May, Ernst

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May, Ernst (1886–1970). German architect and disciple of the Garden City movement, he studied first in London (1907–8), then in Darmstadt (1908–10), before working with Unwin (1910–12). He completed his studies in Munich under Fischer and Thiersch (1912–13). Director of the Silesian Building Department, Breslau (now Wrocław), from 1919 to 1925, he produced the Development Plan for the City, and had to deal with the huge influx of German refugees from Poland. From 1925 to 1930 he was Stadtbaurat (Director of Town Planning and Building) at Frankfurtam-Main, where he designed the famous Römerstadt Housing Development (1926–30) and other schemes incorporating English low-density ideas with the architectural language of the International Modernist style, using prefabricated industrialized systems. From 1926 to 1930 he edited Das neue Frankfurt (New Frankfurt) and promoted his ideas about housing, transport, and pollution as well as publishing proposals for Berlin and planning generally. He moved to the Soviet Union in 1930, where he planned a series of new towns (the ‘May’ towns). From 1934 until 1945 he was in Africa, farming in Tanganyika and practising as an architect-planner in Kenya, but was interned as an enemy alien in 1940–2. Returning to Europe in 1953, he carried out many housing developments in Hamburg and elsewhere in West Germany. He edited Das schlesische Heim (The Silesian Home—1919–25) and Die Neue Heimat (The New Homeland—1954–60).


Architectural Association, xi/1 (1979), 39–62;
Buekschmitt (1963);
Kalman (1994);
Fischer & Höpfner (1986);
Herrel (2001);
Korn (1953);
Me. Miller (1992);
Jane Turner (1996)