Wilhelm Riphahn was born as the son of Gottfried Riphahn contractor and his wife Maria Wilhelmine, sister of the contractor, Peter gardener. He first visited the Baugewerkschule Cologne, subsequently as guest student ( guest student ), the Technical University of Munich, the Technical University of Dresden and the Institute of Technology ( Berlin ) Charlottenburg - to his teachers were Theodor Fischer, Carl high Eder, Martin Dülfer and Cornelius Gurlitt.
He first worked at the Siemens site office in Berlin and 1912 in the office brothers Taut & Hoffmann (Bruno Taut Max Taut and Franz Hoffmann) in Berlin, he was also at times employees in the office of Otho Orlando Short in Munich and at city architect Hans Erlwein in Dresden. In 1913 Wilhelm Riphahn worked as an independent architect in Cologne. During the First World War and from 1925 to 1931, he worked with the architect Caspar Maria Grod. Both built in 1931 in just five months of construction with the UFA-Palast is one of the most spectacular buildings of that time in Cologne. With a seating capacity of 3,000, it was the largest cinema in West Germany. After 1945 his main collaborators were the architects Hanns Menne and Benvenuto Bausch. Between 1945 and 1948 he was a consultant for the reconstruction of the city of Cologne. In the 40s and 50s he gave the city development Cologne substantial impetus by giving the East-West axis ( Hahnstraße between Rudolf and Neumarkt ) is a city acceptable level and an airy architecture and, on the Offenbachplatz with the construction of the Opera, the Opera terraces of the theater and of the opposite office building one of the few successful and generous ensemble of Cologne reconstruction created.
1950 Riphahn received an honorary doctorate ( Dr. -Ing. Eh ) of the Technical University of Braunschweig and 1953 the Grand Art Prize of North Rhine -Westphalia. In 1955 he was appointed a full member of the Academy of Arts in Berlin.
His grave is located at the Cologne Melaten Cemetery. His daughter Marlene Riphahn (1922-2004) was an actress.
The variety and architectural importance of his work made him one of the most important architects of the City of Cologne:
Cologne Opera House
Bastion Restaurant, Cologne, built in 1924