Ungers, Oswald Mathias

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Ungers, Oswald Mathias (1926–2007). German architect. Among his buildings his own house at Belvederestrasse, Köln-Müngersdorf (1959), stands out as an unusually crisp and rigorous essay in simple blocky geometrical forms for its time. He became one of the more influential architects of the late C20, as a theorist and a builder of exemplars, and, more especially, as a forceful opponent of International Modernism. His mature works include the German Architecture Museum, Schaumainkai, Frankfurt-am-Main (1979–84), the Baden State Library, Karlsruhe (1979–84), and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research, Bremerhaven (1980–4). In these projects Ungers investigated morphologies and transformations, the contexts in which the buildings were to stand, and historical references. His work has a serenity and a geometrical integrity unusual in post-war German architecture. He and Kleihues have been two of the most influential exponents of Rational architecture or Neo-Rationalism in Germany. Ungers has published extensively, including Quadratische Häuser (Quadratic Houses—1983). In his belief that architecture must reflect the genius loci, history, and evolution, he displays a rare sensitivity.


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