Friedrich Weinbrenner


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The most important architect working in South-West Germany in the first quarter of the C19. Having met Genelli, David Gilly, and Langhans in Berlin in the early 1790s, he was introduced to the severe Franco-Prussian Neo-Classicism that was to inform his work for the rest of his life. After a period in Rome (1792–7) he studied the ruins of the Greek temples at Paestum and Sicily, and later prepared the illustrations for Die Baukunst nach den Grundsätzen der Alten (Architecture According to the Principles of the Ancients) by Alois Hirt (1759–1834) of 1809. Most of his buildings were erected in Karlsruhe, which he transformed into the Neo-Classical Grand-Ducal capital of Baden from the time he was engaged as a State official in 1797 until his death. He superimposed a sequence of urban spaces over the existing town-plan, including the Marktplatz (Market Place—1797–1826) with a pyramid at its centre, the whole modelled on urban spaces in Antiquity. His Schloss-strasse (Castle Street—begun 1799) led to the severely Doric Ettlinger Tor (Ettlinger Gate) of 1803, and was composed as a series of episodes, asymmetrically disposed, giving a Picturesque effect more varied than that of Nash's Regent Street in London. All Weinbrenner's buildings in Karlsruhe were of an impressively grand, if severe, quality, especially the Roman Catholic Church of St Stephen (1804–14), which was inspired by the Pantheon and the Imperial thermae in Rome, and by the Graeco-Egyptian Gothic Synagogue (1798—destroyed 1871), one of his most eclectic compositions. His startlingly bold scheme for the Langestrasse (1808), with both sides lined by a continuous colonnade of plain arches carried on slender undecorated piers, was not realized, but was an inspiration for certain C20 Neo-Rationalists (notably Grassi). He was responsible for six of the major public buildings, including the Sculpture Gallery (1804), and Kurhaus (Assembly Rooms (1821–4) at Baden-Baden. Weinbrenner published Architektonisches Lehrbuch (Architectural Textbook—1810–17) and Ausgeführte und projektierte Gebäude (Executed and Projected Buildings—1822–35). His ideas for Karlsruhe and his style were effectively ended by his successor Hübsch.

D. Brownlee (1986);Elbert (1988);Leiber (1991);Placzek (ed.) (1982);Jane Turner (1996);Valdenaire (1919, 1926, 1976);Watkin & Mellinghoff (1987)

Subjects: Architecture.

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