CRITICAL REVIEW


Architect Rudolf Fränkel was born in Poland, in 1901, as the son of Louis Fränkel, who was an architect himself. Rudolf Fränkel attended the Royal Technical College in Charlottenburg (now, Berlin Institute of Technology), and during school years he was introduced to architecture in his father’s practice. After graduation, he began training as a young architect, between 1922 and 1924, together with architects Richard Riemerschmid, in München, and Gustav Hart, in Berlin. Rudolf Fränkel is an architect with a truly international career. The unfavourable political context forced him to constantly relocate in order to be able to do his work. However, he succeeded in adapting to the various work environments in the different countries he found himself in, designing a large number of important buildings, which today are part of modern architectural heritage. His first important project, after getting his architect’s degree, was Gartenstadt Atlantic ensemble – a garden neighbourhood, in Berlin (1924-1928). It is known as a relevant example of architecture in Neues Bauen style, a distinctive form of modern architecture that could be found particularly in German-speaking European countries, during the inter-war period. This residential neighbourhood includes Lichtburg movie theatre building that catches the eye through its volume composition, coherence, and light. These features of Rudolf Fränkel’s architecture show up in the solution he proposed for Scala, the movie theatre building in Bucharest. The architect’s craftsmanship in responding to urban context, proportions, connections and volume composition confirm the maturity of the style he practiced. In 1933, he was forced to leave Germany, continuing his architectural work in Bucharest, where he designed 11 residential, commercial or industrial buildings. During WW II, he left Romania for London, where he lived until 1950, when he immigrated to the United States. Here, Fränkel focused his career on the practice and theory of urbanism. He became a professor at Miami State University in Ohio, where he initiated an urban planning course, probably the first of its kind in an American university. He died at the age of 73, in 1974, in Oxford. In 2006, he was awarded, post-mortem, the title of Professor emeritus.
(Fișă realizată de Georgiana Ivan, 2017)
 


IMAGES



    BIOGRAPHY


    (14 June 1901, Nysa, Poland - 23 April 1974, Oxford, Ohio, USA)
     
    Academic/specialized studies
    ? - Technical University, Berlin, Germany.
     


    PROJECTS


    COMPLETED/INCOMPLETE PROJECTS
    1924 - 1928 - Gartenstadt Atlantic ensemble, Gesundbrunnen, Berlin;
    1926 - Apartment building, Emser Straße 14-17a, Wilmersdorf, Berlin;
    1926 - 1928 - Holiday house for film maker Gabriel Levy, 29a Silberberger Straße, Bad Saarow;
    1927 - Honig Ensemble, 72-78 Bellermannstraße, Gesundbrunnen, Berlin;
    1927 - 1929 - Lichtburg movie theatre within Gartenstadt Atlantic, Gesundbrunnen, Berlin;
    1927 - 1930 - single or two-family houses in Gartenstadt Frohnau, Frohnau, Berlin;
    1928 - Bridge over the river Ruhr in Westhofen, Schwerte (demolished);
    1929 - Two-family houses, 28a and b Warnemünder Straße, Dahlem, Berlin;
    1929 - 1932 - Lange House ensemble (compound for seniors, including a theatre, cinema, and clinic), Bad Saarow;
    1930 - Apartments on Grieser Platz, Halensee, Berlin;
    1930 - 1931 - Leuchtturm restaurant, 138 Friedrichstraße, Mitte, Berlin;
    1930 - 1931 - Four-storey apartment building, Schlosspark, Pankow, Berlin;
    1930 - 1932 - Residential building on Stadtpark Schöneberg, Schöneberg, Berlin;
    1931 - 1932 - Stern house, Schmolz, near Breslau;
    1932 - 1933 - Renovation works, Albert Schumann Theatre, Frankfurt am Main (destroyed in 1944, demolished in 1960);
    1933 - 1934 - Pop house, 9 Caragiale, București;
    1933 - 1935 - Adriatica building, Bucharest;
    1934 - Apartments for childless couples, Bucharest;
    1934 - Oţelu Roşu factory, Reșița;
    1934 - 1936 - Textile mill, near Bucharest;
    1935 - 1936 - Comedy Theatre, Bucharest;
    1935 - 1937 - Malaxa apartments, Bucharest;
    1935 - 1937 – The building including Scala movie theatre, Bucharest;
    1936 - 1937 - Flavian villa, Șoseaua Kisseleff, Bucharest;
    1937 - 1938 - Rachwalsky house, Home Counties, for his sister and her husband, Max;
    1937 - 1938 - Frankel house, near London;
    1941 - E. H. Jones (Machine Tools) Ltd. factory, sales facility, cafeteria, Kingsbury;
    1946 - 1947 - Suflex Ltd. factory;
    1946 - 1948 - Sotex Ltd. textile mill, Congleton;
    1949 - Lichfield house, Stanmore;
    1950 - Luralda Ltd. warehouse, London;
    1950 - Rachwalsky house extension, New York.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY


    BOŞTENARU DAN, Maria, Studii şi cercetări ştiinţifice de arhitectură şi urbanism: RUDOLF FRÄNKEL ÎN BUCUREŞTI. 110 ANI DE LA NAŞTERE, UAUIM, 2009.
    CRITICOS, Mihaela, Art deco sau modernismul bine temperat, Simetria, 2009.
    MACHEDON, Luminița & SCOFFHAM, Ernie, Romanian Modernism, the architecture of Bucharest, The MIT Press, London, England, 1999.
    BROWN-MANRIQUE, Gerardo, Rudolf Fränkel and Neues Bauen. Work in Germany, Romania and the United Kingdom, Ernst Wasnzth Verlag Tübingen, Berlin, 2009.
     
    Webography:
    http://www.transatlanticperspectives.org/
    http://www.capstudios.co.uk/