Emil Steffann

  Brick facade of a church in front of a blue sky Copyright: © Caroline Helmenstein  

Emil Steffann | Themes of his Life, Elements of his Architecture (working title)

The architect Emil Steffann (1899-1968) is one of the most important church architects of his generation. After he had already achieved fame among experts with the Corpus Christi church in Lübeck in 1932 as well as with the "Scheunenkirche" (barn church) built in 1942 in Boust, Lorraine – the archetype of his later church buildings – he and his studio built around 40 churches and monasteries in the short period between 1950 and 1968 – all developed from the individual task and yet unmistakably following his architectural language.
This reflects recurring "inner images" that have impressed themselves on him in the course of his life, as well as his conviction that architecture emerges from the truth of the material, the logic of the construction, the conditions of the site and the meaning of the task. Accordingly, Emil Steffann's architecture did not follow any time-bound fashion; instead, his archetypal building forms can be classified as simultaneously rooted in tradition and valid beyond time.

Within the framework of the research project, the complete oeuvre of Emil Steffann – his realized as well as his unbuilt designs – will be analyzed in the sense of a scientific "design research of architecture" and comprehensively processed in new plan drawings and photographs. In addition to the buildings themselves, documents from the architect's estate in the archive of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt as well as archival materials from city, diocese and parish archives will be examined.
In addition, the influence of the architectural motifs used by Steffann in the work of architects who later became known and who worked closely with him, such as Heinz Bienefeld, Nikolaus Rosiny and Gisberth Hülsmann, will be examined.

A research grant proposal based on extensive preliminary work to continue the research project is currently in preparation.



Dr.-Ing. Caroline Helmenstein