Day 270/365 of Steel – Meinhard von Gerkan

Recently, the European architectural community mourned after the loss of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.

Meinhard von Gerkan
Fig 1: Meinhard von Gerkan
Photo: © Wilfried Dechau

Meinhard von Gerkan (3 January 1935 – 30 November 2022) was a German architect and one of the founders of the architectural firm von Gerkan, Marg and Partners. Von Gerkan was known for being the architect of Berlin Tegel Airport as well as Berlin Hauptbahnhof. At the time of his death, Deutsche Welle described him as “Germany’s most famous architect”.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Hauptbahnhof Berlin
Fig 2: Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Photo: © Marcus Bredt

Von Gerkan won the competition to design Berlin Hauptbahnhof in the early 1990s. After von Gerkan completed his design, Deutsche Bahn hired another firm to replace the vaulted ceiling in the design with a flat one, without informing the original architect.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Fig 3: Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Photo: Ansgar Koreng / CC BY 3.0 (DE)

Von Gerkan sued Deutsche Bahn, comparing the action to “ripping pages out of a novel”, and the judge ruled in favor of von Gerkan, stating that the building had been “considerably defaced” by Deutsche Bahn.

Universiade Sports centre in Shenzhen
Fig 4: Universiade Sports centre in Shenzhen
Photo: © Christian Gahl

Other famous projects include the Universiade Sports centre in Shenzhen, the Leipzig Congress Center and the Kyiv Olympic Stadion. 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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