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©Philippe Magnon

Raumstadt, 1959

Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz
  • Architect (1929)

As a pioneer of research in Germany into structural morphology, Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz is associated with the tradition of Robert le Ricolais, Buckminster Fuller, and David Georges Emmerich. In the late 1950s, he experimented with the potential of mathematical and morphological principles in the organization and division of three-dimensional space, culminating in new structural configurations. Under the influence of Konrad Waschmann, and in the footsteps of Yona Friedman, he developed the “spatial city” concept (Raumstadt, 1959), a “system for the occupation of space by structures capable of carrying on indefinitely in all directions”, based on a systematized and industrialized assemblage of trellises made up of tetrahedra and octahedra. These flexible assemblages could also be adapted to any type of site—be it a terrain without any possibility of foundation, or marine structures (New Venice, 1969)—and programme (Damascus Airport, Damascus, 1959-60; Jakobuskirche, Düsseldorf-Eller, 1960-63; and Universität Bochum, 1962). In 1969, well aware of the demographic and urbanistic problems faced by the developing countries, the architect made emergency housing projects and, in the early 1980s, developed a principle of housing units with aluminium shells, which were economical and flexible, and suited to different climates and populations (Ecotecture, 1980-81). He was an indefatigable researcher and, right into the 1990s, would remain involved in his project to inventory elementary architectural figures (Metaeder, 1960-1998), based on the geometric and mathematical laws of matter.

Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz graduated from the RWTH Aachen University and the T H Karlsruhe, and founded his own agency in 1954 with Ulrich von Altenstadt and Ernst von Rudloff. In 1961 he joined the Mobile Architecture Studies Group (GEAM), founded three years earlier by Yona Friedman, with whom he would collaborate (Manche, Brückenstadt über den Armelkanal, 1963). In 1965 he founded the Stadtbausysteme, Gesellschaft für Forschung und Entwicklung mbH, a company set up to market the constructive systems which he developed. In 1971, he published Urban Systems, a book in which he tried to offer concrete answers to the urban development issues of the day. The monograph E S-F. Metasprache des Raums, published in 2010, salutes the whole of the oeuvre of this architect and engineer.