Gottfried Böhm, Master Architect in Concrete, Dies at 101 – The New York Times

He was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1939 and served until being wounded during the Russia campaign in 1942 and sent back to Germany. He rarely spoke about the war, but in the 2014 documentary he recalled a slaughter in the High Tatra Mountains. “My task 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 he was demobilized, he studied architecture at the Technical University in Munich, where he received a degree in 1946. He spent another year studying sculpture at that city’s Academy of Arts, in what he later called an attempt to distance himself from his father, who considered Gottfried his successor and whom Gottfried was afraid to disappoint. Even though Mr. Böhm eventually chose the architect’s path, his training as a sculptor remained foundational and would inform his most distinctive works.

After Munich, Mr. Böhm returned to Cologne to work in his father’s firm, which he took over after Dominikus’s death in 1955, continuing a family business that would come to reach near-dynastic dimensions.

In 1948 he married Elisabeth Haggenmüller, an architect he had met while they were students. She assisted her husband on 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. Nowadays they each operate an independent architecture firm under the same roof, in the Cologne home that was 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 journeyed to America, where he worked briefly at a New York architecture firm. During a monthslong study tour in 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 that position until 1985.

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Gottfried Böhm, Master Architect in Concrete, Dies at 101 – The New York Times

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