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Title: Building landscapes to live in : Hermann Mattern (1902-1971)
Author: Hopstock, Lars
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 7760
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2016
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This first English biography of Hermann Mattem (1902-1971) discusses in depth the contribution by one of Germany's principal 20lh-century landscape architects to the development of his profession. It is complemented with an introduction to the two personalities he is most associated with: the landscape architect Herta Hammerbacher (1900-1985) and the horticulturist Karl Foerster (1874-1970). The main theme of the thesis are design ideals and approaches rather than realised works. In addition to this, two temporal foci have been set. One focus lies on the early influences during the inter-war period. This includes Mattem's unique role as an agent of Bauhaus concepts in landscape architecture. A second focus lies on criticism of his work during the National-Socialist dictatorship, providing new insights into the way the concept of 'degenerate art' was applied to garden design. By taking an interpretative perspective that considers form-historical tradition lines along with specific biographical influences, a better understanding of garden modernism is aimed at. As point of departure serves the dualism 'architectonic vs. landscape mode'. Research was conducted mainly in form of text analysis. It is based in great parts on private correspondence kept at different German archives. Mattem's fundamental questioning of traditional notions can be deduced from his identification with parts of the avant-garde. As a representative of organic functionalism, he was critical of pure rationalism, often producing experimental, even playful solutions. This contrasts sharply with his ambiguous career during the war. Setting this into perspective means considering how the technological modernism of the Nazi realm fascinated Modernist designers, and that it also entailed certain aspects of aesthetic modernism. Mattem's aestheticism and his pride made him underestimate the ethical dimension of becoming part of one of the Nazi state's power centres, the Organisation Todt. After the war Mattem continued to challenge the mainstream in several regards. Firstly, pioneering a particular kind of ecological thinking, he forcefully criticised bad planning legislation and practice from an unusually positivist perspective. Secondly, he initiated a unique course of landscape architecture at an art academy, which linked to his early exposure to reformist concepts in artistic education. The exposition of contradicting facets of Mattem's personality facilitates a more comprehensive interpretation of his design work. It also demonstrates the diversity of modem garden culture, both with regard to philosophy as well as formal expression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available