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Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel
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Location Berlin, Germany   map
Date 1821   timeline
Building Type theater
 Construction System bearing masonry, cut stone
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Greek Revival
Notes Rigorous transposition of classical Greek, using Ionic order.


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Perspective Drawing

Discussion Schauspielhaus Commentary

"The moderately large stage offered an opportunity for the desired traditional deep flats, but was also equipped for the shallower stage with backdrop. Both were made possible by the development of the fly tower, with the technical scenery system above, top lighting, machinery underneath, orchestra pit, and the semicircular auditorium with its new scheme of tiers, consisting of boxes and a balcony projecting in front of them optically and acoustically directed towards the stage. Schinkel wanted to reform theatre design, yet here he had to find an architecturally comprehensive solution to the problem under limiting conditions. He succeeded in harmonizing ideal forms with functional and economic requirements.

"The Schauspielhaus was restored after was damage, with extensive internal alterations, forming a large concert hall."

— from Michael Snodin, ed. Karl Friedrich Schinkel: A Universal Man. p123.

The Creator's Words

"I observed a great vast store of forms that had already come into being, deposited in the world over many millennia of development among very different peoples. But at the same time I saw that our use of this accumulated store of often very heterogeneous objects was arbitrary. Every particular form is possessed of a distinctive charm, further heightened by the dark presentiment of a necessary motif, be it historical or constructive, the use of which will lead you astray. You think it will endow your work with a special appeal...what in its primitive manifestation in an ancient work produced a highly gratifying effect was often positively disagreeable to me when employed in new works of the present day. It became particularly clear to me that the source of the lack of character and style from which so many new buildings seem to suffer is to be found in such arbitrariness in the use [of past forms].

"It became a lifetime's task for me to gain clarity on this issue. But the more deeply I penetrated into the matter, the greater the difficulties that stood in the way of my efforts. Very soon I fell into the error of pure arbitrary abstraction, and developed the entire conception of a particular work exclusively from its most immediate trivial function and from its construction. This gave rise to something dry and rigid, and lacking in freedom, that entirely excluded two essential elements: the historical and the poetical."

— Karl Schinkel. from Michael Snodin, ed. Karl Friedrich Schinkel: A Universal Man. p47-48.

Sources on Schauspielhaus

James Stevens Curl. Classical Architecture: an introduction to its vocabulary and essentials, with a select glossary of terms. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992. ISBN 0-442-30896-5. NA260.C87. photo of facade with its prohexastyle Greek Ionic portico, f2.28, p32.

Christine Flon, ed. The World Atlas of Architecture. London: Mitchell Beazley International, 1984. exterior drawing, p347.

Claude Mignot. Architecture of the Nineteenth Century in Europe. New York: Rizzoli, 1984. NA957.M5313. ISBN 0-8478-0530-I. LC 83-43266. perspective, p44.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. exterior perspective rendering, p211. Reprint edition: Da Capo Press, April 1991. ISBN 0-3068-0436-0. — An accessible, inspiring and informative overview of world architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at

Hermann G. Pundt. Schinkel's Berlin: A Study in Environmental Planning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972. ISBN 674-79095-2. LC 75-172325. NA1088.S3P86. perspective drawing of the view from the southwest, f70, p135.

Michael Snodin. Karl Friedrich Schinkel: A Universal Man. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-300-05165-4. LC 91-50586. NA1088.S3A4 1991. discussion p47-48, 123. interior photo of the concert hall, plate 63, p65. exterior photo of facade, plate 18, p18.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Schauspielhaus


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