Herta Hammerbacher


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(1900–85), German landscape architect, member of the Society for Experimental and Applied Ecology, founding member of the Karl Foerster Foundation for Applied Vegetation Science. After an apprenticeship in Potsdam-Sanssouci from 1917 to 1919 and training at the Teaching and Research Institute for Horticulture in Berlin-Dahlem from 1924 to 1926 she began working as a landscape architect in the garden planning department of the firm Ludwig Späth, Berlin. From 1928 until 1948 she collaborated with Karl Foerster and Hermann Mattern, her husband from 1928 until 1935. In 1950 she became the first woman professor of landscape architecture at a German university, becoming emeritus professor at the Technical University Berlin in 1969. She designed numerous private gardens, parks, cemeteries, school playgrounds, and open space surrounding hospitals, industry, and in residential communities. Her work was influenced by the progress in ecology and plant sociology in the early 20th century, and the nature garden as propagated by Willy Lange. She designed gardens as outdoor rooms mediating between the architecture and surrounding countryside. Her modelled undulating lawns won her the nickname of ‘Mulden-Herta’ (‘Herta-Hollows’). After the Second World War she promoted city planning with integrated landscape plans, and based on topography. Her own designs culminated in the visionary cityscape for Ratingen-West (1966). Besides publishing her work in short articles she produced an overview of the development and design characteristics of Berlin private gardens from the late 19th century until the early 1970s (‘Die Hausgärten’, Berlin und seine Bauten, Vol. C: No. 4 (1975).

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.

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