Franz Dischinger

Life and works in context of contemporary implications

Franz Dischinger (1887–1953) is considered to be one of the most important German civil engineers of the 20th century. He significantly influenced the development of building, especially on the fields of shell and suspension bridge design as well as constructions in prestressed concrete. His professional achievements quickly gained wide recognition, not least his ground-breaking contributions to the theories of concrete creep and shrinkage. Nevertheless, a scientific examination of his oeuvre is still lacking.Being a leading engineer in the important construction firm Dyckerhoff & Widmann as well as professor at the Technische Hochschule Berlin-Charlottenburg since 1933, Dischinger furthermore was intensely integrated into influential circles. At the same time he counts among that generation of civil engineers, whose activity was caught in a crossfire of differing socio-political force fields – reaching, so to speak, from Weimar via Berlin to Bonn. Especially Dischinger’s projects for the Third Reich raise fundamental questions about the mechanisms of putting engineering into service for the rulers as well as their later reception. Investigations referring to this topic are also still rare for the civil engineers occupational group.Working and works of Dischinger will be examined for the first time systematically in the course of this research project. Besides the compilation of a catalogue raissoné and its valuation regarding construction history, the analysis of his biography with simultaneous consideration of the contemporary context will be a main goal of our work. In this regard, certain attention will be given especially to his involvement in networks on the fields of industry, politics and technical intelligence. At the same time, and based on Dischinger’s case, fundamental ideas of responsibility and guiding principles of his contemporary German civil engineers will be traced.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner Lorenz

Person in charge
Dr.-Ing. Roland May

Handling period
Since october 2009

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Preliminary project
November 2007–Mai 2008
Finanzierung Vorprojekt
Innovationsfonds der BTU

Graduate Theses

  • Schulte, C.J.: Externe Vorspannung von Beton – Der Beitrag Franz Dischingers aus heutiger Sicht. Bachelorarbeit an der BTU Cottbus, 2012.

International Symposium „Shell Pioneers“, Technische Universität Berlin, 18. und 19.10.2012 (in Kooperation mit dem Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Konstruieren – Massivbau der TU Berlin).

  • May, R.: Shell sellers – The international dissemination of the Zeiss-Dywidag system, 1923–1939. In: Bowen, B. et al. (eds.): Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Construction History, June 2015, Chicago, Illinois. S.l. [Atlanta]: Construction History Society of America, 2015, vol. 2, pp. 557–564. ISBN 978-1-329-15031-7.
  • Lorenz, W.; May, R.; Stritzke, J.: Die Großmarkthalle Leipzig  (Historische Wahrzeichen der Ingenieurbaukunst in Deutschland; 14). Berlin: Bundesingenieurkammer, 2013. ISBN: 978-3-941867-14-7
  • Lorenz, W.; May, R.: Franz Dischinger - Visionär des Brückenbaus. In: Curbach, M. (Hrsg.): Tagungsband 23. Dresdner Brückenbausymposium, 11./12. März 2013. Dresden: Institut für Massivbau der TU Dresden, 2013, S. 101-128. ISSN 1613-1169, ISBN 978-3-86780-313-7
  • May, R.: Schalenkrieg. Ein Bauingenieur-Drama in neun Akten. Beton- und Stahlbetonbau 107 (2012), H. 10, S. 700–710. ISSN: 0005-9900.
  • May, R.: Ingenieur. Bau. Kunst. Zum 125. Geburtstag von Franz Dischinger. In: Schwarz, U. (Red.): Ingenieurbaukunst - made in Germany 2012/2013. Hg. von der Bundesingenieurkammer. Hamburg: Junius, 2012, S. 150–157. ISBN: 978-3-88506-499-2.
  • May, R.: Shell Wars: Franz Dischinger and Ulrich Finsterwalder. In: Carvais, R. et al. (Ed.): Nuts & Bolts of Construction History (Proceedings of the 4th International Congress on Construction History, Paris, July 3-7, 2012), Paris: Picard, 2012, vol.3, pp.133-141. ISBN 978-2-7084-0929-3.
  • May, R.: Shell sellers – The international dissemination of the Zeiss-Dywidag system, 1923–1939. 5th International Congress on Construction History, Palmer House, Chicago, 4.6.2015.
  • May, R.: Franz Dischinger (1887–1953) und die Schalenbauweise „Zeiss-Dywidag“.Vortragsreihe „Candela Lectures“, HafenCity Universität Hamburg, 28.1.2014.
  • May, R.: Von der Saalebrücke Alsleben zur Wormser Nibelungenbrücke: Frühe Beiträge der Dywidag-Ingenieure Dischinger, Finsterwalder und Rüsch zur Vorspannung. Vortragsreihe „Praktiken und Potenziale von Bautechnikgeschichte“, Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin, 28.11.2013.
  • Lorenz, W.: Franz Dischinger - Visonär des Brückenbaus. Dresdener Brückenbausymposium, Technische Universität Dresden, 12.3.2013.
  • Lorenz, W.; May, R.: From Biebrich into the World. The Dissemination of the Zeiss-Dywidag System. International Symposium „Shell Pioneers“, Technische Universität Berlin, 19.10.2012.
  • May, R.: Franz Dischinger (1887–1953) – New Aspects of the Life and Work of a Civil Engineering Master. International Symposium „Shell Pioneers“, Technische Universität Berlin, 18.10.2012.
  • May, R.: Shell Wars. 4th International Congress on Construction History, ENSA Paris La Villette, 05.07.2012.
  • May, R.: Franz Dischinger (1887–1953). European Summer School on Construction History (CH.ESS), University of Cambridge, 04.08.2011.

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