Otto Bartning (1883–1959). Architekt einer sozialen Moderne

Otto Bartning – Life and Oeuvre

Otto Bartning, around 1930

Stahlkirche on the grounds of the International Press Exhibition (Pressa), Cologne, 1928

Siedlung Siemensstadt, Wohnzeile, Nordfassade, Berlin, 1930

Gustav-Adolf-Kirche, Berlin, 1934

Internationale Bauausstellung Interbau 1957, Berlin

1883 Born on 12 April in Karlsruhe to overseas merchant Carl Christian Georg Otto Bartning and his wife Jenny Doll. Otto Bartning was the fifth of their six children

1902–1907 Studies architecture in Berlin and Karlsruhe. Bartning leaves university without completing an academic degree

1904 World tour, March to December

from 1905 First commissions for churches and country houses. Founds his own architectural office in Berlin

1908 Appointed to the Deutscher Werkbund. Bartning is interested in a number of reform movements, cultivating contacts to leading figures such as Paul Schultze-Naumburg and Otto March in Berlin as well as Hermann Billing, Max Laeuger and Karl Moser in Karlsruhe

1909 Marries Klara Fuchs. Their children Marianne, Peter and Sibylle are born in 1910, 1913 and 1917

1914–1918 Bartning is exempted from military service in the First World War. Writes Vom neuen Kirchbau (published 1919), a seminal work for advancing the development of Protestant church architecture

from 1918 Member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Workers Council for Art), participates in several November Group exhibitions

1922 Design and model of the Expressionist Sternkirche (not built)

1924 Co-founds the Zehnerring (Ring of Ten) avant-garde architects’ association (known as Der Ring after 1926), joining Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Bruno and Max Taut, Erich Mendelsohn and others in advocating an architecture suited to the modern age

1926 Designs the German Pavilion at the Milan Fair

from 1926 Plans and realises a number of hospitals, residential blocks on housing estates and social housing projects, primarily in Berlin

1926–1930 Director of the Staatliche Hochschule für Handwerk und Baukunst (College of Architecture) in Weimar

1928 Presents his Stahlkirche, an innovative church assembled from steel elements on the grounds of the International Press Exhibition (Pressa), Cologne

1929/30–1934 Designs and builds the Auferstehungskirche (Church of the Resurrection) in Essen and the Gustav-Adolf-Kirche in Berlin

1933–1945 Churches for the Evangelical Church and the Department for External Church Relations designed and built in Lisbon, Heerlen, Belgrade, Barcelona and other cities in Europe and abroad

1941 Founder and head of the site office at the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) in Heidelberg (until 1949)

1942 Bartning’s architectural office in Berlin is destroyed in a bombing raid

1943 Moves to Neckarsteinach near Heidelberg

from 1946 Head of the building department of the Evangelical relief organisation, drafts the emergency church programme, builds emergency churches, chapels for diaspora congregations as well as community centres

from 1950 President of the Association of German Architects (BDA)

1951 Organises and heads the 2nd Darmstädter Gespräch (Darmstadt Discussions) on “Mensch und Raum” (People and Space)
Moves to Darmstadt

from 1952 Vice-President of the Deutscher Werkbund

from 1953 German representative in the International Union of Architects (UIA)

1954–1957 Head of the International Building Exhibition Berlin (Interbau)

from 1955 Adviser on urban planning to the city of West Berlin
Co-founder of the Architecture Section, Akademie der Künste, (West) Berlin

1959 Otto Bartning dies in Darmstadt on 20 February