Yehuda Kurt Unger

Date of birth: 3. 6. 1907 Falknov nad Ohří (dnes Sokolov)

Death date: 13. 9. 1989 Izrael

Biography

Kurt Unger was born in Falknov nad Ohří in 1907 into the family of lawyer Ludwig Unger. From 1924 to 1931 he studied architecture at the German Technical University in Prague. While living in Prague, he began to sympathize with the Zionist movement. A year before graduating, his uncle Leopold Eisner introduced him to Adolf Loos and arranged for Loos to invite him to collaborate on the design of the Eisner's apartment dining room in Šafaříkovy sady in Pilsen. He also contributed to Loos’ designs for interior modifications of Dr. Simon’s sanatorium in Karlovy Vary.

In 1931, Unger spent several months on the French Riviera with Loos and his wife Claire. He was to assist in the implementation of Loos’ project of the Cap d’Antibes hotel renovation; however, the plan was dropped. In the same year, he also collaborated with Loos on the interior design of Samuel Teichner’s dental surgery in the Weiners’ house in Pilsen, on the project of the Mitzi Schnabel house in Vienna and also on several unrealized designs: a rooftop apartment extension to Heinrich Jordan’s residential house in Brno, Dr. Fleischner’s house in Haifa, an apartment house with small flats in Prague-Vinohrady or the modification of the residential house projects in the Werkbund Estate in Vienna. In the autumn of 1931, Unger joined the military service, ending his work for Loos the following year. Nonetheless, he remained faithful to his ideas.

His most important realization in the Czech lands was a family house in Falknov in 1935, which Unger designed for his parents and in which he applied Loos’ Raumplan. The following year, Unger left for the United Kingdom, from where he moved on to British Mandatory Palestine in 1937. He settled in Haifa and adopted the first name Yehuda. From 1941 to 1945 he served in the British Army. After the war, he returned to Haifa and continued his architectural work. He worked as an interior designer for The Cultivated Home furniture shop. On a number of projects, he collaborated with his friend Paul Engelmann, a native of Olomouc and another of Loos’ pupils and collaborators. They also both sought to spread their teacher’s legacy in the local architectural community. Unger also promoted Loos’ ideas during his several-year teaching career at the Faculty of Architecture of the Technion Technical University in Haifa. He died in 1989.


PK

Sources

  • Library Catalog. Getty Research Institute, https://primo.getty.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?vid=GRI&docid=GETTY_ALMA21112983460001551&context=L, vyhledáno 9. 10. 2020.
  • Shira Wilkof, The Papers of Paul Engelmann (1861–1965) and Yehuda K. Unger (1907–1989), Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center, https://rosenzweig.huji.ac.il/sites/default/files/rosenzweig/files/unger_-_engelmann_finding_aid.pdf, vyhled. 8. 9. 2020