Architect and writer born in Strasbourg in 1897, a leading architect of Roman Catholic Churches, a friend of Mies Van Der Rohe who commented that Schwarz
“designed order full of meaning”
Prolific, constantly busy either creating, writing or teaching, Rudolf Schwarz designed more than forty churches and was equally known for his two books about church architecture. He studied alongside Hans Poelzig from 1919 to 1923 at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Berlin whilst finding time to travel to Cologne to train in construction. In 1924 he worked for Hans Poelzig at the Acadamy of Arts Berlin and began a 16 year connection as Master Designer of the Burg Rothenfels in Main.
Typically his career involved layers, carrying out several projects simultaneously. From 1925 to 1927 he taught architecture at the Technischen Lehranstalten Offenbachtechnical with Domenikus Böhm, then became the Director of the Aachener Handwerks and Kunstgewerbeschule, (the Aachen Arts and Crafts School) until it closed in 1934.
From 1929 until 1930 he focused on the building of St. Fronleichnam church in Aachen. He then became a member of the German Werkbund until 1934 when he became an architect working in Ofenbach and Frankfurt.
In 1938 he wrote the first of his two important books about Building the Church, Vom Bau der Kirche
During WW2 he was made head of reconstruction planning in Lorraine and was then drafted into the army, at the end of the war he was held ‘in captivity’ for a year.
Post-war he returned to Cologne to became the Head Planner for the reconstruction of the City of Cologne, a position he remained in from 1946 to 1950. For the final decade of his life he built some of his most memorable buildings including Saint Anna in Düren near Aachen in 1951, and from 1954 to 1959 St. Christophorus in Cologne-Niehl.
Again the layering of projects, in 1956 he built the Museum of Applied Art in Cologne, known as the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and in the midst of all this he wrote KirchenbauSchwarz in 1960.He spliced this period both building and working in academia as Professor of Urban Design at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf from 1953 until his death in 1961. In 1959 he started the project to build St. Bonifatius again in Aachen which was completed three years after his death in 1961.
Rudolf Schwarz received numerous West German national awards:
1951 Federal Cross of Merit
1952 Fritz Schumacher Prize
1956 Great Art Prize of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia