Postbauschule (Bavarian Postal School of Architecture)


The Bavarian Postal School of Architecture was the most significant manifestation of the Neues Bauen Movement in Bavaria, Germany between 1920 and 1934. The initiators of this school are considered to be Robert Poeverlein and, above all, Robert Vorhoelzer, with the eponymous Munich postal buildings at Tegernseer Platz and Goetheplatz. Important representatives include Walther Schmidt, Hanna Löv, and Sep Ruf.

With the Postal Treaty of 1920, Bavaria established its own department of the Reich Postal Ministry in Munich, known as Department VI, as a sign of independence despite the transition from the Bavarian State Post to the German Reich Post in Berlin. Within this department, an independent postal construction department was established. Many modernist architects, led by Robert Poeverlein and Robert Vorhoelzer, heads of the construction department, took advantage of this freedom to construct new buildings in the style of the Neues Bauen Movement.

Until the Nazi Party's rise to power in 1933, the architecture of the Postal School of Building characterized the entire postal construction industry in Bavaria. This was mainly driven by the increased demand for postal service buildings - approximately 350 buildings were constructed in villages and small towns between 1920 and 1935. The former rural post office in Penzberg was the first building in a series of projects called "Rural Post Office." Particularly noteworthy is the experimental settlement on Arnulfstraße in Munich, where the Munich kitchen was developed, a functional kitchen with an open passage to the dining room and largely glazed walls to eliminate the isolation of women in the kitchen.

On February 27, 1934, the Law for the Simplification and Cost Reduction of Post Administration suspended the Postal Treaty, and Department VI was dissolved. This placed postal construction in Bavaria under the authority of the Berlin Reich Postal Ministry. Vorhoelzer was placed on provisional retirement in 1935, and Poeverlein, who wanted to continue Vorhoelzer's ideas, was removed from his position. Subsequently, architects from the Postal School of Building primarily worked in the arms industry (air force buildings) and in rural areas, where they attempted to implement elements of modern architecture at least partially. The previously often expressed thesis that industrial construction was a "secret refuge" for modernist architects has proven to be only partially sustainable, as industrial buildings, especially after the beginning of the war, were often constructed with the help of forced labor or prisoners of war and primarily served the production of armaments. After 1933, the standardization of post office construction methods advanced significantly, so that by 1937, prefabricated solutions were available for roof shape, floor plan, and facade. Additionally, the decree on "Art in Construction" in 1934 established artisanal guidelines that prescribed folkloric decoration (such as frescoed wall paintings).