Bruno Taut

Bruno Taut was a German Architect, classified as a Modernist,and particularly
as an Expressionist. In the Nazi period ,he lived in Japan in asylum. He published many books in Japan and brought about a revision of Japanese culture and architecture.    

Bruno Julius Florian Taut was born in Königsberg in 1880. After secondary school,
he studied at the “Baugewerkschule”. In the following years, Taut worked in the offices
of various architects in Hamburg and Wiesbaden. In 1903 he was employed by Bruno Möhring
in Berlin, where he acquainted himself with Jugendstil and new building methods combining
steel with masonry. From 1904 to 1908, Taut worked in Stuttgart for Theodor Fischer and
studied urban planning. He received his first commission through Fischer in 1906, which involved
renovation of the village church in Unterriexingen close to Stuttgart. In 1908, he returned to
Berlin to study art history and construction at the Technical University in Charlottenburg.
A year later, he established the architecture firm Taut & Hoffmann with Franz Hoffmann.
Taut’s first large projects came in 1913. He became a committed follower of the Garden City
movement, as exhibited by his design for the Falkenberg Estate.
Taut adopted the futuristic
ideals and techniques of the avante-garde as seen in the prismatic dome of the Glas Pavilion,
which he built for the Association of the German Glass Industry for the 1914 Werkbund
Exhibition in Cologne.
His sketches for the publication “Alpine Architecture”(1917) are the
work of an utopian visionary, and he reflects his position as a leader of
German Modernist and, an Expressionist.
In 1924 Taut was made chief architect of GEHAG,
a Berlin public housing cooperative, and was the main designer of several successful large
residential developments in Berlin. Taut worked for the city architect of Berlin, Martin Wagner,
on some of Berlin’s modernist housing estates, now recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Between 1924 and 1931, Taut’s team completed more than 12,000 dwellings.
Being a noted
advocate of socialist policies, Taut was compelled to look for opportunities to emigrate from
Germany when the Nazis gained power. He was promised work in the USSR in 1932 and 1933,
but was obliged to return to Germany in February 1933 to a hostile political environment.
Taut fled to Switzerland, then with an invitation from Japanese architect Isaburo Ueno, he traveled
to Japan Taut made his home in Daruma Temple in Takasaki, where he produced three influential
book-length appreciations of Japanese culture and architecture, comparing the historical simplicity of
Japanese architecture with modernist discipline. For a period Taut worked as an industrial design
teacher and his models of lamps and furniture were sold at the Miratiss shop in Tokyo.
Taut was noted for his appreciation of the stark, minimalist vein of Japanese architecture
found at the Ise Shrine and at the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto.
The only remaining architectural work in Japan by Taut
is the extension of the
Hyuga Villa at Atami in Shizuoka.
Offered a position as Professor of Architecture at the “State Academy of Fine Arts” in Istanbul ,
Taut relocated to Turkey in 1936. In Ankara he joined other German wartime exiles. Here he had an
opportunity to influence urban planning as well as to introduce Bauhaus architectural education to
the country. Before his death in 1938, Taut designed a number of educational buildings in Ankara
and Trabzon under commissions from the Turkish Ministry of Education. The most significant of
these buildings was the “Faculty of Languages, History and Geography” at Ankara University.
Taut died on 24 December 1938 and was laid to rest at the Edirnekap Martyr’s Cemetery in Istanbul
as the first and only non-Muslim.