German architecture

views updated May 17 2018

German architecture Architecture of Germany including, in its early days, that of Austria. The earliest surviving buildings date from Charlemagne. They are in the Romanesque style, at its best in Worms Cathedral (built c.1180). Romanesque was superseded by Gothic, seen in ecclesiastical architecture and provincial buildings, such as the Rathaus (Ger. ‘town hall’) typical of ne German towns. There is little Renaissance architecture in Germany, an exception being the rebuilt façade of the Rathaus in Bremen. The Baroque period extended into the rococo, examples including the elaborate Church of the Vierzehnheiligen (‘Fourteen Saints’, 1772) by Balthasar Neuman, and masterpieces by Fischer von Erlach and Matthaeus Pöppelmann. In the late 1700s, neo-classicism inspired buildings in Berlin and Munich by Friedrich Schinkel, Leo von Klenze and others. New materials such as cast iron were exploited, as in Vienna's Dianabad by Karl Etzel (1843). Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus dominated the beginning of the 20th century. In the 1930s, Mies van der Rohe exemplified the International style, which was replaced by the re-adoption of neo-classicism under Hitler, with ‘official’ Nazi architect Albert Speer. After World War II, most new buildings adopted principles of expressionism or modernism.