Viewing architecture and urban development from the perspective of building contractors is a much neglected topic to date in architectural and art history. If mentioned at all, they are often even seen as potential adversaries of the architects, as their actions are allegedly determined solely by the maximization of returns. Artistic or social aspects of building therefore supposedly have no noteworthy importance for them. However, it is the determined entrepreneurial and often very creative spirit of the contractors that allows the constructional realization of architectural ideas for buildings.
In view of this, this book is dedicated to the multifaceted actions of six selected building contractors who were active when Berlin flourished to become a world city. The compact articles about their life and work also seek to illuminate their far-reaching, but largely unknown influence on the development of the cityscape and the architecture of Berlin.
The building contractors:
Carl August Heinrich Sommer (1801–1873)
Johann Anton Wilhelm von Carstenn-Lichterfelde (1822–1896)
Wilhelm Conrad (1822–1899)
Julius Wilhelm Walther (1857–1917)
Georg Haberland (1861–1933)
Heinrich Mendelssohn (1881–1959)