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Famous Alumni of the HFT Stuttgart



Paul Stohrer (1909–1975)


Paul Stohrer studied architecture at the State School of Building Trades – as HFT Stuttgart was known during the inter-war period – until 1934. He later continued his academic career at Stuttgart Technical College.


Stohrer was an employee of the Stuttgart-based architect Paul Gebhardt while still a student, and went on to found his own architecture firm in 1935. During the post-war period, he ranked among the most prominent and successful architects in southern Germany, and was commissioned to rebuild numerous war-damaged theatres and cinemas. He was also responsible for the construction of Stuttgart City Hall in cooperation with Hans-Paul Schmohl. Other key areas of activity included the design of not only residential buildings characterized by highly individual ground plans, but also office buildings and commercial premises. In 1963 he received the Paul Bonatz Prize for the Stohrer Building in Stuttgart, which housed both his home and offices.


In 1959, Paul Stohrer accepted a position at the State School of Construction in Stuttgart, and went on to inspire generations of students with his unconventional approach to teaching in his role as a professor of design and interior design. He not only saw architecture as a creative task, but was also an artist in the narrower sense. He remained a keen painter throughout his life, and was a member of the Paris- and Stuttgart-based “ligne et couleur” group of architect-painters from 1959 to 1972.



Karl Beer (1886-1965)


Karl Beer was born the son of a master carpenter in Ulm. He completed his training as a carpenter at his parents’ firm before studying at the School of Building Trades (a predecessor of HFT Stuttgart). After graduating in 1910, he began his career at the architecture firm run by his professor, Clemens Hummel, where he worked on the construction of Obertürkheim City Hall among other projects. He was then a co-founder of the Pfeiffer-Beer firm of architects, which existed until 1920. Beer worked as a freelance architect from 1921 onwards, his main area of focus being cooperative residential projects. Many of his designs were drawn up for the housing association Bau- und Heimstättenverein Stuttgart. His buildings in Stuttgart and the surrounding area include the Schönblick estate (including the Höhenrestaurant), an eight-storey residential tower block on the Killesberg (an immediate neighbour of the Weißenhof estate) and a number of other estates located close to Westbahnhof station and in Gaisburg, Cannstatt, Ostheim and Gablenberg – all of which were strongholds of working-class residential development at that time.


Karl Beer was also a member of the SPD party and a local councillor. The assumption of power by the National Socialists saw him banned from entering Stuttgart City Hall, and in May 1933 he was even taken into “protective custody” for four months. The fact that he was of Swiss descent enabled him and his family to move to Switzerland in 1935, and from 1937 onwards he was able to resume his architectural career. In addition to further work with housing associations in Zurich, Lucerne and Bern, he also designed a number of factories and office buildings.


Although he lived in Switzerland for the rest of his life, Karl Beer nevertheless set up an office in Stuttgart for the second time in 1960. It was during this period that he designed a number of residential buildings in Heumaden and Hedelfingen for the housing association Stuttgarter Wohn- und Siedlungsgesellschaft.



Hellmuth Hirth (1886–1938)


The trained mechanic from Heilbronn attended the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades from 1906 onwards, and is regarded as a pioneer of aviation, aircraft and aircraft engines. He was the founder of Versuchsbau Hellmuth Hirth, a firm which developed two-stroke engines. Herrmann Mahle joined his team a short time later before taking over the firm with his brother, Ernst Mahle, to create MAHLE. Hellmuth Hirth remained devoted to aircraft engineering, and founded Hirth-Motoren GmbH in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen in 1931.



Ernst Otto Osswald (1880–1960)


Born in Stuttgart, Ernst Otto Osswald first qualified as a stonemason and spent time as a travelling tradesman before training as an architect at the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades.


His most famous building is Tagblatt Tower in Stuttgart. Built between 1924 and 1928, the tower was Germany’s first reinforced concrete high-rise building and the world’s first exposed concrete high-rise building. This highlight of Osswald’s legacy represents both an outstanding architectural monument and a landmark in the history of Stuttgart.



Ludwig Dürr (1878–1956)


Ludwig Dürr trained as a mechanic before studying at the Technical College for Mechanical Engineers (part of the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades) in the 1890s. He subsequently gained a job in the Technical Department at the Royal Railway Inspectorate in Aalen/Württemberg. He joined Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin’s Design Office as an engineer in 1898, and was involved in the design of the first airship (the LZ1). From 1901 to 1945 he was a pioneer of lightweight engineering in his role as Head Airship Designer. He was appointed Technical Director of what had since become Luftschiffbau Zeppelin in 1913, and went on to not only develop component concepts that are still used in the design of light metal aircraft structures to this day, but also refine many technologies that are of critical importance to aerial navigation.


Ludwig Dürr was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1953. Many universities conferred him with honorary doctorates, and he was also made an honorary citizen of the cities of Friedrichshafen and Echterdingen.


*This area of study was spun off to create a stand-alone school of mechanical engineering in Esslingen in 1912.



Albert Benz (born in 1877, disappeared in 1944, declared dead in 1959)


Born in Esslingen in 1877, Albert Benz was a German architect and curator of historic buildings and monuments. From 1892 to 1897 he was a student at the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades, a predecessor of HFT Stuttgart. He simultaneously trained as a stonemason and carpenter, and also worked as an architectural draughtsman during his studies. His life and work took him to three continents.


His first firm having ended in bankruptcy, Benz left Esslingen for China with his wife in 1910. He was responsible for the construction of the railway line from Peking to Nanking as well as the railway station in Nanking. He was involved in the planning of the new parliament building in Peking.


