Leberecht Migge (1881–1935) and the modern garden in Germany
The dissertation research was initially based on the question of the role of garden and landscape in German modern architecture of the early twentieth-century. The results of this investigation have conclusively proven that although the subject of land and garden in connection with modernism has been under-emphasized, especially in non-German historical narratives, these were central concerns of the period. One garden architect emerges as the most significant of the period, Leberecht Migge (1881–1935). Migge was a close colleague and collaborator of many important modern architects including Hermann Muthesius, Ernst May, Bruno Taut, and Martin Wagner. Although he was a talented garden designer, his greatest significance comes from his ability to synthesize practical and theoretical developments from a variety of fields, including architecture, garden design, urban design, social reform, agricultural reform, and ecological gardening. He was a central figure in four great movements: garden and park reform, urban planning, the Siedlungen (housing settlements), and organic architecture and planning. For the dissertation, his extensive body of work including books and articles as well as theoretical and built projects has been carefully analyzed not only within the context of his biography, but also within overall developments of the period. Perhaps his single most significant contribution to architectural theory was his own redefinition of the primitive hut, a figure that he probably took from Le Corbusier. Migge argued that the original dwelling had been purposely constructed as a movable or temporary structure in order to facilitate relocation in search of food or new ground. Thus dwelling in its most fundamental form not only provided basic shelter, it was also an expression of dwelling as biological act, and thus symbolic of the essential integration of human life with the organic systems of the earth. Although the technology of the period was often not sophisticated enough to effectively realize his ideas, many of his conceptual paradigms are of such a fundamental nature that they remain relevant to contemporary discussion.
0377: Art history