Art and Culture 

Theories on the Metropolis

The Cities of Hénard and Hilberseimer

Luis Fernández-Galiano 

The urban debates in Paris or Berlin a century ago remain pertinent. Eugène Hénard (1849-1923) and Ludwig Hilberseimer (1885-1967) have come down in history through writings and anticipatory projects a generation apart, separated by the trauma of the Great War. Hénard’s Études were published in installments between 1903 and 1909, and Hilberseimer’s Großstadtarchitektur appeared in 1927. Over the years both have gotten a mixed critical reception. In the case of Hénard – admired by Gaston Barbet or Maurice Rotival, and described by Françoise Choay as a precursor of ‘technotopy’ –, the first and only monographic exhibition was organized by the MoMA in 1969, the first French reprint of his writings appeared in 1982, and the first Spanish version comes out now, with an excellent foreword by Jean-Louis Cohen that updates his introductory text of thirty years ago. As for Hilberseimer, rediscovered by Aldo Rossi and Giorgio Grassi in the 1960s, he saw one of his works published in Italian in 1967, while Großstadtarchitektur was released in Spanish in 1979 and in Italian in 1981, but in English – surprising for someone who went into exile with Mies in Chicago in 1938, and lived the rest of his career in the United States – we had to wait until 2012 for the translation of Columbia University, presented now with an informative introduction by Richard Anderson and an evocative epilogue by Pier Vittorio Aureli...

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