PDF Repositório UAL

Rita Aguiar Rodrigues


Architect and PhD candidate at the Department of Architecture of the Autonomous University of Lisbon (Da/UAL), Portugal. CEACT/UAL – Centre for Architecture, City and Territory Studies of the Autonomous University of Lisbon, Portugal

TO cite this article:

RODRIGUES, Rita Aguiar – Hans Döllgast. Reconstruction, permanence and change. Estudo Prévio 24. Lisbon: CEACT/UAL – Centre for Architecture, City and Territory Studies of the Autonomous University of Lisbon, May 2024, p. 19-47. ISSN: 2182-4339 [Available at: www.estudoprevio.net]. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26619/2182-4339/24.2

Received on July 30, 2023, and accepted for publication on September 30, 2023.Creative Commons, licença CC BY-4.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Hans Döllgast. Reconstruction, permanence and change



Hans Döllgast (1891-1974) is a seminal figure in 20th architecture, part of an alternative, and historically sensitive tradition of German modernism – in the context of post-World War II reconstruction – echoed by some of the most celebrated authors of contemporary architecture.

With the most widely recognized and publicized works being the reconstructions of the Alte Pinakothek (1946-57), St. Bonifaz Abbey (1949-51), and the Alter Südfriedhof cemetery (1954-55) in Munich, Döllgast’s work was initially met with criticism and contestation. The choices to preserve and intervene in the ruin; the refusal of a rhetorical a code; and the use of a vernacular-inspired architectural language may have been the most controversial and, at the same time, the ones that most clearly defined his work.

By revisiting his career and analysing a selection of his projects, this paper aims to identify the themes that appear to be eminent and transversal in his work. It presents, as devices for its reading, the articulation of the relationship with time and memory, the liberty with which he operated and concretized the use of abstraction, the instrumentalization of the transitory character of solutions, and the monumentality of his proposals, which he reconciled with the reference of the elementarity and functionality of everyday life prosaic structures. In this way, it is proposed to define and contextualize a matrix of thought and of material production that will be fundamental for recognizing and reading of Döllgast’s legacy, and for understanding the profoundly anticipatory and singular nature of his practice.


Keywords: Post-war modern architecture, Ruin, Continuity, Reconfiguration, Munich.



Döllgast completed his training at the Technische Universität Munich before being conscripted into the First World War (STERNBERG, 2022: 264), having been a student of Friedrich von Thiersch (1852-1921) and Theodor Fischer (1862-1938), two figures who curiously reflected the zeitgeist of this specific place and period, representing the two dominant ideological and artistic currents in the architecture of pre-war Germany: on the one hand, late historicism, and on the other hand, the emergence of modern German architecture. Although he expressed a clear admiration for the buildings of the past, Döllgast did not clearly and unequivocally link himself to either of them.

Between 1919 and 1922, Döllgast worked for Richard Riemerschmid – a central figure in the Jugendstil and between 1922 and 1927 for Peter Behrens, playing a leading role in his studio, where Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier had already worked. He was involved in the design of the Hoechst AG headquarters in Frankfurt (1920-24) – one of the most emblematic drawings of the foyer was his (STERNBERG, 2022: 266) – the Austrian Pavilion for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris (1925), the New Ways house (Figure 1) in Northampton (1925-26), and Behrens’ contribution to the Weissenhofsiedlung (Figure 2) in Stuttgart (1927), which he would later refer to critically and with particular disregard [1].

Figure 1New Ways (1925-26), Peter Behrens, Northampton (Source: https://www.78derngate.org.uk/archive/new-ways [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 2Weissenhofsiedlung (1927), Peter Behrens, Stuttgart. (Source: https://www.weissenhofgalerie.de/galerie/standort [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 3 – St. Raphael (1930-32), Hans Döllgast, Munich (Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kirche_St._Raphael_in_M%C3%BCnchen-Hartmannshofen.jpg [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 4St. Heinrich (1934-35), Hans Döllgast, Munich (Source: https://www.archinform.net/projekte/4750.htm [Accessed July 2023]).

