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Gottfried Böhm, architect in concrete, dies at 101 years old



He was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1939 and served until he was wounded during the Russia campaign in 1942 and sent back to Germany. He rarely talked about the war, but in the 2014 documentary, he recalled a massacre in the High Tatra Mountains. “My job was to shoot,” he said. “We were mountaineers. There was a murderous hail of bullets and we suffered many losses. Right next to me. Right in front of me. ”

After being demobilized, he studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich, where he received a degree in 1946. He spent another year studying sculpture at the city̵

7;s art academy, in what he later called an attempt to distance himself from his father. , who regarded Gottfried as his successor, and whom Gottfried was afraid to disappoint. Although Mr. Böhm eventually chose the architect’s path, his education as a sculptor remained fundamental and wanted to inform his most characteristic works.

After Munich, Mr. Böhm returned to Cologne to work in his father’s company, which he took over after Dominikus’ death in 1955 and continued a family business that would reach almost dynastic dimensions.

In 1948, he married Elisabeth Haggenmüller, an architect he had met while they were students. She helped her husband in many of his projects and they remained married until her death in 2012 in her early 90s. Three of Mr. Böhm’s sons, Stephan, Peter and Paul, all trained as architects and worked for their father’s firm starting in the 1980s. Today, they each run an independent architectural firm under the same roof in the home in Cologne, built by their grandfather in 1928 and where Gottfried had grown up and once maintained his office. A fourth son, Markus, is a painter. Mr. Böhm is also survived by five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and an older brother, Paul, who is 102.

In 1951, Mr. Böhm to America, where he worked briefly for an architectural firm in New York. During a month-long study trip to the United States, he met Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, the Bauhaus masters, who became a great inspiration to him. After returning to Germany, he became a professor at the Technical University of Aachen in 1963 and held this position until 1985.


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