6. December 2022 | Magazine:

A Master Builder of the “Braunschweig School” On the death of Professor Meinhard von Gerkan

Professor Meinhard von Gerkan was Professor of Gebäudelehre, Entwerfen von Hochbauten A (Building Theory, Design of Buildings A) at Technische Universität Braunschweig until 2002. He took over the professorship in 1974 – only ten years after graduating with a degree in Architecture in Braunschweig. Meinhard von Gerkan passed away on 30 November 2022. An obituary by Professor Berthold Heinrich Penkhues, Department Spokesman for Architecture.

Meinhard von Gerkan. Photo credit: © Wilfried Dechau

The entire TU Braunschweig and especially the colleagues of the Department of Architecture mourn the loss of their former university teacher and former colleague Meinhard von Gerkan, who passed away peacefully while surrounded by his family on 30 November at the age of 87.

Meinhard von Gerkan was Professor of Design and Architectural Strategies from 1974 to 2002 and one of the most important teachers in the long history of Technische Universität Braunschweig. No one else embodied the myth of the “Braunschweig School” as much as von Gerkan. When he accepted his appointment in 1974, he was the direct successor to Friedrich Wilhelm Kraemer, who in turn came for Carl Mühlenpfordt in 1946. This shows the line of development of three great teachers of architecture, all of whom studied at the Carolo Wilhelmina themselves and captured the “Braunschweig School” of architectural thinking in a teaching format, but without using the term programmatically themselves.

The force with which Meinhard von Gerkan began his work immediately after graduating in 1964 and also ten years later as a young professor remains unique in the post-war history of German architecture. No architect has ever won so many competition prizes together with his university friend and partner Volkwin Marg.

Meinhard von Gerkan, 1965. Photo credit: © gmp-Archiv

Meinhard von Gerkan was a German “maverick” who, as a child and orphan, had to experience expulsion first-hand and found his home in Hamburg. We bow down to this great man and his life’s work. We are proud and grateful that he was a colleague of ours and made a decisive contribution to the good reputation of the Department of Architecture and thus also of Technische Universität Braunschweig beyond Germany.

Meinhard von Gerkan has now left this room. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family.

Prof. Berthold Heinrich Penkhues
Department Spokesman Architecture