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Wilhelm Kreis

(1873—1955)


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(1873–1955). German architect. Influenced by a growing taste in Wilhelmian Germany for national monuments of powerful, elemental, aggressive character (e.g. the work of Schmitz), he rose to the occasion with the many towers commemorating Bismarck erected to his designs. He was responsible for the Provincial Museum of Prehistory, Halle (1911–16), complete with massive cyclopean masonry and corner-towers slightly resembling the Roman Porta Nigra at Trier. After the 1914–18 war some of his work leant towards Expressionism, such as the exhibition-buildings and art-museum by the banks of the Rhine at Düsseldorf (1925–6), including the circular Rheinhalle (Rhine Hall) with its lozenge-patterned brickwork, buttresses, openings topped by inverted Vs, and a stalactite vault inside recalling Poelzig's work. In the 1930s Kreis turned to a monumental stripped Neo-Classical style for buildings proposed for Speer's new plan for Berlin, and he looked to Boullée and Gilly for precedents for his gigantic smoking cones and other memorials (Totenburgen, or Fortresses of the Dead) designed (but never realized—see Kreis's Soldatengräber und Gedenkstätten (War Graves and Commemorative Sites—1944)) to commemorate the German ‘sacrifice and victory’ of the 1939–45 war.

From A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Architecture.


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