Subsequently, Döllgast began his independent practice. The projects he developed throughout the 1930s were mostly churches, particularly St. Raphael’s (1930-32) (Figure 3), and St. Heinrich’s (1934-35) (Figure 4), in the vicinity of Munich, where it can already be recognized the identity formulations of his work: in the design – in the choice of form, and in the relationship he established – from this choice – with history of architecture and construction – in the materials and construction techniques he used, and in the way he appropriated, reinterpreted, certain elements of a common architectural lexicon. In collaboration with Michael Kurz, in the same period, he also developed several competitions and projects, including the church of St. Joseph in Augsburg-Oberhausen (1927-30) (Figure 5). But his most relevant projects were the reconstruction of buildings in ruins in the post-war period, as a result of the bombings to which Munich was subjected.

Figure 5 – St. Joseph (1927-30), Hans Döllgast and Michael Kurz, Augsburg-Oberhausen (Source: https://bistum-augsburg.de/Nachrichten/Stadtpfarrkirche-St.-Joseph-in-Augsburg-wird-umgebaut-und-dem-Dioezesanarchiv-Platz-bieten_id_181469 [Accessed July 2023]).


Döllgast’s practice was based on a mastery of graphic techniques, of different scales and typologies, from watercolor to construction detail drawing, including typography (Figures 6, 7 and 8). During his time as a professor at the Technische Universität in Munich, between 1939 and 1956, teaching Artistic Drawing, Architectural Representation, and Geometry, Döllgast – and the identity character of his work – became a reverential figure for the institution, and an influence on generations of architects (NERDINGER, 1998: 109), which can be highlighted, most obviously, Josef Wiedemann, author of the project for the reconstruction of the Glyptoteck (1967-72) in Munich.

Figure 6 – Watercolor, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023])

Döllgast was neither a “conservative-historicist nor a progressive modernist” (STERNBERG, 2022: 270). As will be seen below, his reverence for neoclassical buildings was clear, as he defended what he considered to be their material and functional qualities, striving to create a logic of continuity, rejecting, however, any impulse towards historical recomposition.

Figure 7Drawing, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 8 – St. Bonifaz (1949-51), Hans Döllgast, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).


At the same time, his skepticism about the dogmatic principles of Modern Movement [2], and his break with what could be identified as the avant-guarde of his time, formed a conscious and deliberate choice. A position that was not taken from a place of exclusion or periphery – of practice and academia – but concretized through knowledge and experience, in particular his practice in Behrens’ studio.

Time / Memory

Between 1943 and 1945, Munich was bombed 66 times (MONEDERO, 2008: 39). When the war ended, the city and its most emblematic buildings were severely damaged. The Bavarian capital, an exponent of classicist architecture by men such as Leo von Klenze, Friedrich von Gärtner and Georg Friedrich Ziebland – particularly in the reigns of Ludwig I and Ludwig II of Bavaria – had its most monumental buildings, such as the Residenz, Alte Pinakothek, Glyptothek, or Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, partially destroyed (Figure 9).

Figure 9Alte Pinakothek (1826-37), Leo von Klenze, Munich, 1945 (Fonte: Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Fotoarchiv, https://www.pinakothek.de/de/alte-pinakothek [Accessed July 2023]).


Until now, the theory of architectural restoration had been imminently developed from the issues arising from the wear and tear caused by the passage of time, summoning problems and criteria different from those that destruction, on a large scale and provoked by violence, imposes. The opposing orthodoxies of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-79) and John Ruskin (1819-1900) – stylistic restoration and reconstruction on the one hand, and preservation without recomposition, on the other – structured thought and practice.

The normative document then in force, the Athens Charter (drafted in 1931), did not contemplate the need to act in scenarios of destruction, and became, in the post-war period, an obsolete instrument for the practice of restoration.

In the context of post-war Germany, between trauma, denial and reflection, and the need to rebuild cities, the debate was polarized.

At one end of the spectrum, with most politicians, and also by some more conservative architects, the demand was for the city to be restored to its pre-war state, advocating a reconstruction faithful to the previous configuration and appearance. At the other end, mostly by architects who were supporters of the Modern Movement, the discourse was opposed to any form of reconstruction and advocated the construction of new and modern structures [3]. There was no consensus on the creation of criteria for intervention in architectural heritage. However, and although diametrically opposed, historicist reconstruction and construction from scratch shared a common vision: the suppression of any evidence of the war or hint of trauma, disregarding the materialization of the passage of time and history.