In 1921 he emigrated to America, where he worked in a design office specializing in factory architecture and founded the Philadelphia-based Benz Construction Company. His wife remained in Esslingen with their youngest daughter.


It was another 10 years until Benz returned to Germany in 1931. From 1934 onwards he worked at the Stuttgart City Archive, and regained his German citizenship in 1937. It was nevertheless not long before he left Germany once again. He took up residence in Prague, where he was an assistant lecturer at the university and worked on his doctoral thesis. He also ran an antique shop. By this time Benz was a sought-after architect and art historian, and also catalogued works of art for the Nazis. Some of those works had been stolen from Jewish citizens. In the period thereafter, Benz repeatedly used his lectures to denounce the actions of the National Socialists, and was arrested in 1944 on suspicion of slandering the National Socialist regime. He died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp a short time later. The date of his death remains unknown.


His granddaughter Susanne Weber, the sister of Erika Weber, chooses the following words to describe the legacy of Albert Benz: “His architectural language remains a hallmark of the cityscape of Esslingen.” His work exhibits a striking blend of styles ranging from the mediaeval and the baroque to renaissance architecture. In addition to the restoration of the Kessler sparkling wine cellars and the construction of the headquarters of Stuttgart’s municipal utilities, Albert Benz also designed and built what are now listed villas on the Eisberg in Esslingen (next to the B10 road). He also restored Beilstein Castle. Many of his buildings in China have survived to this day.



Philipp Jakob Manz (1861–1936)


It was Philipp Jakob Manz that the most prestigious factory owners of the day commissioned to build or extend their factory buildings. Manz was the most successful German industrial architect of the imperial era, and learned his craft as a mason and stonemason before studying at the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades from 1877 onwards.


His most famous buildings include the present-day Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe (1915-1918, originally built as a weapons and munitions factory), the Zeppelin hangars in Friedrichshafen (1909), the Mauser gun factory in Oberndorf and the former Junghans clock and watch factory in Schramberg (1916-1918). He also designed other factories such as the Salamander shoe factory in Kornwestheim (1904-1910), the Wilhelm Bleyle knitwear factory in Stuttgart (1907) and the glass palace created for Mechanische Baumwollspinnerei und Weberei in Augsburg (1909-1910).



Albert Hirth (1858–1935)


Born in Meimsheim, Albert Hirth first trained as a mechanic and mechanical engineer before enrolling at the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades in 1878. He went on to become a successful engineer responsible for numerous inventions. His employers included the Junghans clock and watch factory in Schramberg and Robert Bosch.



Joseph Cades (1855-1943)


Joseph Cades was a German architect and proponent of historicism. He designed numerous Catholic church buildings, 39 of which were built in the diocese of Rottenburg/Württemberg. In the period around 1880 he was involved in the construction of Ulm Minster.


Having already trained as a stonemason, from 1871 onwards Cades attended the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades – a predecessor of HFT Stuttgart. He went on to study in Germany, Italy and France before founding his own architecture firm in Stuttgart in 1886. His primary area of activity was the construction of Catholic church buildings.


Cades’ style ranges from Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque to Neo-Baroque architecture. His trademarks are imposing Romanesque brick buildings with large white rendered sections, for example the Liebfrauenkirche in Bad Cannstatt and the Church of St. Elisabeth in West Stuttgart.


Joseph Cades is also renowned for his drawings of old architectural monuments. Up until 1921 he took an active role in the cataloguing of art monuments in Württemberg, proving himself to be an outstanding expert on the history of art in Swabia.



Gustav Bauernfeind (1848 – 1904)


The painter, illustrator and architect Gustav Bauernfeind was born in Sulz am Neckar. Despite having died over a century ago, he still enjoys an international reputation as one of Germany’s most important painters of oriental scenes.


Bauernfeind studied architecture at the Royal Württemberg School of Building Trades, a predecessor of HFT Stuttgart. He began his career at the office of the architect Professor Wilhelm Bäumer, and later joined the architecture firm run by Adolph Gnauth. It was Gnauth who inspired his interest in painting. Bauernfeind’s love of the Middle East and Central Asia took root during his first tours of the Middle East in 1880/81. In 1896 he and his family moved to Jerusalem, where he both lived and worked. His career also took him to Lebanon and Syria.


Above all, Bauernfeind’s work is characterized by motifs borrowed from the architecture and culture of Palestine and Syria. His speciality was meticulously researched, highly detailed cityscapes and set pieces which he painted in oil and were in most cases of almost photographic quality. He also worked in watercolours and painted rural scenes. His paintings represent an artistic reflection on circumstances in Palestine and Syria in the late 19th century.


The Bauernfeind Museum in Bauernfeind’s hometown of Sulz am Neckar houses a permanent collection of almost 100 of his works. Photos and correspondence also provide fascinating insights into the life of the Bauernfeind family.



Adam Friedrich Gabler (1834–1915)


Born in Mühlhausen, Adam Friedrich Gabler trained as a mason and senior stonemason at the Stuttgart Winter School of Building Trades (i.e. teaching only occurred during the winter months) from 1849 to 1853. From 1865 onwards he ran his own construction company in Nürtingen. His main area of focus was the construction of railway lines in the Württemberg region, and he was responsible for the Kochendorf–Jagstfeld and Tübingen–Dußlingen sections among others. Gabler was also involved in the construction of buildings at the Wilhelma zoological-botanical garden in Stuttgart.


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