Martin Elsaesser Foundation

The Martin-Elsaesser-Foundation is dedicated to the life and work of the architect, author and university professor Martin Elsaesser (1884-1957) who made his name as a young architect before WW I by becoming a key innovator of Protestant ecclesiastical architecture in Southern Germany.

From 1925 to 1932 he was Director of City Planning in Frankfurt/Main and as such, responsible for some of the key buildings of the 'New Frankfurt'. Besides designing schools, churches and other public buildings of note, he was the architect of the Central Market Hall, considered his masterpiece and the site of the future seat of the European Central Bank.

The Martin-Elsaesser-Foundation is a charitable institution, dedicated to the preservation of Martin Elsaesser's artistic legacy and architectural heritage. The Foundation wants to make a lasting and substantial contribution to the study of socially responsible architecture and planning. In addition, it encourages the uses of architecture in an environmentally sustainable and historically informed manner. In existence since March 30th, 2009 as a legal body, the Foundation is recognized as a charitable, not-for-profit organization. Headed by Thomas Elsaesser, Regine Elsässer and Konrad Elsässer, respectively Martin Elsaesser's grand-children and grand-nephew, the official seat of the Foundation is in Frankfurt/Main.

For details about current event and past activities, please visit the foundation website:  Martin Elsaesser Foundation

A separate website with an interactive map lists all of Martin Elsaesser's church buildings and for each includes art-historical information and a photo gallery: Martin Elsaesser Kirchen

The Foundation has been involved in several exhibitions, the first of which was held at the Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt between November 2009 and March 2010. The richly illustrated catalogue detailing Martin Elsaesser's buildings in Frankfurt as well as offering a critical evaluation of his life and career is available from the Martin Elsaesser Foundation website, as well as from bookshops and online retailers: Martin Elsaesser und Das Neue Frankfurt

Another exhibition was held at Augsburg in 2014. The specially produced catalogue raisoné gives detailed descriptions of more than thirty of Martin Elsaesser's churches in Southern Germany and is illustrated with a profusion of specially commissioned photographs: Elisabeth Sptitzbart and Jörg Schilling, Martin Elsaesser Kirchenbauten, Pfarr- und Gemeindehäuser (Tübingen: Wasmuth Verlag, 2014)

A separate volume of essays celebrates and critically examines the Gustav-Adolf Kirche in Nieder-Ursel near Frankfurt: Martin Elsaesser und der Moderne Kirchenbau Heute

In addition, 2014 also saw the publication of a scholarly edited collection of Martin Elsaesser's key writings from the 1910s to the 1950s, concentrating on his reflections on city architecture and urbanist questions:  Martin Elsaesser. Schriften (Zurich: Niggli Verlag, 2014)

For 2015 exhibitions are planned in Stuttgart and several other cities in Baden-Württemberg. Detail on the home page of both websites.


Thomas Elsaesser • Reguliersgracht 20 • 1017 LR Amsterdam, The Netherlands • Email:
Copyright © 2013, Thomas Elsaesser