1922 - 2012
Born in Lüneberg in 1922, Hardt-Waltherr Hämer was a German architect with a specialty in theaters and a persistent critic of planning rooted in functionalism. He studied in Berlin’s Academy of Fine Arts and Weimar’s School of Architecture. Having earned his architecture degree, in 1949-1951 he built a unique wooden church, the Schifferkirche in Ahrenshoop, which shows his early organic language. He also worked in the studio that the Luckhardt brothers had set up in postwar Berlin, and in the practice of Gerhard Weber. It was during this period that he specialized in theaters and designed imposing but lyrical works like the Nationaltheater of Mannheim, the Stadttheater of Ingolstadt or his entry to the competition for the Sydney Opera House. A professor in Berlin and a member of the Fine Arts Academy, Hämer was also a leading urban planner who presented alternatives to tabula rasa planning, promoting a participatory model, that of the Stadtvertrag (city contract), which, inspired by Rousseau’s contrat social, assigned society an active role in the shaping of the urban environment.