A third way, of an exceptional nature, an alternative to the dominant practices and inscribed “in another Modern” [4], defended the establishment of a line of continuity and the preservation of memory, either by preserving the ruin – assuming its condition – in dialogue with the construction of a new building, as Egon Eiermann did in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (1957-63), in Berlin, Also, by the material continuity of the pre-existence through the use of recovered materials from the demolition of its ruin in the construction of a new building, as done by Rudolf Schwarz, in the church of St. Anna (1951-56), in Düren.

Döllgast’s work does not fit into any of the practices described above. He advocated the preservation of the ruin and its “creative reconstruction” (FRANZ, WIMMER, 1998). In other words, a reconstruction that was not restricted by criteria of formal, stylistic or patrimonial preservation. The solutions he proposed were, therefore, created from the presuppositions of a pre-existence that changed, delicately but freely, according to its new functional, technical, aesthetic and symbolic criteria.

His interest in the ruin was, therefore, distinct from that of his contemporaries. For him, the ruin had no value per se, but only on the assumption of its reconstruction. The fragments of ruined buildings were not preserved as such, but incorporated into his proposal as evidence of the passage of time, and the history of the building itself.

The Alte Pinakothek in Munich (Figures 10 and 11), a building designed by Leo von Klenze (1826–1836), and Döllgast’s most emblematic reconstruction work, were the most faithful embodiment of his thinking. Döllgast made visible, and eternalized, the crater that a bomb opened in the building, through the apparently simple juxtaposition of the new construction to the old structure: consolidating the partially destroyed pre-existence and reconstructing the building – with a sense of continuity, albeit in an admittedly different way – in place of its collapsed sections (Figures 12 and 13). The seam between the old and the new was not intended to be disguised, but neither did it give way to the aestheticization of the scar, exposed with the naturalness and clarity with which a fact is presented (Figure 14).

Figure 10Alte Pinakothek (1826-37), Leo von Klenze, Munich (Source: https://www.pinakothek.de/de/museum [Accessed July 2023])

Figure 11 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), Munich (Source: https://www.pinakothek.de/de/museum [Accessed July 2023])

Figure 12 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), south façade, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 13 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), south façade, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 14 – Alte Pinakothek (1946-57), south façade, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).


Liberty / Abstraction

The preservation of the ruin revealed a clear valorization of the existing building. The project was understood, then, not as an exercise in creating something new, but as a work of composition that combined the preservation and enhancement of unique characteristics – and the material and non-material resources invested in a given physical structure – with the ability to implement a contemporary architectural language.

Figure 15 – Alte Pinakothek (1826-37), Leo von Klenze, Munich (Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/West-Wing-of-the-Loggia-of-the-Alte-Pinakothek-showing-the-history-of-Northern-art_fig3_272254993 [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 16 – Alte Pinakothek (1826-37), Leo von Klenze, Munich, 1952 (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).


Döllgast admired classicist architecture, not necessarily for its heritage value, but for its material and functional qualities. However, he intervened on it with total liberty – by sorting out the characteristics he wanted to keep and those he wanted to eliminate or reconfigure. His posture seemed to stem from the principle that the buildings of the past “were and still are, but are no longer what they were” [5], and his exclusive interest in what they might become in the present or future.

Figure 17 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), staircase, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).


At Alte Pinakothek, his intervention was radically restructuring. Döllgast changed the entrance, previously located in the east wing and positioned it in the center of the building, on the north façade. Deciding not to rebuild the loggia on the upper floor, next to the south façade – designed by Klenze like the loggia of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace – he introduced the monumental and iconic symmetrical staircase that allows visitors access to the galleries (figures 15, 16 and 17). And he closed openings in the facades, whenever their relationship with the reconfigured interior was not favorable. In this way, Döllgast completely altered access, circulation, and enjoyment experience of the building (Figures 18 and 19).

Figure 18 – Alte Pinakothek (1826-37), 1st floor plan, Leo von Klenze (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 19 – Alte Pinakothek (1946-57), 1st floor plan, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).


