EM | Rudolf Schwarz (1897-1961) - Thinking and Building

  Interior view of the church Sankt Fronleichnam in Aachen and the Museum of Applied Arts in Cologne Copyright: © Moritz Bernoully and Raimond Spekking (mod.)  

Rudolf Schwarz (1897-1961) was one of the most important German architects of the 20th century. He gained international recognition and fame as a church builder with the construction of the ascetic Corpus Christi church in Aachen (1929/30) and numerous remarkable churches in the post-war period. His work, however, went far beyond that: Thus, his diverse oeuvre includes not only outstanding urban planning projects, such as the reconstruction of the city of Cologne after World War II (1946-51), but also profane building projects, including today's Museum of Applied Art in Cologne (1951-57), and last but not least, profound architectural theoretical writings on church construction and urban planning (Wegweisung der Technik, 1928; Vom Bau der Kirche, 1938; Von der Bebauung der Erde, 1949; Kirchenbau - Welt vor der Schwelle, 1960).

The seminar will provide an overview of the architect's complete written and built oeuvre. Accompanying the analysis of his best-known sacred and profane buildings, we will approach the thinking of Rudolf Schwarz, who saw himself as a master builder, through the joint reading of his theoretical writings. The basis is the extensive monograph "Rudolf Schwarz. Architekt einer anderen Moderne" by the architectural historian Wolfgang Pehnt.



Elective Module
B.Sc. and M. Sc. | various semesters


Introduction and assignment of topics: Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 6pm, via Zoom
Regular meetings: Fridays, 10:00am to 11:30am, via Zoom or Microsoft Teams (from 6 November 2020)
Submission: Friday, March 12, 2021

If the situation permits, one or two day excursions to buildings by Rudolf Schwarz, e.g. in Aachen and Cologne, could be made during the lecture-free period after the end of the seminar.


Dr.-Ing. Caroline Helmenstein