The Einstein Tower was the product of the complementary investigations of expressionism, reinforced concrete construction, and relativity undertaken by its architect, Erich Mendelsohn, between 1912 and 1920. The war-ravaged German economy of 1921, which impeded its construction, and the scientific agenda of its patron, Erwin Finlay Freundlich, which determined the character of its interior spaces, also helped shape its final appearance. Designed to serve scientific inquiry, it occupies a distinctive intellectual, as well as stylistic, position within the history of German expressionism. In this building Mendelsohn established the design approach that would characterize the rest of his German career, fusing attention to program with bold images of the thrilling instability of modern life. As its reception demonstrates, the functional aspects of the tower have been overshadowed by the degree to which its form has mistakenly been identified with a contemporary enthusiasm for mysticism, which in fact played no role in its design.
- Copyright 1994 The Society of Architectural Historians