German architect. A prominent member of the German Arts-and-Crafts movement, he was also influenced by the work of Schinkel and Thiersch. He published Der Wohnhausbau (The Dwelling House—1909, with later editions), illustrated with his own designs, and laid out several housing-schemes with pitched roofs, modelled on traditional types (e.g. State Electricity Company Workers' Housing, Trier (1906–7), and housing, Am Schänkenberg, at the Garden City, Hellerau, Dresden (1910–11) ). His best-known work is the Dalcroze Institute for Physical Education, Hellerau (1910–12), where he employed a rigorous, severe, stripped Classicism, especially in the forbidding tetrastyle in antis portico. With his school at Klotzsche, near Dresden (1925–7), and the Heinrich-Schütz School, Kassel (1927–30), Tessenow showed a tendency to move nearer the prevailing Rationalism of the period.
He was an important and influential teacher, and the 1914–18 war affected him deeply, moving his interests towards the creation of small towns and communities and drawing on craft-orientated buildings. In 1930–1 he converted Schinkel's guard-house (Neue Wache) on the Unter den Linden, Berlin, into a memorial to the dead of the 1914–18 war. He found it difficult to practise under the Nazi regime, but after the 1939–45 war he resumed teaching in Berlin and concerned himself with the reconstruction of old town centres, notably Lübeck (1947). He was a prolific writer, and interest in his architecture has grown since a major exhibition devoted to him in 1961, influencing Grassi and other protagonists of Rational architecture. Among his pupils was Speer.
K-P. Arnold (1991);J. Campbell (1978);K&K, xv (1917), 32–6, xxiv (1925), 55–60;Michelis (1991);Jane Turner (1996);Tessenow (1919, 1921, 1927, 1991);Wangerin & G. Weiss (1976);Wasmuths Monatshefte für Baukunst, ix (1925), 365–81