Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s Kulturarbeiten: Aesthetic Education and Infrastructure
Taratko, Carolyn Dee
This paper examines Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s nine –volume series, Kulturarbeiten, published between 1900 and 1917. Schultze-Naumburg was an architect and the first chairman of the Deutscher Bund Heimatschutz. His pre-war work provides an interesting perspective on the aesthetics of developing of public works, and in construction as a social and moral responsibility both within the text and in the external landscape. I show how the Kulturarbeiten series documents an expanding understanding of the environment in the beginning of the twentieth century. First, Schultze-Naumburg addresses his work to a large audience comprised of all levels of society. By extending “aesthetic citizenship” to the German public, he enrolls them in his program of making them responsible stewards of the German landscape. Second, the Kulturarbeiten show the transition from an understanding the environment and the need to protect it motivated by aesthetic value (as was characteristic during the nineteenth century) to an impetus rooted in health and natural resource management concerns. Such an understanding of the environment was underpinned by developments in technology and the economy, which demanded intelligent planning of future incursions of human activity in the landscape. Schultze-Naumburg’s reflections also point to a widespread understanding of natural resources as threatened by human activity in the first decades of the twentieth century.