923–1924
  • Villa for the entrepreneur Fritz Hornschuch near Kulmbach , 1924–1925 ( list of monuments )
  • Houses for Dr. Arntzen and HC Scheibler in Cologne, 1924–1926
  • Villa for the entrepreneur Paul Eberspächer in Esslingen , 1925–1926
  • Villa for the antique dealer Arno Kramer in Bonn , 1926

From 1926 to 1928 Bonatz was responsible for the architectural design of the structures in the Neckar sewer system; He designed the barrages in Ladenburg near Mannheim , Rockenau , Heidelberg , Hirschhorn , Cannstatt as well as the Oberesslingen power plant , the Oberesslingen rifle brigade and the two Neckar bridges in Heidelberg and Heilbronn . The execution of individual systems dragged on until the 1930s.

An important focus in Bonatz's work was the architectural design of bridge structures - a topic that he had dealt with repeatedly since the beginning of his career (1904, see above). From 1934 onwards, Bonatz was not only active as an artistic advisor, but primarily in the context of the construction of the Autobahn, which was accompanied by National Socialist propaganda, in the bridge construction. There were frequent collaborations with the bridge construction engineers Emil Mörsch , Karl Schaechterle , Gottwalt Schaper and Fritz Leonhardt .

Post-war buildings


  • 1949: Honorary member of the Swabian Heimatbund
  • 1952: Admission to the Pour le Mérite Order
  • 1958/59: The city of Stuttgart donates the undoped Paul Bonatz Prize , which is awarded “for special merits and achievements in the field of architecture or urban development” within the Stuttgart area .


  • Kunsthalle Tübingen , Paul Bonatz: Living and Building between Neckar and Bosporus , March 12 to May 22, 2011


"The construction of the train station in Stuttgart is the most important chapter for my development as a builder."

- Paul Bonatz : Living and Building. P. 61


“I've always liked the Stuttgart train station. His architect may have been a bit conservative. But he was a very good architect. "

- Peter Zumthor


  • Living and building. Engelhornverlag Adolf Spemann, Stuttgart 1950.
  • with Fritz Leonhardt : Bridges. Langewiesche, Königstein im Taunus 1951 ( Die Blauen Bücher series ).


  • Helmut Gebhard on Paul Bonatz. In: Winfried Nerdinger : South German building tradition in the 20th century. Architects of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts. Georg DW Callwey, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-7667-0771-X , pp. 119–123.
  • Rose Hajdu, Ulrike Seeger: Stuttgart Central Station. A landmark in pictures. Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7995-0879-7 .
  • Gerd Kaldewei (Ed.): Paul Bonatz (1877–1956). Buildings and projects in the north. (= Writings of the museums of the city of Delmenhorst , Stadtmuseum series, Volume 7.) Aschenbeck & Holstein, Delmenhorst 2005, ISBN 3-932292-92-8 . (Accompanying publication to the special exhibition of the museums of the city of Delmenhorst Paul Bonatz (1877–1956) - Buildings and Projects in the North from July 24th to September 4th, 2005 in Oldenburg as part of the project Century Step 05 )
  • Joachim Knape, Anton Schindling (ed.): Facade messages. On the history of monuments and the program of the Tübingen portrait gallery at the Bonatz building. (= Gratia , Volume 56.) Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2016, ISBN 978-3-447-10639-9 .
  • Fernanda de Maio: water works. Paul Bonatz. The Neckar barrages. 2nd edition, Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-929085-53-4 .
  • Roland May: Pontifex maximus. The architect Paul Bonatz and the bridges. Monsenstein and Vannerdat , Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-86991-176-2 .
  • Matthias Roser: The Stuttgart main station. A forgotten masterpiece of architecture. Silberburg Verlag, Stuttgart 1987, ISBN 3-925344-13-6 .
  • Matthias Roser: Paul Bonatz. Residential houses. Hatje, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-7757-0305-5 .
  • Matthias Roser: The Stuttgart main station. From cultural monument to demolition candidate? Butterfly, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-89657-133-5 .
  • Bonatz, Paul . In: Hans Vollmer (Hrsg.): General Lexicon of Fine Artists of the XX. Century. tape 5 : V-Z. Supplements: A-G . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1961, p. 323 .
  • Wolfgang Voigt, Roland May (ed.): Paul Bonatz (1877–1956). Wasmuth, Tübingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8030-0729-2 .
  • Ralf Werner Wildermuth: The Bonatz building of the Tübingen University Library. Functional library architecture at the beginning of the 20th century (= Contubernium , Volume 30.) Mohr, Tübingen 1985, ISBN 3-16-444977-1 .
  • Ulf Scharrer: A house for the school. The Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen. (Supplement to: 100 Years of Schubart-Gymnasium Aalen 1912–2012. ) Aalen 2014, ISBN 978-3-00-046846-9 .
  • Marc Hirschfell, Wolfgang Voigt: Paul Bonatz. Buildings on the Rhine and Neckar. Wasmuth, Tübingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8030-0754-4 .

Web links

Commons : Paul Bonatz  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. s. List of members in the catalog of the 3rd German Artists Association , Weimar 1906. P. 40. online (accessed May 30, 2017)
  2. quoted from: Ursula Mucheler: The uselessness of the Eiffel Tower . CH Beck 2005, ISBN 978-3-406-57523-5 , pp. 209-217, 211
  3. ^ Letter to Georg Steinmetz 1935, according to the catalog for the 2017 Bartning exhibition at the Academy of Arts, Berlin.
  4. Roland May: Pontifex maximus. The architect Paul Bonatz and the bridges. Monsenstein and Vannerdat, Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-86991-176-2 , p. 463.
  5. Roland May: Pontifex maximus. The architect Paul Bonatz and the bridges. Monsenstein and Vannerdat, Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-86991-176-2 , p. 472.
  6. Architectural character pictures (portfolio), 3rd year 1909, plate 28. ( digitized at the ULB Darmstadt)
  7. ^ Paul Bonatz, the architect of the Mörike grammar school in Göppingen
  8. Information board 4.11, Friedrichshafen History Trail
  9. ^ Paul Faerber: The Roser House in Stuttgart (architects P. Bonatz and FE Scholer) . In: Decorative art, illustrated magazine for applied arts , vol. 31 = 26th year 1922/1923, pp. 113–118. ( Digitized version )
  10. ^ Heinrich de Fries (ed.): Modern villas and country houses. 3rd edition, Wasmuth, Berlin 1925, p. 147 (images).
  11. Panorama circular hike to the Memorial House of the Black Forest Association. Retrieved April 7, 2019 .
  12. ^ On the houses in Cologne by Arch. Paul Bonatz Stuttgart. In: Decorative art, illustrated magazine for applied art , vol. 36 = 31st year 1927/1928, pp. 1–9. ( Digitized version )
  13. ^ Hiltrud Kier : List of monuments Cologne old town and Deutz . Ed .: State Conservator Rhineland . tape 12.1 . Rheinland Verlag, Cologne 1979, ISBN 3-7927-0455-2 , p. 44 .
  14. Bonatz ( currently Istanbul ) was appointed as part of the 40th anniversary of the federal government on May 22, 1949: Honor roll. In: Schwäbisches Heimatbuch 1949. Ed. By Felix Schuster on behalf of the Schwäbisches Heimatbund. Stuttgart [1949], pp. 176-177, p. 176.
  15. ^ Secretariat of the Order Pour le Mérite for Sciences and Arts at the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media
  16. ^ Paul Bonatz Prize at , last accessed on April 11, 2012.
  17. You see, I was right. In: Der Spiegel. No. 50/13. December 2010, p. 144.