Joseph Maria Olbrich

Joseph Maria Olbrich ( born December 22, 1867 in Opava; † August 8, 1908 in Dusseldorf ) was an Austrian architect who lived from 1900 in the German Reich and worked.


Joseph Maria Olbrich was born the third child of Edmund and Aloisia Olbrich people. He had two sisters who had died before his birth, and the younger brothers John and Edmund. His father was a wealthy master confectioner and wax manufacturer and possessed of a brick, which was awakened early Olbrich's interest in the construction industry.

Olbrich attended high school in Opava, but before dropping, completed a bricklayer, to then work for a local builder as a draftsman. In 1882 he went to Vienna to join the class architecture of the Vienna State Trade School. His teachers were Julius Deininger (father of Wunibald Deininger ) and Camillo Sitte.

In 1886, Olbrich his final exam with a grade of "excellent".

He then returned briefly after Opava, to work for a construction company as a draftsman. From 1890 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna as a pupil of Karl Freiherr von Hasenauer and his designs won several awards, such as the pain - price Hofpreis first class and the Rome Prize of the Academy. In 1893 he entered the office of Otto Wagner. The most detailed plans for the building of the Vienna Stadtbahn likely to come from Olbrich, but this is not exactly known. Wagner liked him very much, he even considered a marriage of his daughter with him.

In 1896, the dissatisfaction of a group of artists led by Gustav Klimt, the Vienna Secession as a splinter group of the Vienna Künstlerhaus. This group's need for its own exhibition building, Olbrich had his first big order and built in 1897, the Secession building. As a result, he also built several houses in and around Vienna, including the home for Hermann Bahr in Veitlissengasse in Hietzing. In return Bahr Olbrich announced in his essays and feature articles as a central architect of Vienna.

Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine ( Hesse -Darmstadt ) frequently visited Vienna and was very interested in modern art. At his instance, therefore, in 1899 the Darmstadt artists' colony on the Mathildenhoehe originated in Darmstadt. To this end he took Olbrich in Darmstadt, which quickly became the unofficial leader of the artists' colony and also drew the highest salary. On April 4, 1900 he was given by the Grand Duke awarded the title of professor and was Hessian citizens. Olbrich was the only architect in the group of artists for Peter Behrens originally only as a painter and graphic artist. In many cases, put the publisher Alexander Koch in the major magazines interior decoration and German art and decoration apart with Olbrich and the Darmstadt artists' colony. Olbrich married in 1903 in Wiesbaden Claire Morawe, the divorced wife of the writer Christian Ferdinand Morawe.

The artists' colony became a testing ground for Olbrich, where he also built the main building, the Ernst- Ludwig House. There arose various houses and buildings for the temporary exhibitions. Since 1901, a native of Magdeburg Hans Heller ( 1884-1917 ) worked in the studio of Olbrich and qualified there to 1907 in the Arts and Crafts School in Hamburg to take a professorship in interior design. Furthermore, Olbrich designed ceramic harnesses for the artists ' colony which was produced in Waechtersbach, pieces of furniture for Darmstadt furniture companies and musical instruments, such as the Mand - Olbrich wings. Longer than many other member remained loyal to the colony. His contributions to the Louisiana Exposition in St. Louis made ​​such an impression that he - probably at the instigation of Frank Lloyd Wright - became a corresponding member of the American Institute of Architects. In 1906 he received his last and largest order: the Tietz department store in Dusseldorf. The Rhineland appeared to him as attractive field of activity, because it seemed easier at large, monumental projects than in Darmstadt, where the artists' colony in addition to the Grand Duke had only a few clients. In the same year the launch of the twin-screw express mail steamer Crown Princess Cecilie took place. At the interior and facilities of this transatlantic liner, one of the most ambitious and most successful German passenger ship projects, worked with, among others, Bruno Paul and Richard Riemerschmid next to Olbrich.

Shortly after the birth of his daughter Marianne on July 19, 1908, Olbrich died - only 40 years old - on August 8 in Dusseldorf from leukemia. Four days later he was buried in the old cemetery in Darmstadt. 1924 Olbrichgasse facility in Vienna and in the 1960s was the Josef Maria Olbrich - named street in Dusseldorf - Garath after the architect. In Darmstadt, has been named after him also the Olbrichweg on the Mathildenhoehe.


Buildings and designs


  • ( with Ludwig Hevesi ): Ideas of Olbrich. 1900 ( 1st Edition ) / Baumgartner, Leipzig 1904 ( 2nd expanded edition).
  • Architecture of Olbrich ( Mappenwerk ) Publisher Ernst Wasmuth, Berlin 1901-1914.
  • ( with William Holzamer ): Games. Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Leipzig, 1901.
  • ( with Georgina, Baroness of Rotsmann ): It was once. Darmstadt 1904.
  • The Tietz department store in Dusseldorf. Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Berlin, 1909.


  • At installation of the Essenes Moltke district from 1908, a street was named after him.