Design is fine. History is mine.
Ferdinand Kramer, Pharmaceutical Institute, lecture hall and laboratory building, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, 1957. Photo: Paul Förster. Lecture hall and Canteen, 1963. Photos: H. Schwöbel. © Kramer Archive
When Kramer had the much too narrow neobaroque entrance portal of the University replaced by a large, glazed entrance area, he caused a sensation in Frankfurt during the post-war era. However, with this programmatic intervention, the architect, who also spent the Nazi era in emigration, wanted to set a symbol for a democratic new beginning and the societal opening of the university.
Kramer returned to Germany from America in 1952 to manage the new construction as the Building Director He designed 23 university buildings with his team; however, he also designed all of the interior fixtures and furniture, even the inscription of the new buildings. He thus tied his work in with the 1920s, during which, under Ernst May, he had developed ground-breaking furniture designs and everyday objects for the housing projects of the “New Frankfurt”.