German architect from Silesia (now in Poland), he became Oberbaurat (Chief Building Officer) in Breslau (now Wrocław), designing a number of Palladianesque buildings influenced by Erdmannsdorff's work at Schloss Wörlitz. These included a new wing for the Palais Hatzfeld, Breslau (1765–75—destroyed); the Samotwór Palace (1776–81), with a serliana as the frontispiece-porch; the noble Mielżyński Palace, Pawłowice (1779–87), with its corps-de-logis linked to the handsome service-wings by arcaded quadrants; and several elliptical Protestant churches. In 1788 King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (1786–97) summoned Langhans to Berlin (with David Gilly and Erdmannsdorff) in order to make the capital a major cultural centre. There, Langhans created one of the pioneering monuments of the Greek Revival, the Brandenburg Gate (1789–94), inspired by Le Roy's reconstruction of the Athenian Propylaea in Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grèce (1758), and the first building based on the Antique prototype. The gate was greatly admired by all who saw it, and influenced Thomas Hope when he argued for a Greek Revival design for Downing College, Cambridge. It was also the model for Thomas Harrison's propylaeum at Chester Castle (1811–13), and von Klenze's Propyläen, Königsplatz (King's Square), Munich (1817, built 1846–60).
Langhans designed several theatres, including the State Theatre, Potsdam (1795), which had a severely Neo-Classical façade, and the unadventurous Royal Theatre, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin (1800–2—which burned down in 1817 and was replaced by Schinkel's Schauspielhaus (play-house). He designed the Gothick top for the tower of the Marienkirche (Church of St Mary), Berlin (1789–90).
Arenhövel et al. (1979);Bauch (1966);Hinrichs (1909);Kalinowski (1977);Lampugnani (ed.) & Robertson (1984);Jane Turner (1996);Wasmuth & Muthesius (1987)