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Erich Mendelsohn and the Architecture of German Modernism


  • 120 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 350 pages
  • Size: 253 x 177 mm
  • Weight: 0.82 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 720/.92
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: NA1088.M57 J36 1997
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Mendelsohn, Erich,--1887-1953--Criticism and interpretation
    • Expressionism (Architecture)--Germany
    • Functionalism (Architecture)--Germany

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521571685 | ISBN-10: 0521571685)

Erich Mendelsohn's buildings, erected throughout Germany between 1920 and 1932, epitomised architectural modernity for his countrymen. This study examines his department stores, office buildings, and cinemas, counterparts to the famous housing projects built during the same years in Frankfurt and Berlin. Demonstrating the degree to which their dynamic presence stemmed from Mendelsohn's attention to their consumer-oriented functions, James shows Mendelsohn to be more than an Expressionist, as he is usually characterised. James recounts how his architecture closely reflects the controversies over modernity, including relativity, consumerism, and urban planning, that raged during the years of the Weimar Republic. She also illustrates how much Mendelsohn's thriving practice depended on the patronage of fellow German Jews, many of whom shared his commitment to creating alternatives to the nationalistic historicism of the late Wilhelmine period.

• First monograph to encompass the most important phase of Mendelsohn's career • Situates Mendelsohn's architecture in the context of wide-ranging debates about modernism during the Weimar Republic • Argues for the importance of sites of consumption (department stores) as well as production (factories) to definitions of modern German architecture


1. A concrete monument to relativity; 2. Rhythms of motors and speed of life: the appeal of foreign modernisms; 3. The docking of the Mauretania and other experiments in 'style Mendelsohn'; 4. An architecture of the metropolis; 5. Advertising, transparency and light: no Rococo Palace for Buster Keaton; 6. Banana wholesalers and combines that run department stores; 7. A splendid demonstration of the modern spirit; Conclusion.

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