New article by Matthew Rampley on the architect Clemens Holzmeister and interwar Austrian cultural politics

An article by CRAACE Principal Investigator Matthew Rampley, ‘Modernism and Cultural Politics in Inter-war Austria: The Case of Clemens Holzmeister,’ has just been published in the journal Architectural History.

A leading representative of Austrian architecture between the wars, and a significant figure in the 1950s and 1960s as teacher of the new generation of Austrian architects including Hans Hollein and Gustav Peichl, Clemens Holzmeister presents a perplexing image. In the 1920s, he played an important role in the early architectural projects of Red Vienna, but in the following decade he endorsed the Austrofascist regime of Engelbert Dollfuß and Kurt Schuschnigg of 1934–38. The article argues that his work presents other interpretative challenges too, for he was a prolific designer of churches, which have seldom been integrated into wider narratives of modern architecture. However his work is viewed, it was an important barometer of wider cultural and political currents in interwar Austria, in particular the country’s attempt to construct a meaningful identity after the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. The aim of the article is not to rehabilitate or recover Holzmeister, but to consider the light his work casts on interwar cultural politics in Austria, as well as the broader questions over the implicit value judgements that inform histories of modern architecture.

The article is open access and can be read here.


Clemens Holzmeister: Vienna Crematorium, opened 1922 – photo: postcard photograph, author’s collection

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