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OM Ungers

Oswald Mathias Ungers Oswald Mathias Ungers or short O.M.U. (July 12, 1926 – September 30, 2007) was a German architect, known for his rationalist designs and the use of cubic forms. Among his notable projects are museums in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Cologne.  - or "OMU OMU Other Minority Universities
OMU Ostiomeatal Unit
OMU Operations and Maintenance Unit
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OMU Optical Multiplexing Unit
OMU Optical Multiplex Unix
" to the many who knew and worked with him, or who were taught by this hugely knowledgable, cultured and prolific German architect - has died in Cologne at the age of 81. A modern classicist clas·si·cist  
1. One versed in the classics; a classical scholar.

2. An adherent of classicism.

3. An advocate of the study of ancient Greek and Latin.

Noun 1.
 devoted to the architecture of the square, the cube and the right angle, he was at once a natural successor to such great German architects as the Prussian master Karl Friedrich Schinkel Karl Friedrich Schinkel (March 13, 1781 - October 9, 1841) was a German architect and painter. Schinkel was the most prominent architect of neoclassicism in Prussia.

Born in Neuruppin (Brandenburg), he lost his father at the age of six in Neuruppin's disastrous fire.
 and a modern interpreter of the aesthetic ideals and design ideas of the architects of the Italian Renaissance.

Unlike members of an earlier generation of German architects who came to the forefront of their profession in the decades following the second world war, Ungers saw no need to disconnect himself as an artist from the classical tradition that had flowered, sometimes floridly flor·id  
1. Flushed with rosy color; ruddy.

2. Very ornate; flowery: a florid prose style.

3. Archaic Healthy.

, at others stiffly, in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany from the Renaissance. Not for Ungers the free-flowing forms of Hans Scharoun, architect of the Philharmonic Concert Hall, Berlin, or the swooping and seemingly wilful designs of Günter Behnisch, commander of U-boat 2337 in the dying days of the war. For Ungers, who was pressed into military service from school and spent some months as an allied prisoner of war PRISONER OF WAR. One who has been captured while fighting under the banner of some state. He is a prisoner, although never confined in a prison.
     2. In modern times, prisoners are treated with more humanity than formerly; the individual captor has now no
, the important thing was to reconnect with history and, above all, to nurture the pure art of architecture.

As such, he not only built a number of imposing and intriguing contemporary takes on neoclassical ne·o·clas·si·cism also Ne·o·clas·si·cism  
A revival of classical aesthetics and forms, especially:
a. A revival in literature in the late 17th and 18th centuries, characterized by a regard for the classical ideals of reason, form,
 design, including the residence of the German ambassador in Washington DC in 1994, and powerful buildings that played chess-like games with classical plans, including the cube-like Wallraf-Richarz museum, Cologne, in 2001, housing a magnificent collection of German art from the medieval to the 20th century, but he also became a great collector of books on architectural history and historic models of architects' buildings. As such, Ungers was the perfect choice as designer of the German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt, in 1984. Housed in a fine 18th-century house, the museum takes the form inside of rooms that prove to be cubes within cubes, or elemental Platonic buildings within elemental Platonic buildings.

As an erudite thinker and writer on architecture, Ungers was keen to renew the Grecian notion of there being fundamental architectural building blocks - cube, cylinder and so on - that could, nevertheless, be reinterpreted or reorganised for specific building sites. A modern building need not look like a Greek or Roman temple, and yet it might share its essential nature. Significantly, perhaps, one of Ungers' most recently completed designs has been a new entrance to the ruins of the Roman bath at Trier Trier (trēr), Latin Augusta Treverorum, city (1994 pop. 99,183), Rhineland-Palatinate, SW Germany, a port on the Moselle (Ger. Mosel) River, near the Luxembourg border. , while he was busy up until his death at work on the reconstruction of the mighty Pergamon Museum, Berlin; this daunting daunt  
tr.v. daunt·ed, daunt·ing, daunts
To abate the courage of; discourage. See Synonyms at dismay.

[Middle English daunten, from Old French danter, from Latin
 pantechnicon pantechnicon

Brit a large van used for furniture removals [Greek pan- all + tekhnē art; originally a London bazaar later used as a furniture warehouse]

Noun 1.
 houses segments and reconstructions of a number of ancient classical and Mesopotamian buildings. The work here is due for completion in 2010. It will be a lasting monument to Ungers, as well as to German classical culture, architecture and learning. Only last year, Ungers work was celebrated in the Cosmos of Architecture exhibition in Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie, a building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Van Der Ro·he  

See Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
 that is a Greek temple by determinedly modern means.

Ungers, the son of a postal service official, was born in Kaisersesch, in the Eifel region of western Germany. After release from PoW camp, from 1947 to 1950 he studied architecture at the University of Karlsruhe under Egon Eiermann, a rigorous functionalist func·tion·al·ism  
1. The doctrine that the function of an object should determine its design and materials.

2. A doctrine stressing purpose, practicality, and utility.

, and set up his own practice in Cologne in 1950. His early buildings included a number of Bauhaus-influenced apartment blocks and private houses, while in the early 1960s, and now with an office in Berlin, Ungers worked on the Markisches Viertel housing complex, completed in 1970, a series of high-rise, prefabricated pre·fab·ri·cate  
tr.v. pre·fab·ri·cat·ed, pre·fab·ri·cat·ing, pre·fab·ri·cates
1. To manufacture (a building or section of a building, for example) in advance, especially in standard sections that can be easily shipped and
 blocks marching, unprepossessingly, but with regular stride, along Wilhelmsruher Strasse.

At the time of the 1968 student uprisings in Berlin and elsewhere in Europe, a disapproving Ungers moved to Cornell University in New York state. There, he was chairman of the architecture department from 1969 to 1975, and much respected for attracting international talent to the school. He became a member of the American Institute of Architects The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architects in the United States. Organized in 1857, the Institute conducts various activities and programs to support the profession and enhance its public image, including periodically awarding the AIA , but in 1976 returned to Germany. He continued to teach on and off in the US, where his son and daughters were educated, but increasingly he was drawn into what proved to be a busy and rewarding architectural practice with offices in a number of German cities.

The state library in Karlsruhe (1991), a polar research institute at Bremerhaven (1986), the family court, Kreuzberg (1995) and his own beautiful House without Qualities in Cologne (1995) were just some of the many distinguished buildings Ungers designed between re-establishing himself in Germany and shaping the Wallraf-Richarz museum at the turn of the century and proving himself to be one of the finest architects of his generation. In his library at home the most prominent object on display was a bust of Schinkel. Ungers was happy to pose beside it.

He suffered great sadness when his son, the architect and artist Simon Ungers died, aged 48, last October. His wife Liselotte Gabler and daughters Sybille and Sophia survive him.

· Oswald Matthias Ungers, architect, born July 12 1926; died September 30 2007
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Date:Oct 18, 2007
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