Das Ende des rechten Winkels
The focus of this book is the work of the architect Wilhelm Ulrich (1890-1971) who in the 1920s began to question the dominance of the right angle, and worked for five decades on hexagonal alternatives. His striking buildings in Halle an der Saale were in a bad condition after the political change, and have been largely disregarded by experts until now. Ulrich’s personal failure also exemplifies a typical German fate as a result of two wars and the partition of the country.
Despite his idiosyncratic position, Ulrich was very closely involved in the architectural and intellectual history of his time and, like the theorists of the “New Building” placed functionality at the centre of his arguments. However, he considered this not merely as a passing fashion but as a lifelong task requiring constant reappraisal. With Ulrich, we get a wider perspective on 20th century architecture, usually restricted to the icons of the Bauhaus – Ulrich denies the exclusivity of the right angle, trumpeted as the epitome of modernism.
This study presents for the first time Ulrich’s houses and housing developments, churches, shops, hexagonal town plans and designs, supplemented with a catalogue of his works and a wealth of illustrations from archives and private collections. Numerous examples of hexagonal buildings from the 1970s, after Ulrich’s time, complete the work and demonstrate the far-sightedness of his arguments. This book is an important step in the rediscovery of an architect whose building style is in itself an impressive document of the formal variety of modern architecture.