Reinhard Gieselmann: on the search of style

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Edition Axel Menges, May 9, 2007 - Architecture - 223 pages
Rediscovering a major architect: Reinhard Gieselmann, born 1925, is one of those who were not satisfied, shortly after studying in the postwar period, with explaining building simply as meeting functional needs. "Technoloqy is not art (...), form expresses intellectual content," he postulated in 1960, with his friend and longterm fellow-traveller Oswald Mathias Ungers, in a programmatic "manifesto for a new architecture." Here their own position of determined subjectivity was set against the credo of rationality, functionalism and formal self-limitation conveyed by their teacher Egon Eiermann. Seeing architecture as a sensual experience, design as a "search of style" runs through all Gieselmann's numerous theoretical statements, which mark him out as a sensitive thinker.
His extensive built work, focussing on housing and church architecture, is characterized by powerfully three-dimensional buildings, dramatic spatial effects, sophisticated handling of light and explicit material effects. Aalto and the late Le Corbusier, whom Gieselmann met personally, provide orientation points for an individual neo-Expressionism that was striking in the quality of its formal language even in the contemporary context, as the many publications of the buildings in international specialist magazines show. After his appointment to the Technische Universitat in Vienna after the years in Karlsruhe, a second phase of his life started in 1970. This entailed practical tasks relating to social housing in the city of Vienna, as well as his teaching activities. In the years in Vienna, sociological questions and the subject of urban repair also led to his coming to terms with Postmodernism.
The documentation of his work, which adds interesting perspective to the view of the sixties that has now become topical again, is complemented by a selection of Gieselmann's texts and an introduction to his work.

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