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German architect and designer
Ferdinand Kramer
(1898 - 1985)

Ferdinand Kramer is born in 1898 in Frankfurt/Main. From 1919 he studies architecture with Theodor Fischer at the Munich Technical University. He switches to the Weimar Bauhaus, yet returns to Munich after a few months disappointed by the missing architecture training. Walter Gropius laments his leaving in a handwritten letter of several pages. After completing his degree in 1922 Kramer designs small pieces of furniture and other commodities like the famous 'Kramer Oven'. From 1925 he works under Ernst May at the municipal works service Frankfurt, where he designs numerous pieces of furniture and commodities for the settlements of 'New Frankfurt', and also participates in drafting the houses with access balconies for the settlement Westhausen. At the same time he also designs furniture for Thonet. From 1930 Kramer is self-employed.

In 1938 Kramer emigrates to the US. In New York he works in Norman Bel Geddes' office. He furnishes department stores, develops the shop furnishing system 'Vizual' (1945-47) and designs 'Combination Furniture' for sticking or screwing together as well as an umbrella of colored paper 'Rainbelle' (1948-51). For the newly founded Frankfurt Institute of Social Research in New York Kramer builds settlements from 1939.

In 1952 Kramer returns to Germany. He was appointed to rebuild the Frankfurt/Main university. More than twenty buildings arose in his time as the university's master-builder: on a small area he created space for many students on the Bockenheim campus.

Kramer's oeuvre gets honored with many prizes, awards and tributes during his lifetime.