After finishing his studies, Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz (*1929) started to work in the mid-fifties within the conventional forms of postwar modernism. Together with two former fellow students he launched an architecture firm in Essen. Their award-winning design for Landeshaus Köln, which was built 1957-59, as well as the concurrent factory building for the Phoenix-Werke in Blomberg show rasterized curtain facades in the tradition of Mies van der Rohe.

Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz, Raumstadt, 1959. 700 x 700 x 1350 mm.

Collection FRAC Centre, Orléans, France. Photo by Philippe Magnon

Despite these early successful results in the contests, Schulze-Fielitz remains skeptical toward the handed down concepts of architecture and city planning. At that time I was looking for something else, as the architect stated in an interview. I was looking for a serial, open, flexible and multifunctional universal structure that allowed different figurations, fillings and spaces, versatile, mountable and demountable. I was looking for the laws of space. The result was the Raumstruktur in 1959. (1)

Invitationcard for the exhibition Schulze-Fielitz Raumstrukturen,

Galerie van de Loo, Essen, 1960

Not being familiar with the similar considerations by Constant and Friedman at this point, he was deeply impressed by the designs of Konrad Wachsmann, especially his hangar for the US air force that was published in baukunst und werkform in 1954. Wachsmann’s rasterized structure for the cantilever roof of the hangar became the role model for Schulze-Fielitz’ Raumstadt (Space City). In his concept the gaps of the grid were not only supposed to serve for stabilization, but to become spaces to work and to live in.

Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz & Yona Friedman, Brückenstadt über den Ärmelkanal, 1963

By the medium of their mutual friend Daniel Spoerri, Schulze-Fielitz became acquainted with Yona Friedman in the summer of 1960. In the following year he joined GEAM. Their contact intensified 1962, after Schulze-Fielitz had opened his office in Paris. Jointly they designed the Brückenstadt über den Ärmelkanal (Bridgetown across the Channel), a multi-level space structure that combined train and car routes between France and England with aerial residential areas: a megastructure following-up the linear cities.

Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz, Stadtsystem, 1966

In the late fifties Schulze-Fielitz enhanced his ideas of the Space City to a theory of a universal structure. The universal struc­ture had already served as the basis of his competition entry for the Opera building in Essen 1960. Later on he applied the same principles to his competition entries for Berlin-Tegel airport and the Olympic Stadium in Munich (both 1967). 1969 he designed the Habitainer, flexible and transportable accommodations that were established in Turkey, Algeria and on Sao Toma.

In the 70ies and 80ies Schulze-Fielitz realized a number of residential developments, but always returned to his ideas of the Raumstadt, for example in his plan for a Surf+Sail City at the Oosterschelde. In recent years he has mainly concerned himself with geometric theories which relate to his earlier thoughts about a universal structure.


(1) Ich suchte damals etwas anderes. Eine serielle, offene, anpassungsfähige, multifunktionale Universalstruktur, die verschiedene Figurationen, Füllungen und Räume zulässt, nicht monoton, montierbar und demontierbar. Ich suchte nach den Gesetzen des Raumes. Ergebnis war 1959 die Raumstruktur. Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz in an interview with Stephan Strauß, in: Der Baumeister, September 1999, p. 42