Werkbund Theater
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Architect Henry van de Velde
Location Cologne, Germany
Date 1914   timeline
Building Type theater
 Construction System concrete frame
Climate temperate
Style Art Nouveau, Modern




Discussion Werkbund Theater Commentary

"In this reinforced concrete theatre, built expressly for the Werkbund Exhibition, van de Velde succeeded in creating a theatrical space which was capable of accommodating a wide variety of dramatic performances ranging from modest pageant plays to symbolist and realist pieces which were more suited to the proscenium stage. Its mass wall and reinforced concrete frame construction, rendered over so as to form an homogenous and plastic expression, was to serve as a point of departure for the postwar work of Eric Mendelsohn; above all for the small observatory that Mendelsohn built for Einstein in Potsdam in 1920. The brooding telluric mass of the Werkbund theatre, reminiscent in many respects of Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical form, was to mark that point in van de Velde's career when the more animate 'form force' aesthetic of his early furniture gave way to the much more solid, not to say ponderous expression."

— Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. p191.

Sources on Werkbund Theater

Kenneth Frampton. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. ISBN 0-8478-0506-9. LC 83-61363. NA642.F7 1983. plan drawing, discussion, p191. — Available at

Semback Klaus-Jurgen. Henry van de Velde. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1989. photo of entrance, p195. photo of interior auditorium, p196.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. plan drawing, exterior photo, p229. 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

Michael Raeburn, ed. Architecture of the Western World. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-8478-0349-x. NA200.A73. LC 80-50659. axonometric drawing, p252.

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


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