Erich Mendelsohn Initiative Circle

To date, 194 UNESCO member states have signed the 1972 Convention, 167 of which already have a property on the World Heritage List counting a total of 1154 sites. Some of them belong entirely or partially to modern monuments of the 20th century. Included in the World Heritage List in 2016, the 17 buildings and ensembles by Le Corbusier in seven countries listed together with the Weißenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart, are undoubtedly among the most famous world cultural assets of modernity. And since 2021, the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, Germany, figures as the most recent inscription of a young World Heritage property. The UNESCO list already reads like a "Who's Who" of architectural history of the 20th century. From Le Corbusier, to Niemeyer and Lloyd Wright – all the “big names” seem to be represented.

Among the heroes of modernity, who should not be missing in any dictionary of world architecture, but are not yet represented on the World Heritage List, experts from around the globe still miss one name and oeuvre in particular: Erich Mendelsohn (1887-1953). Indeed, Mendelsohn had set an early beacon of expressionist modernism with the Einstein Tower in Potsdam and, during the Weimar Republic, was one of the pioneers of streamlined architecture throughout Europe with his boldly curved constructions and dynamic building masses. He does not yet figure among those ‘best-of’ masters included in the UNESCO-List - nor his works from the years of emigration after 1933, which took him to the USA via the Netherlands, England and Palestine, nor his legacy and influence on the modern architecture also in regions beyond these country borders
The recently launched "Erich Mendelsohn Initiative Circle" aims at exploring the universal role of Erich Mendelsohn’s architectural work in the history of modernity and at assessing its potential for a World Heritage nomination, i.e. its outstanding universal value. Launched by a German-Israeli initiative of ICOMOS experts in 2021 and steered by Jörg Haspel and Regina Stephan, the group, today, counts almost 40 experts from all over the world. The focus lays on more than 40 buildings by Erich Mendelsohn, which have survived in six European countries as well as in Israel and the USA. Investigations also include the evaluation of the Mendelsohn estate, which is mainly kept in the Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Art Library of the National Museums in Berlin) and in the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Partner Institutions

  • Brandenburgisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologisches Landesmuseum
  • The Council for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel
  • Deutsche UNESCO Kommission
  • DOCOMOMO Germany
  • DOCOMOMO Israel
  • Gesellschaft zur Erforschung des Lebens und Wirkens deutschsprachiger jüdischer Architekten
  • Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
  • Hochschule Mainz | University of Applied Sciences
  • Israel National Commission for UNESCO
  • Kunstbibliothek – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Landesdenkmalamt Berlin
  • Technion Haifa, Arenson Built Heritage Research Center
  • Triennale der Moderne 2022 / Triennial of Modernism 2022 (tbc)
  • Arenson Built Heritage Research Center at the Technion
  • Wüstenrot-Stiftung
Chamber of Architects Berlin
Chamber of Architects Berlin
German Commission for UNESCO
German Commission for UNESCO
Bureau for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeological Museum of Brandenburg
Bureau for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeological Museum of Brandenburg
Wüstenrot Foundation
Wüstenrot Foundation
Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel
Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel
Getty Research Institute
Getty Research Institute
Mainz University of Applied Sciences
Mainz University of Applied Sciences
Art Library of the National Museums in Berlin
Art Library of the National Museums in Berlin
do.co.mo.mo. Deutschland e. V.
do.co.mo.mo. Deutschland e. V.
Association for the study of the lives and works of German-speaking Jewish architects
Association for the study of the lives and works of German-speaking Jewish architects
Triennial of Modernism
Triennial of Modernism
Triennial of Modernism
Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa
do.co.mo.mo. Israel
do.co.mo.mo. Israel
ICOMOS Israel
ICOMOS Israel
Berlin Monument Authority
Berlin Monument Authority
Israel National Commission for UNESCO
Israel National Commission for UNESCO
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