Reinhard Gieselmann In Search of Style / Auf der Suche nach Stil
Rediscovering a major architect: Reinhard Gieselmann, born 1925, is one of those who were not satisfied, shortly after studying in the post-war period, with explaining building simply as meeting functional needs. »Technology is not art ..., form expresses intellectual content«, he postulated in 1960, with his friend and long-term fellow- traveller Oswald Mathias Ungers, in a programmatic »Manifesto for a new architecture«. Here their own position of determined subjectivity was set against the credo of rationality, functionalism and formal self-limitation conveyed by their teacher Egon Eiermann. Seeing architecture as a sensual experience, design as a »search of style« runs through all Gieselmann’s numerous theoretical statements, which mark him out as a sensitive thinker. His extensive built work, focussing on housing and church architecture, is characterized by powerfully three-dimensional buildings, dramatic spatial effects, sophisticated handling of light and explicit material effects. Aalto and the late Le Corbusier, whom Gieselmann met personally, provide orientation points for an individual neo-Expressionism that was striking in the quality of its formal language even in the contemporary context, as the many publications of the buildings themselves in international specialist magazines show. After his appointment to the Technical University in Vienna after the years in Karlsruhe, a second phase of his life started from 1970. This entailed practical tasks relating to social housing in the city of Vienna, as well as his teaching activities. In the years in Vienna, sociological questions and the subject of urban repair also led to his coming to terms with Postmodernism. The documentation of his work, which adds interesting perspective to the view of the sixties that has now become topical again, is complemented by a selection of Gieselmann’s texts and an introduction to his work. Gerhard Kabierske is a graduate art historian concentrating his research on the 19th and 20th centuries. After monument-conservation activities he worked at Karlsruhe University for a decade, where his work has included taking care of Reinhard Gieselmann’s work archive, as curator of the Südwestdeutsches Archiv für Architektur und Ingenieurbau.