To mark the hundredth birthday of German architect Paul Schneider-Esleben, the Architekturmuseum in Munich is mounting the first retrospective of his drawings, furniture, and jewelry, drawn on the estate acquired by the museum in 2006. Schneider-Esleben (1915–2005) had a significant influence on post-war modernism, the construction of mega-projects in concrete, high-tech architecture, and building in the historical fabric, and his Mannesmann high-rise in Düsseldorf was Germany’s first steel frame structure with a curtain wall. Schneider-Esleben was innovative both technically and conceptually: while he viewed the Roland School in Düsseldorf (1957–1961) as a project for pedagogical reform and hence gained the cooperation of avant-garde artists from the ZERO group, along with Joseph Beuys, for Köln-Bonn Airport (1962–1971) he developed such a convincing traffic concept that he was soon being called upon to act as advisor to airport projects worldwide. Even though most of Schneider-Esleben’s buildings still survive, the demolition of his ARAG headquarters in Düsseldorf highlights the persistent debate on the heritage value of post-war modernism.
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