Oswald Mathias Ungers

Oswald Mathias Ungers (12 July 1926 – 30 September 2007) was a German architect and architectural theorist, known for his rationalist designs and the use of cubic forms. Among his notable projects are museums in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne.


Oswald Mathias Ungers was born in Kaisersesch in the Eifel region. From 1947 to 1950 he studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe under Egon Eiermann. He set up an architectural practice in Cologne in 1950, and opened offices in Berlin in 1964, Frankfurt in 1974 and Karlsruhe in 1983.

He was a professor at the Technical University of Berlin from 1963 to 1967 and served as the dean of the faculty of architecture from 1965 to 1967. In 1968 he moved to the United States, where he became the chair of the department of architecture at Cornell University from 1969 to 1975. In 1971 he became a member of the American Institute of Architects. He was also a visiting professor at Harvard University (1973 and 1978) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1974/75). He returned to Germany in 1976, becoming a visiting professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (1979/80) and a full professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1986).

Oswald Mathias Ungers died on 30 September 2007 from pneumonia. He was married to Liselotte Gabler (1926–2010) and had one son (Simon Ungers) and two daughters.

Selected projects

1979–1984 German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt
1980–1983 Messe Torhaus in Frankfurt
1983–1991 Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe
1986 Former main building of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven
1993–1996 Friedrichstadt-Passagen (Quartier 205) in Berlin
1994 Residence of the German ambassador in Washington D.C.
1994–1995 Haus ohne Eigenschaften in Cologne
1995 Museum of Contemporary Art in Hamburg
1998–2001 Dorotheenhöfe, Berlin
2001 Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne
2006 Entrance to the ruins of a Roman bath in Trier

Proposed or under construction

In 2000, he won an architectural competition to redesign the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. His controversial plan proposes large alterations to the building complex which has remained unchanged since 1930. The rebuilding is scheduled to end in 2010.