Gabriele Bryant

22nd November 2013

Heavenly Caves:
The Gesamtkunstwerk as ‘sacred grotto’ in modern architecture

The ancient idea of the cave as a place of refuge and utopian space of renewal has
exerted a powerful influence on the imagination of modern artists and architects. From
the Jugendstil and Expressionist utopias of the early twentieth century to more recent
examples of sacred spaces, e. g. Peter Zumthor’s Brother Claus Chapel near Cologne
(2005-07), architects have employed the cave archetype to create spaces of retreat and
‘insular utopias’ in and from the modern world.

Gabriele Bryant is a German architectural historian with an M.Phil. and Ph.D. Degree
in “History and Philosophy of Architecture” from the University of Cambridge. She has
worked as a lecturer and researcher at the University of the Arts in Berlin, the Central
European University in Prague, and the University of Oxford. Her main area of interest
is the history of architecture, art and ideas in the 19th and 20th centuries, and she has
lectured and published widely on the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk and modern German
architecture. Her current research (working title: “Gothic of the Murdered God”) focuses
on the idea of the Gothic and the impact of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche in early
20th century art and architecture.

Gabriele Bryant Poster – Opens pdf