The same happened in the abbey of St. Bonifaz, a project by Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1835-50), with the reconfiguration of the dimensions of the building and the choice not to reconstruct structuring elements of the typology, such as the slab of the high choir (Figure 20). And, in the cemetery of Alter Südfriedhof, designed by Gustav Vorherr (1818-21) (Figure 21), and enlarged by Friedrich von Gärtner (1842-50) (Figure 22), when he opted for the demolition of both arcades – partially destroyed by the bombardments – that accompanied the peripheral walls, opening up to the interior of the two distinct spaces that configured it. In the space of the original cemetery of Vorherr, to the north of the entrance, Döllgast arranged blocks of stone in the position previously occupied by the pillars of the arcade (Figure 23). On the side corresponding to Gärtner’s extension, to the south, and only for the wall where the entrance is located, Döllgast designed a simple and delicate roof structure, with tubular metal profiles positioned in exactly the same position as the pillars of the pre-existing arcade (Figure 24). While citing what once existed, Döllgast changed the typology of the space – from a cloister to an open field (NERDINGER, 2023: 36) – also modifying its program and the symbolism associated with it. The sacred gave way to a memorial park (Figure 25).

Figure 20 – St. Bonifaz, Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1835-50) and Hans Döllgast (1949-51), Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 21 – Alter Südfriedhof (1818-21), Gustav Vorherr (Source: https://stadtundgruen.de/artikel/friedhoefe-als-spiegel-der-geschichte-7545#fancybox-galerie-9 [Accessed July 2023])

Figure 22 – Alter Südfriedhof (1842-50), Friedrich von Gärtner (Source: https://www.deutsche-digitale-bibliothek.de/item/7TJ46F27XAJV3YMS5AGATI22RHLMXP6Z [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 23 – Alter Südfriedhof, Gustav Vorherr (1818-21) and Hans Döllgast (1954-55), north side, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 24 – Alter Südfriedhof, Friedrich von Gärtner (1842-50) and Hans Döllgast (1954-55), south side, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 25 – Alter Südfriedhof (1954-55), plan, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023].


The liberty with which Döllgast reconfigured the buildings in which he intervened was also evident in the way he used abstraction. At the Alte Pinakothek, the logic of continuity he established with the preservation of the ruin extended to the way he structured the façade of the new building. The design of the elements that define the composition of the elevation – spacing and scale of frames, cornice, friezes, columns – was replicated, but in a simplified and abstract way, using new elements of different nature and material (Figure 14). The same happened in the walls of Alter Südfriedhof, when he chose to complete the partially destroyed arches, or to eliminate them altogether, maintaining their rhythm through the pillars embedded in the wall (Figures 26 and 27).

Figure 26 – Alter Südfriedhof (1954-55), north and east elevations, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023].

Figure 27 – Alter Südfriedhof, Friedrich von Gärtner (1842-50) and Hans Döllgast (1954-55), south side, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).


In the abbey of St. Bonifaz (Figure 28) and in the roundabout of the Ostfriedhof cemetery by Hans Grässel (1901-02), the interior walls were cleared of any decorative elements (LATTARULO, 2019: 85). In the bare space, the austere surface of the walls and the plasticity of the brick expressed asceticism and abstraction (Figures 29 and 30).

To the detriment of stone, which is eminent in the buildings he rebuilt, brick was the most prominent material element in his work. Because it came from demolitions, the brick used by Döllgast had the aged tone and appearance that allowed him to sew the new and the old naturally. But it also used materials such as exposed concrete and steel. On the roof of the Alter Südfriedhof, and in particular on the Alte Pinakothek, the boldness with which he proposed to finish off the classicist façade with elegant double-height metal pillars was a notorious provocation.

Figure 28 – St. Bonifaz (1835-50), Georg Friedrich Ziebland, Munich (Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbaye_Saint-Boniface_de_Munich#/media/Fichier:Bonifaz_Muenchen_1900.jpg [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 29 – St. Bonifaz, Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1835-50) and Hans Döllgast (1949-51), photograph by Klaus Kinold, Munich (Source: https://aut.cc/veranstaltungen/kinold-doellgast-schwarz [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 30 – St. Bonifaz, Georg Friedrich Ziebland (1835-50) and Hans Döllgast (1949-51), photograph by Klaus Kinold, Munich (Source: https://aut.cc/veranstaltungen/kinold-doellgast-schwarz [Accessed July 2023]).

Transitional / Perennial

One of the arguments used by Döllgast in defense of his proposals for preservation and intervention on the ruin was the economic viability of these operations, which were significantly less expensive than the demolition and construction of a new building. Publicly, he did not engage in theoretical or conceptual debates about the type of reconstruction he advocated, adopting a practical and direct approach to the advantages of his projects [6].

Faced with the need for large-scale and rapid reconstruction, saving resources and finding immediate solutions were essential. And Döllgast cleverly and ingenuously used the provisional nature of the proposals to ensure their implementation.

