Post office Dießen

1920s,architecture,post office,tradition — Benedikt @ 12:01 pm

This very impressive post office in the picturesque health resort Dießen am Ammersee from 1924 doesn’t have too many modernist features. It can be located far on the Heimatstil end of the architectural spectrum of the Bavarian Postbauschule. Unlike the more modern buildings of Robert Vorhoelzer, the main principle is symmetry: The entrance is exactly in the middle of the cube with three window axes on both sides. There are almost no hints to the function of the building – it could as well be a schoolhouse. But it fits the context well, being situated opposite of the old Ammerseebahn-train station from 1901.

Postamt Dießen (Robert Vorhoelzer, Alfred Bramigk, Guido Harbers, 1924)

Although Robert Vorhoelzer seems to have supervised this building, the main architects responsible for this building were Alfred Bramigk and Guido Harbers (1897-1977). The latter is known for the overall direction of the explementary settlement Ramersdorf (Mustersiedlung Ramersdorf, 1933-34), a contribution to the German Settlement Exhibition, and the Maikäfersiedlung in Munich (1935-37).

Sep Ruf’s Nazi buildings in Allach

1930s,architecture,education,munich,tradition — Benedikt @ 2:01 pm

Volksschule Allach (Sep Ruf, 1936-40)

This ensemble of buildings from the late 1930s in Munich-Allach could be seen as Sep Ruf’s darkest hour. While his single-family houses in Gräfelfing and Lochham have many modernist details like cubist shapes, pronounced horizontal windows that seem like ribbon glazings and of course rounded balconies, his Allach buildings are as far from Sep Ruf’s other buildings as possible. The ensemble consists of a primary school (Volksschule) built from 1936 to 1940, a 1937/38 built hostel for the League of German Girls (Bund Deutscher Mädels), the female branch of the Nazi party youth movement, a nursery and the “Hochlandheim”, a Hitler Youth hostel (Hitlerjugend-Heim) from 1938/39 that even won prizes on an exhibition for Nazi architecture.

Volksschule Allach (Sep Ruf, 1936-40)

One could argue that the buildings might be a hint too little monumental for official Nazi buildings, that they have a few windows too much compared with other educational facilities of the late 1930s – but all in all these buildings are not modern and have nothing in common with the Sep Ruf of the 1950s that became one of the most internationally acclaimed architects in Germany. These buildings were built as physical manifestations of Nazi ideology. Perhaps the only way for Sep Ruf, who had not been a member of the National Socialist party, to stay in business. But still this is conformism. I find myself asking, what these buildings do to the children visiting the kindergarten and school today. Is democratic education possible in Nazi surroundings?

HJ-Heim "Hochlandheim" Allach (Sep Ruf, 1938/39)

BDM-Heim mit Kinderhort Allach (Sep Ruf, 1937/38)

BDM-Heim mit Kinderhort Allach (Sep Ruf, 1937/38)

Hochbunker an der Volksschule Allach (Sep Ruf)


Kaufhof at Stachus


When this building had been built in 1950-51 by Theo Pabst, it had a euphoric touch to it. This Kaufhof had been the first new department store that had been built in Munich after Second World War. It was a symbol of the new economic growth and increasing affluence of the citizens. But as historians will tell you, there had not been a complete break with the nazi system (“Stunde Null“). Many of those involved in the daily crimes of the regime were back in power at this point of time. This especially holds true for the architects.

In my opinion this building is a very striking symbol of the mixture of break and continuity after the “Third Reich”. The left and larger part of the building which faces busy Sonnenstraße is modernist cube with grid facade and a flat pillared roof. But the right part of the building facing Bayerstraße looks much more conservative with its pitched roof. Munich city administration insisted on this design. Althogh both parts are joined together by a curved gallery which once had a terrace café, they convey a inharmonic impression. Modernity and tradition does not match all too well in this building.

Kaufhof und Justizpalast

Kaufhof am Stachus (Pabst, 1950/51)

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