The Bank Buildings of Alexander Neumann: Prague, Vienna and Graz, 1906-20
This essay considers the life and work of Alexander Neumann (b. Heinzendorf 1861, d. Wellington 1947). Trained in Vienna with a practice ranging across the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its secessionist republics, Neumann brought a strong historicist education and early practice in the office of the theatre specialists Fellner und Helmer to the task of designing commercial premises for banks and insurance companies, while maintaining a vibrant practice as a domestic architect and housing developer. This essay surveys Neumann's achievements before offering close readings of three buildings for the Vienna-based Bank-Verein, realised in cooperation with Josef Zasche, in one case, and, in another, with Ernst Gotthilf. The essay positions Neumann's practice as an encounter with modern architecture realised through a negotiation of the various polemical forces-conservative as well as progressive-in play in the decades spanning Vienna's fin de si裬e. Neumann's biography demonstrates a profound experience of modernity, but an experience that is not predicated in his architectural practice.
Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Architectural History and Theory