Gottfried Böhm

Born January 23, 1920 Offenbach, Hessen

Awards

Buildings Neviges Pilgrimage Church, Velbert
Bensberg City Hall

Gottfried Böhm (born January 23, 1920) is a German architect.

Life and career
Böhm was born into a family of architects in Offenbach, Hessen. His father, Dominikus Böhm, was renowned for having built numerous churches throughout Germany. His grandfather was also an architect. After graduating from Technical University of Munich in 1946, he studied sculpture at a nearby fine-arts academy. Böhm later integrated his skills in clay model making, which he learned during this time, into his design process.[1]

After graduating in 1947, Böhm worked for his father until the latter’s death in 1955 and later taking over the firm. During this period, he also worked with the “Society for the Reconstruction of Cologne” under Rudolf Schwarz. In 1951 he travelled to New York City, where he worked for six months in the architectural firm of Cajetan Baumann. While travelling in America he met two of his greatest inspirations, German architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

In the following decades Böhm constructed many buildings around Germany, including churches, museums, civic centres, office buildings, homes, and apartments. He has been considered to be both an expressionist and post-Bauhaus architect, but he prefers to define himself as an architect who creates “connections” between the past and the future, between the world of ideas and the physical world, between a building and its urban surroundings. In this vein, Böhm always envisions the colour, form, and materials of a building in relationship with its setting. His earlier projects were done mostly in molded concrete, but more recently he has begun using more steel and glass in his buildings, due to the technical advancements in both materials. His concern for urban planning is evident in many of his projects, again showing his concern for “connections”.

Böhm was married to Elizabeth Haggenmüller, also an architect, whom he met in 1948 while studying in Munich 1948. She assisted him in several of his projects, working mainly on interior designs.[2] They have four sons, three of whom are now architects.[1]

Notable buildings

Bensberg City Hall, seen against old castle
1947-50 St. Columba Church, Cologne, Germany
1962-69 Bensberg City Hall, Germany
1968-72 Pilgrimage Church, Neviges, Germany
1968-70 Christi Auferstehung (Church of Resurrection), Cologne, Germany
Awards
1968 – Architecture Prize of German Architects, Münster
1971 – Architecture Prize of the Association of German Architects, Düsseldorf
1974 – Berlin Art Prize of the Academy of Arts, Berlin
1975 – Big BDA award of the Association of German Architects, Bonn
1977 – Honorary Professor F. Villareal National University, Lima, Peru
1982 – Grande Medaille d’Or d’Architecture, L’Académie d’Architecture in Paris, France
1982 – Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, New York (235 Voigt)
1983 – Honorary Membership / Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects AIA
1985 – Fritz Schumacher Prize, Hamburg
1985 – Honorary doctorate TU Munich
1985/1986 – Price Cret Chair at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
1986 – Pritzker Architecture Prize, New York City, USA
References
Gottfried Bohm on Architectuul
Hiltrud Kier, Bauten und Projekte in: Kristin Feireiss (Hg.): Elisabeth Böhm: Stadtstrukturen und Bauten, p. 64 (in German)
External links
List of Works by Gottfried Böhm – in German
Pritzker Prize page on Gottfried Böhm