For the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche church of the Residenz, designed by Leo von Klenze (1826-37), Döllgast proposed the construction of a temporary roof, with a wooden structure, which would make it possible to preserve it and transform it into a memorial. In this way, he was able to ensure the order and the materialization of his vision (Figures 31 and 32).

Figure 31 – Allerheiligen-Hofkirche (1971), perspective, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).

Figure 32 – Allerheiligen-Hofkirche, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1971), photograph by Klaus Kinold (Source: https://germanpostwarmodern.tumblr.com/post/719492917650194432/hans-d%C3%B6llgasts-re-roofing-1971-of-leo-von [Accessed July 2023]).


At the Alte Pinakothek, formally commissioned by the Bavarian Parliament only to preserve the ruin while its historical reconstruction took place, Döllgast went further. By proposing a temporary roof – a configuration that still remains today – he deliberately made the planned reconstruction unfeasible. The implementation of the transitional structure would not allow for the identical reconstruction, but the authorities would only realize it when the process was already irreversible (BLAUEL, 1991).

The seven metal pillars that can be seen today on the south façade – evocative of a temporary structure or even scaffolding – were part of the temporary solution he proposed (Figure 33). When it became evident that they would be permanent, they were, like Döllgast’s project as a whole, harshly criticized for their simple character, unworthy of a building of such historical importance (WIDDER, 2018: 506).

We realize, then, that Döllgast designs for an economy of means, and that its structures could only be temporary. On the other hand, the simplicity of these devices and their prosaic language are also consistent with the narrative of provisionality, which, in fact, Döllgast uses as a form of materialization and perpetuation.

Figure 33 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), south façade, Munich, c. 1954 (Source: Architecture Today, Blauel 1991).


Monumental / Vernacular

Austrian historian Alois Riegl published The Modern Cult of Monuments” in 1903. His work redefined the concept of monument, in the sense that it structured a reflection – designating various types of monument – around the fundamental assumption that the monument is considered as such through the value or values that are granted to it, characterizing value as a relative historical event and not as an intrinsic and unalterable quality. Through the development of concepts such as “antiquity value”, Riegl proved that the passage of time, and its physical consequences, are irreversible, and inherent to the authenticity and value of the monument.

As Lynette Widder pointed out, in establishing the bridge between the two authors, there is no concrete evidence that Döllgast ever read Riegl’s work. However, considering the precursory nature of their work, and Döllgast’s passage through Vienna – and through Behrens’ studio – this contamination was likely (WIDDER, 2018: 508).

Döllgast had the ability to transform the destroyed public buildings in which he intervened into monuments, in the sense of the terminological content of the concept defined by Riegl.

By the way he structured his reconstruction practice, Döllgast preserved, or granted historical value, antiquity, novelty and use value (RIEGL, 2016) to his projects.

At the same time, in the way he reconfigured and purged existing spaces, and designed new elements, Döllgast intentionally and repeatedly worked on their monumental dimension.

Examples can be found in the sumptuous staircase of the Alte Pinakothek (Figure 34) and the atrium that precedes it; also, in the tension between the scales of the elements that make up its south façade, or the roof of Alter Südfriedhoff, as well as in the purification of space, and of the surfaces of the interior walls, monumentalizing the Ostfriedhof roundabout (Figure 35) and the St. Bonifaz abbey (Figure 36).

Figure 34 – Alte Pinakothek (1946-57), perspective, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July de 2023]).

Figure 35 – Ostfriedhof (1952), section and plan, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July de 2023]).

Figure 36 – St. Bonifaz (1949-51), perspective and plan, Hans Döllgast (SourceF: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July de 2023]).


Döllgast made use of modern construction solutions that are identified as an integral part of the architectural solution. His work had a technological component, although it was sometimes deliberately hidden or integrated in a way that ensured its imperceptibility. This tendency can be explained by his lack of interest in inventing new forms – the reference point is the elementarity and functionality of the prosaic everyday structures.

For the roof of the Alte Pinakothek, Döllgast proposed two gables that extend over the façade, instead of terminating, and hiding, behind a cornice (Figures 10 and 11). Additionally, he dared to show off the rainwater harvesting system, with a gutter finishing the roof, and visible downpipes descending on the façade, as additional metal pillars (Figure 37). The strategy, and the type of system used, are the same in Alter Südfriedhoff’s roof: although masterfully designed and dimensioned, it is a roof structure, similar to what could be found in an informal construction (Figure 38). The subversion of his proposal is clear, as he implemented a vernacular solution on a classicist building, refusing to stage rhetoric and celebrating the fundamental principles of constructive and architectural practice.

