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UH display works of architect Mendelson as part of world tour

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Preliminary sketches, designs, photos and rare models from the man considered one of the most important German architects of the 20th century will be on view at the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.

The exhibit “Erich Mendelsohn: Dynamics and Function, Realized Visions of a Cosmopolitan Architect” is touring the world and making its only U.S. stop at the college Sept. 7 through Oct. 11. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

“Because of its fluid forms, Mendelsohn’s work is an important precedent to architectural trends today, made possible through advanced computing. Our college is proud and honored to host this important and timely exhibit,” said Joe Mashburn, dean of the College of Architecture.

Mendelsohn, considered avant-garde in his time, is generally known for his curved exteriors and unique view of architecture. For example, the Einstein Tower (Potsdam, Germany, 1919), an astrophysical laboratory, was constructed for astronomer Erwin Finlay Freundlich to support experiments and observations to validate Albert Einstein's relativity theory. Futuristic for its time, the “organic” structure featured an elongated top, a smooth surface and curved edges—no angles. Similarly, the Schocken department store in Stuttgart (1926) featured a rounded façade and protruding curved structure. It had five stories and air conditioning. For photos please visit,

“We are very happy to secure this informative exhibition for our college on one of the pioneers of modern 20th century architecture,” said Dietmar Froehlich, associate professor of architecture, whose efforts brought the exhibit to UH.

Early sketches that reveal Mendelsohn’s creative process in designing various buildings will be included in the exhibit, as will models of the Einstein Tower and other structures. In addition, present-day and historical photographs of his “Universum” Cinema (Berlin, 1928), the Steinberg, Herrmann & Co. hat factory (Luckenwalde, Germany, 1921) and many others will be on display. As part of the exhibit, the film “Eric Mendelsohn – Visions and Revisions” will be shown continuously.

“This is a great opportunity to see work of one of the great modern architects,” said Bruce Webb, UH professor of architecture. “Mendelsohn’s work has been pretty much overlooked in the history books, but his early work prior to World War II in particular was on the cutting edge of modernism. It has a sensuality that is missing from better known of his contemporaries.”

The exhibit, organized and sponsored by ifa, Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany, and co-sponsored by the college, is curated by Regina Stephan of the Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany. She will also offer a free lecture titled, “Eric Mendelsohn’s Visions of a New Architecture and His Sources of Inspiration” at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the college.

The exhibit travels to Toronto following its Houston engagement.

WHAT: Exhibit “Erich Mendelsohn: Dynamics and Function, Realized Visions of a Cosmopolitan Architect”
WHERE: UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, Gallery, first floor
For directions and parking information, CLICK HERE.
WHEN: Sept. 7 – Oct. 11