Fritz Lehmann

Date of birth: 18. 7. 1889 Šluknov

Death date: 26. 10. 1957 Vídeň

Biography

The German-speaking Prague architect and teacher Fritz Lehmann, born in Šluknov in the year 1889, ranks among the major inter-war authors who could respond to the challenges of modern architecture in a flexible way and whose authorial style underwent a varied development.

Fritz Lehmann studied at the grammar school in Děčín, and in the years 1910–1914 at the German Technical University in Prague. After the break-out of WWI, he was conscripted to go to the Eastern Front, yet immediately after the end of the war he continued his studies for two more years at the Technical University in Vienna. Towards the end of his studies, he worked at the German Technical University in Prague as an assistant at the Department of Hand Drawing, Ornamental Drawing and Apartment Architecture, while also teaching Interior Design. In the year 1928, he received his PhD in technical sciences and in the following year he was appointed Associate Professor and Head of the Prague Department.

Lehmann’s professional career took off during the 1930s despite various kinds of persecutions on the part of the Czechoslovak police because of his Masonic past and alleged espionage for Germany – in the year 1933 he joined the Chamber of Engineers, in 1935 he was appointed Professor and in the years 1937–1942 he was a member of the II. State Exam examining committee.

Lehmann’s architecture designs were influenced by Decorativism at first; however, they began taking on a more restrained, Modernist character gradually, culminating in the Functionalist project of the Pilsen palace building Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà in Terst, realised in the years 1930–1932 (C1-114), and in the design of his own house in similar style in Prague–Holešovice from the mid-1930s. Nevertheless, the common denominators in all Lehmann’s buildings – be they from his early or late career – remain monumentality, timeless Classicism and the variety of materials used (stone, ceramics, metal).

From a typology perspective, Lehmann’s most common project commissions were designs of large administrative buildings, in particular banks and insurance companies. Yet he is also the author of a great amount of smaller funeral architecture (most of the preserved tombs designed by him are to be found at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague in Prague–Žižkov).

From 1946 on, Fritz Lehmann worked at the Technical University in Vienna. At that time, he also took part in the post-war reconstruction of the Austrian capital. A return to Czechoslovakia was rendered practically impossible for him after the year 1948. Fritz Lehmann died in Vienna in October 1957.

 

Selection of other works

1925–1928
Completion of the Czech Factory for artificial silk Elberfeld, Lovosice

1928–1929
Building of the Bohemian Discount Bank, no. 104/31 Májová St., Cheb
House of the Insurance Company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà of Terst, with Café Grand, no. 484/2 Velká Hradební St., Ústí nad Labem

1928–1930
Hotel Esplanade, no. 1600/19 Washingtonova Street, Prague – New Town

1930–1932
Palace of the Insurance Company Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà of Terst, no. 750/34 Jungmannova St., Prague–New Town

1933–1934
Adaptation of the courtyard tract of Slovanský dům (originally the Baroque Vernierovský Palace), no. 859/2 Na Příkopech St., Prague–New Town

1934
Adaptation of the villa originally designed by Josef Gočár (1911–1912), no. 267/4 Tychonova St., Prague–Hradčany

1936
Palace Nisa, no. 26/7 Soukenné náměstí, Liberec-Jeřáb
Renovation of the architect’s own house, no. 356/15 Skalecká St., Prague–Holešovice

1936–1937
Administrative palace of the Victoria Insurance Company, no. 1006/5 Revoluční St. (1006/12 Benediktská St.), Prague–Old Town
Apartment house, no. 1229/4 U Nemocenské pojišťovny St. (1229/4 Lannova St.), Prague–New Town
Nájemní dům, Lannova 1540/6, Prague–New Town

1937
Matznerova villa, Gabčíkova 1384/3, Prague–Libeň

1937–1938
Apartment house,No. 1230/2 U Nemocenské pojišťovny Street (1230/15 Klimentská St.), Prague–New Town

1937–1938
Apartment house of the Assicurazioni Generali Insurance Company, No. 2061/3 and 2061/5 Barvířská / no. 2061/8 Lannova St. (2061/21 Klimentská St.) Prague–New Town
Renovation of the building “U Zlatého okouna“ for the Czech Discount Bank, no. 400/22 Rytířská St. (400/9 Provaznická St.), Prague–Old Town

after 1946
Collaboration on renovation of the Vienna State Opera

1948–1949
Collaboration on the project of the residential series Roter-Berg-Siedlung, 3–7 Horeischygasse, Vienna

1951–1952
Elementary school, no. 9 Coulombgasse, Vienna

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