Three designs for Houses in Dresden-Hellerau
  • Hans Poelzig
  • Berlin 1869 - 1936
  • Three designs for Houses in Dresden-Hellerau, 1921
  • Coloured chalks over pencil, on creme paper
  • 270 × 450 mm
Estate of the architect, Berlin
The Poelzig family (until 2014)

From 1889 to 1894, Hans Poelzig studied at the Royal Technical University at Charlottenburg in his hometown of Berlin. By 1899, he had gained employment as a government architect in the Prussian Ministry of Public Works. Poelzig’s creative career first began, however, after his appointment to the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Breslau several years later. As its director, he soon cultivated the institute into one of the most advanced architecture schools in the German-speaking lands and also into a melting pot of expressionistic ideas in building construction.

In 1916, Poelzig succeeded Hans Erlwein as the city architect of Dresden, and three years later became the Chairman of the German Werkbund (Work Federation), which he influenced decisively; even today, this association is representative of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) in architecture.

After 1920, Poelzig worked once again in Berlin, ran a master studio at the Academy of the Arts, and became a professor of architecture at his old university in 1923. His work was honoured in 1931, still during his lifetime, with an exhibition in the Academy of the Arts under the title Hans Poelzig and his School. After the Nazis seized power, he was forced to give up all his offices, and only his unexpected death preempted his planned emigration to Ankara.

Poelzig left behind a defining corpus of works – not only as an architect, but also as a stage designer, painter, and set designer – that still bears witness to his visionary style. Aside from some study drawings in the family’s private collection, Poelzig’s artistic legacy has long been located in the architecture museum of the Technical University in Berlin.

This colour study shows three sketches for variously structured house façades and roof shapes of new buildings at the German Workshops in Dresden-Hellerau. The designs provided for construction in wood and stone, with façades in expressively vibrant colours and with dormers, which were to be jauntily shaped like ox-eye oculi (Ochsenaugen). These plans, however, were never realized.