Branca, Alexander, Freiherr von

(b. 1919)

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(1919– ).

Munich-born architect. He set up his own practice in the Bavarian capital in 1950, and produced many distinguished buildings in which his beliefs in the necessity of continuity through tradition and in the symbolic value of ‘supertemporal’ architecture were expressed. His religious buildings, including the mortuary-chapel at the Monastery and Church (1965–8), Chapel and School (1973–77), Guest-House and Mortuary Chapel (1980–2), and Father Joseph Kentneich Reception-Hall (1982–3), all at Schönstatt, are powerful compositions (the Mortuary Chapel is particularly moving, while his conservation work at Regensburg Altstadt (from 1981) demonstrated both a comprehensive approach and considerable sensitivity. Outstanding is his Neue Pinakothek Art Gallery, Munich (1973–81), a boldly modelled modelled with excellent lighting for viewing pictures. Other works include the Church and Parish-Centre of St Thomas More, Neusäss, Augsburg (1970–4), the Library, University of Regensburg (1970–4), the RC Academy of St Ulrich, Augsburg (1971–5), the Student Union, Würzburg (1977–9), the Woodland Cemetery, Leutkirch (1977–82), the Raiffeisen-Zentralbank office building, Munich (1978–81), the German Embassy to the Holy See, Vatican City (1979–84), the WVG office and commercial building, Munich (1980–3), and the Municipal Hall, Frankenthal (1989). To von Branca (as is evident from his work), architecture involved a high seriousness of purpose, for architecture lives and can reveal much about life, as well as enhancing it (conversely, of course, bad architecture depresses life and destroys pleasure). His many prizes and honours testify to his distinguished contribution to German architecture since the 1950s, yet his work is not well known in the UK or USA.

Kalman (1994);Pantheon, ii (1981), 104–9;Stark (1998);Walz (ed.) (1996);personal knowledge

Subjects: Architecture.

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