Abstract, open, useful. At the Bauhaus, it was these modern principles that the architect Ludwig Hilberseimer conveyed to his students – with individual buildings in building theory, and in a more complex sense in housing and urban design. He documented his lessons of urban planning in numerous publications.

Portrait of Ludwig Hilberseimer, photo: DEPHOT, 1930–1935. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © unknown.
Portrait of Ludwig Hilberseimer, photo: DEPHOT, 1930–1935. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © unknown.

Ludwig Hilberseimer was born in 1885 in Karlsruhe. From 1906 to 1911, he studied architecture in Karlsruhe under Friedrich Ostendorf and others. He then moved to Berlin and worked as an architect. From 1919, he was active as an art critic. He published reports on culture from Berlin in the journals Das Kunstblatt and Sozialistische Monatshefte. In 1922, he worked as an architect and urban planner. His projects included some residential buildings and an office building in Berlin as well as a residence for the exhibition Die Wohnung (the flat) in 1927 in Stuttgart (Weißenhof Estate). At the same time, he published essays on modern architecture and urban planning, which included 'Großstadtarchitektur' (1927) and 'Beton als Gestalter' (1928).

Hilberseimer taught at the Bauhaus Dessau from spring 1929 to April 1933. He began his teaching activities at the Bauhaus as the head of building theory and taught the building design course. He later became the teacher of the seminar for residential building and urban development.

Design for a Socialist City, author: Reinhold Rossig (from Ludwig Hilbersheimer's Class), 10.6.1931. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © unknown.
Design for a Socialist City, author: Reinhold Rossig (from Ludwig Hilbersheimer's Class), 10.6.1931. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © unknown.

From 1933, Hilberseimer’s work in publishing was restricted by the NSDAP, and he worked as an architect in Berlin. In 1938, he emigrated to Chicago, Illinois, and worked under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as a professor of urban and regional planning at the Illinois Institute of Technology. From 1955 on, he was the director of its department of urban and regional planning. Hilberseimer died in Chicago in 1967. 

Literature:
Paul, Wolfgang (1977): Zu den städtebaulichen Leistungen der Bauhausarchitekten Ludwig Hilberseimer, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Mart Stam, Hannes Meyer, Dissertation, Weimar.