The lily, client and measure of Bruno Taut’s Glashaus

Nielsen, David & Kumarasuriyar, Anoma C. (2014) The lily, client and measure of Bruno Taut’s Glashaus. Architectural Research Quarterly, 18(3), pp. 257-266.

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The Glashaus is considered a significant exemplar of early modernist architecture and is generally accepted as having had Expressionist origins. However, current research has revealed that the design origins of this important building are not fully understood. While the historical record acknowledges the contributions of the bohemian poet Paul Scheerbart and the art critic Adolf Behne, the role of the Glashaus’ architect, Bruno Taut, has been moderated. In an attempt to rectify this situation this article proposes that the design origins of the Glashaus can be found in a strong architect-client interaction. It is argued that the Glashaus’ client, the Deutsche Luxfer Prismen Syndikat under the directorship of Frederick Keppler, exerted a significant influence on its design. In order to showcase the glazed products of Luxfer in the best manner possible, Keppler insisted that the design feature a glazed dome, electric lighting, a fountain as well as a cascade. Given the detailed stipulations of this brief, Taut had few options other than to offer interpretations of precedent that derived from the Victoria regia lily and Gothic proportioning. By expounding this architect-client relationship, this article expands our understanding of the Glashaus, and reinvigorates our understanding of this important early example of modern architecture.

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ID Code: 76210
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Bruno Taut, Glashaus, Victoria regia, Frederick Keppler, Deutsche Luxfer Prismen Syndikat, Gothic
DOI: 10.1017/S1359135514000608
ISSN: 1359-1355
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Architectural History and Theory (120103)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Cambridge University Press
Deposited On: 20 Nov 2014 23:27
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2014 17:59

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