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Glass Pavilion

Architecture, 1914

Description of the artwork «Glass Pavilion»

In his book Glass Architecture, expressionist writer Paul Scheerbart wrote: “The surface of the Earth would have looked completely different if bricked architecture were replaced everywhere with glass. The earth would suddenly be clad in jewels of gems and enamel. We would have a paradise on earth, and no longer would you have to look longingly at the sky. "

Glass Pavilion Bruno Tauta became the living embodiment of this utopian fantasy. According to the architect, his main idea was to build a "outfit for the soul." However, this non-functional building was designed for a very specific and material purpose: the glass pavilion was commissioned by the German Glass Industry Association to Taut in order to demonstrate the potential of various types of glass for architecture. The bizarre structure became the main attraction of the 1914 German Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. The glass dome was two-layer - with colored prisms inside and reflective glasses outside.

Inside the pavilion were metal stairs with glass steps leading to the upper projection hall, and a seven-story cascading waterfall with underwater lighting. The glass walls were completely mosaic from floor to ceiling. All this produced the effect of a huge crystal shining with an incredible variety of colors. The frieze of the glass pavilion was decorated with quotes from the aforementioned Paul Scheerbart: for example, “Stained glass destroys hatred” and “Without a glass palace, life is a sentence."

Taut described his structure as "A small temple of beauty," as "reflections of light, whose colors began at the base with dark blue, rose up to dark green and golden yellow to end upstairs in a luminous pale yellow color." Unfortunately, we can only guess how all this color splendor actually looked like, since the only surviving photographs of the glass pavilion are black and white, and can give an extremely meager idea of the true appearance of this building.

Werkbund's exhibition closed in August 1914, when Germany announced mobilization for World War I. The fragile structure of Bruno Taut did not survive the hostilities, only a dilapidated concrete frame was preserved. Since the glass pavilion was not of particular importance, its remains were demolished in the early 20s. In 1993, old plans and building documents for the glass pavilion of Bruno Taut were discovered in the historical archives of Cologne. The Werkbund Archives organization used these plans and blueprints to create a building layout. Now it is stored in the Museum of things in Berlin.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Architecture

Style of art: Expressionism

Date of creation: 1914

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