Emil Fahrenkamp (November 8, 1885, Aachen – May 24, 1966, Ratingen-Breitscheid) was a German architect and professor, one of the most prominent architects of the interwar period, best known for his 1931 Shell-Haus in Berlin.
Life and career
Fahrenkamp was born in Aachen and came to Düsseldorf to work in the office of Wilhelm Kreis from 1909 to 1912. He became assistant, then professor at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art. His work in the 1920s and early 1930s can be seen as an integration of progressive Neues Bauen – simplified forms, flat roofs, repeated window patterns – with features of traditional styles.
The Shell-Haus is widely considered to be Fahrenkamp's masterpiece and one of the most significant office block designs of the Weimar Republic. It did not, however, escape criticism: one of the only times on record that Adolf Hitler inveighed against a specific building in Berlin, as opposed to modern urban architecture in general, was when he insulted Fahrenkamp with "You're the man who committed the crime of the Shell Building." Despite this, Fahrenkamp received some commissions from the Nazis for exhibition buildings, and had dealings with Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, the head of the Luftwaffe and the Four Year Plan, and Albert Speer, Hitler's favorite architect and later Minister of Armaments and War Production, although he considered himself apolitical. After the war, after he was "de-Nazified", he remained active as an architect, but withdrew from public life.
Fahrenkamp died on May 24, 1966, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.
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