Die gläserne Kette collection
The collection features the correspondence of Die gläserne Kette, also known as the Crystal Chain, and is comprised of letters exchanged between German architects Paul Goesch, Wenzel Hablik, Hans Hansen, Carl Krayl, Hans and Wassili Luckhardt, Hans Scharoun, Bruno and Max Taut, and artist Hermann Finsterlin between 1919 and 1920. The material in the collection was produced predominantly between 1918 and 1923.
The circle of correspondence Die gläserne Kette was initiated by architect Bruno Taut in 1919 and 1920. It sought to encourage an exchange of opinions and ideas between a group of architects and artists on the architecture of the future and their vision of an ideal society. Along with the participants mentioned above, the group also included Wilhelm Brüchmann, Walter Gropius (who however did not participate in the correspondence exchange), and Jakobus Göttel. (Source: Ian Boyd Whyte, Bruno Taut and the Architecture of Activism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982)
The collection contains some of the correspondence exchanged between the architects, as well as conceptual drawings, some of which are not related to the correspondence. Some of the correspondence and most of the drawings are copies. The original material not included in the CCA collection is predominantly preserved at the Akademie der Künste Berlin, in Berlin, Germany, and the Hablik Collection in Itzehoe, Germany. The collection also includes photographic materials, including photographs of models and portraits.
Prior to their transfer to the CCA, the letters, drawings and photographs were organized and arranged according to each architect's name by private collector, Oswald Mathias Ungers. CCA staff and researchers preserved this arrangement, and created a series for each member of the correspondence chain.
Oswald Mathias Ungers was born on July 12, 1926, in Kaisereasch in Western Germany. He studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe between 1947 and 1950 and started practicing architecture in Cologne in 1950. He later opened offices in other towns in Germany including Berlin in 1964 and Frankfurt in 1974. From 1968, he also began teaching in the architecture department at Cornell University in the United States, and was named head of the architecture department in 1969. He remained as chairman until 1975. Ungers died on September 30, 2007.
The documents in this collection were gathered and collected by Oswald Mathias Ungers. The bulk of the Die gläserne Kette materials was acquired by the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 1988, with some material also acquired in 1984 and 1992. The material was acquired from Antiquariaat H.A. Vloemans in The Hague, Netherlands.
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
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