Günther Grzimek

Landscape Architect of a Self-Determined, Democratic Society

Master's Thesis M.A. Landscape Architecture, Andrea Mühlmann


Our society today is multi-layered, emancipated and acts in a democratic sense. This has not been the case for long. Four to five decades ago, people fought against far-reaching regimentation and campaigned for participation in public decisions that affected their living environment and thus their quality of life. This socio-political development can also be seen in parallel in green planning. The formal-aesthetic representation green comes under criticism, prohibitions of use in parks such as the "do not enter" of lawns are negated - entire green spaces are occupied. The omnipotence of the planner as "garden artist" is questioned as emancipation progresses and more social use is demanded for the open spaces instead of continuing to shape them according to individualistic, artistic-creative designs. Günther Grzimek was a landscape architect who advocated socially determined open spaces long before the protest movements. During his lifetime, he always stood out from the majority of the conservative and traditionally acting profession, breaking new and often experimental ground to find progressive solutions for urban and landscape development during the reconstruction of cities in the post-war period. Because of his often alienating and uncomfortable views at the time, Grzimek never gained the notoriety and attention that many of his professional colleagues did. Nevertheless, he stuck to his principles and despite our very dynamic society, his approaches still have a surprising validity today. This distinguishes Günther Grzimek as one of the most important thought leaders of the post-war period. Perhaps his design principles would have developed differently, or only later, if he had not encountered the "right" people at the beginning of his professional career. But he was never shy about engaging with people and creating user-oriented green spaces through a collaborative dialogue.

In this context, the master's thesis sheds light on the impact of socio-political developments on Günther Grzimek's work: how he went from being an initially conservative garden artist to a politically active service provider for democratic society.


Prof. Regine Keller

A copy of the master's thesis is available for inspection at the chair by appointment.