Figure 37 – Alte Pinakothek, Leo von Klenze (1826-37) and Hans Döllgast (1946-57), south façade, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 38 – Alter Südfriedhof (1954-55), section, Hans Döllgast (Source: mediaTUM, Universitätsbibliothek Technische Universität München, https://mediatum.ub.tum.de/?id=647610 [Accessed July 2023]).


Döllgast’s vernacular-inspired language was one of “a modern vernacular simplicity” (STERNBERG, 2022: 269), in which the scarcity of means, asceticism, the material tradition in which it was inscribed, and the poetic use of constructive elements, converged towards austerity, timelessness, and monumentality.

His admiration for the artisanal tradition was particularly noticeable in the metalwork pieces he designed for each of his projects – clear materializations of his thinking, and bearers of his aesthetic (Figures 39 and 40).

On the monumental-vernacular duality, Paul Stangl stated that the boundary between them can sometimes be blurred, but that their distinction is significant: “the monumental sustains collective memory, connecting the past, the present and the future. The vernacular provides spatial forms for the routines of everyday life” (STANGL, 2008: 245).

Based on Charles Jencks’ concept of “double codification”, the formalization of this binomial – and the double set of references it carries into the building – can be associated with a “strategy of simultaneously affirming and denying existing power structures, inscribing and challenging different tastes and opposing forms of discourse” (JENCKS, 1992: 13).

Figure 39 – St. Bonifaz (1949-51), Hans Döllgast, Munich (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).

Figure 40 – Alter Südfriedhoff (1954-55), Hans Döllgast, Munique (Source: author’s photograph, 2022).



Döllgast’s ability to reconcile, complement and naturalize paradoxes was remarkable. While on the one hand he preserved and valued architectural heritage and collective memory, defending continuity and permanence, on the other hand, he excluded and reconfigured, for the sake of change, radically freeing himself from the impositions of the past. His work was monumental and monumentalized, accessing a representational dimension, but at the same time affirming the mundane and the informality of the provisional, contesting the place of rhetoric.

His work could be characterized as discreet (LINAZASORO, 2013), which is due, to a large extent, to the fact that it was based on a strategy of conjugation and not of imposition, but the thought he communicated, in a clear and incisive way, was unprecedented and profoundly modern.

His projects were only more widely accepted and appreciated after his death. Döllgast is an absent figure from the historiography of modern architecture (NERDINGER, 1998: 109) and, at present, the manifestations of dissemination, celebration and research of his work are still few. Perhaps due to the influence of contemporary architects such as David Chipperfield, Roger Diener [7], or José Ignacio Linazasoro (LINAZASORO, 2021), there has been a growing interest in his legacy, materialized, most visibly, in the recent publication of an issue of the magazine Casabella dedicated to him [8].

The timelessness of Döllgast’s work was also proven by the relevance of his contribution to the present day, at a time when discourses around non-demolition, and repair, in the life cycle of buildings are multiplying and intensifying. In the post-war crisis and today, in the midst of the global climate emergency, it is discussed the need to understand and design buildings as organisms in permanent development, with the capacity to conserve and enhance resources, and to reconcile different times and forms of use – buildings that can remain and change.



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FRAMPTON, Kenneth – The Other Modern Movement: Architecture, 1920-1970. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2022.

FRANZ, Peter, WIMMER, Franz – Von den Spuren: Interpretierender Wiederaufbau im Werk von Hans Döllgast. Salzburg: Anton Pustet, 1998.

JENCKS, Charles – The Post-Modern Reader. London: Academy Editions, 1992. ISBN 978-0470748664

LATTARULO, Maria Irene – La ricostruzioni interpretative: il caso di Hans Döllgast a Monaco di Baviera. Rassegna di Architettura e Urbanistica, Riflessioni a margine della 15. Biennale di Architettura. ISNN 0392-8608. Vol.149, n.º 3 (2019) p. 80-87.

LINAZASORO, José Ignacio – La Arquitectura del Contexto: Una Respuesta Antimoderna. Madrid: Ediciones Asimétricas, 2021. ISBN-10 8419050024

LINAZASORO, José Ignacio – Modernism and Heritage. In Favor of Anonymous Architecture. Arquitectura Viva. 30/11/2013 [Consult. Julho de 2023]. Disponível em https://arquitecturaviva.com/articles/modernism-and-heritage

LOPES, Flávio; CORREIA, Miguel Brito – Património Cultural, critérios e normas internacionais de proteção. Casal de Cambra: Editora Caleidoscópio, 2014, p. 121-125.

MONEDERO, Miguel Martínez – La reconstrucción de Múnich tradición y renovación. Loggia, Arquitectura & Restauración. ISSN 1136-758X. N.° 21 (2008) p. 38-51.

NERDINGER, Winfried – Hans Döllgast. Cheerfully puritanical architecture. OASE. ISBN 9061685567. N.º 49-50 (1998) p. 108-119.

NERDINGER, Winfried – Hans Döllgast. Neue Räume aus Ruinen. Casabella. ISBN 97700087180093230. N.º 943 (2023) p. 50-59.

RECHT, Roland – Pensar el Patrimonio. Escenificación y ordenación del arte. Madrid: Abada Editores, 2014. ISBN 978-84-16160-10-5

RIEGL, Alois – O Culto Moderno dos Monumentos. Lisboa: Edições 70, 2016. ISBN: 9789724417134.

STANGL, Paul – The vernacular and the monumental: Memory and landscape in post-war Berlin, GeoJournal. DOI: 10.1007/s10708-008-9206-0, 73:245–253 (2008) p. 245.

STERNBERG, Maximilian – Hans Döllgast, post-war reconstruction and modern architecture. The Journal of Architecture. DOI: 10.1080/13602365.2022.2086152, 27:2-3 (2022), p. 260-295.

WIDDER, Lynnette – Repressing Repair: Hans Döllgast’s Reconception of the Alte Pinakothek, 1946-1973. 106th ACSA Annual Meeting Proceedings, The Ethical Imperative. ISBN
 978-1-944214-15-9 (2018) p. 504-510.

WILSON, Colin St. John – The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture: The Uncompleted Project. Hoboken: Wiley, 1995



1. In the third volume of his autobiography – Journal retour – Döllgast wrote “Weissenhof, an impressive parade of a young generation of architects. We, from the Behrens studio, with our tame, box-shaped house with a terrace, stayed right at the end, as a rearguard” (NERDINGER, 1998: p.112-113).

2. According to Sternberg, Döllgast said “What about our century? A dark generation is offended by any joke. It rejects joyful work in exchange for the much-vaunted ‘cleanliness'” (STERNBERG, 2022: 270).

3. “Robert Vorhoelzer, Döllgast’s college classmate and one of the most notable proponents of the Neue Sachlickheit in Munich in the interwar period, postulated that if even Troy had lost its ruins to posterity, Munich should not keep its own: modern architects should cherish the image of past buildings in their hearts, but build modern structures worthy of taking their place” (STERNBERG, 2022: 271).

4. The expression “other modern” gave the title to some publications on alternative architectural practices of the Modern Movement, such as “The Other Tradition of Modern Architecture: The Uncompleted Project” by Colin St. John Wilson, “Another Modern: The Post-War Architecture and Urbanism of Candilis-Josic-Woods” by Tom Avermaete, or “The Other Modern Movement” by Kenneth Frampton.

5. “Therefore, unlike history, art history is interested in objects that were and still are, but that are no longer what they were, even if their materiality and phenomenal existence tend to make us believe otherwise” (RECHT, 2014: p. 15).

6. “While Schwarz, in the words of Wolfgang Pehnt, ‘preached’ about the dilemmas of rebuilding the architectural heritage to a largely bewildered public in Cologne, Döllgast focused on the issue at hand and argued that it was simply cheaper to maintain the existing structure” (STERNBERG, 2022: p. 274).

7. Approximately fifty years after the completion of the construction of Döllgast’s project for the Alte Pinakothek, two interventions for the rehabilitation of buildings damaged by the war have been completed in Berlin: the Neues Museum, by David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap (2009), and the Natural History Museum, by Diener & Diener (2010). Both represent paradigmatic examples in the sense of a critical approach to conservation and restoration, establishing clear bridges with Döllgast’s work.

8. Casabella. ISBN 97700087180093230. N.º 943 (2023).