Einstein Tower

“Erich Mendelsohn’s small, but powerfully modeled tower, built to symbolize the greatness of the Einsteinian concepts, was also a quite functional house. It was designed to hold Einstein’s own astronomical laboratory… Mendelsohn was after a completely plastic kind of building, moulded rather than built, without angles and with smooth, rounded corners. He needed a malleable material like reinforced concrete, which could be made to curve and create its own surface plasticity, but due to post-war shortages, some parts had to be in brick and others in concrete. So the total external effect was obtained by rendering the surface material. Even so, this ‘sarcophagus of architectural Expressionism’ is one of the most brilliantly original buildings of the twentieth century.”

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p65.

Architect: Erich Mendelsohn
Location: near Potsdam, Germany map
Date: 1919 to 1921
Building Type: laboratory, observatory
Construction System: bearing masonry, concrete over brick
Climate: temperate
Context: suburban
Style: Expressionist Early Modern
Notes: Curvaceous, streamlined form


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