SONNIN, Ernst Georg
(b. 1713, Quitzow, d. 1794, Hamburg)

Biography

German architect and engineer. He studied in Altona (then Danish), Halle, and Jena, initially theology, then mathematics. After completing his studies, he came to Hamburg, was a private tutor for Latin and mathematics, and founded a workshop for fine mechanics. Due to his engineering skills he was mainly responsible for the repair and maintenance of churches, especially church towers. He was one of the first engineers to install the new Franklin lightning rods on church spires (St. Jakobi) and simply 'straighten' the then skewed Hamburg church towers.

From 1750 to 1762, Sonnin, together with Johann Leonhard Prey (1700-1757), built the second great Michaeliskirche in Hamburg in the Baroque style. From 1777 to 1786 he constructed the tower in wood with the copper cladding. In 1754 he built the Herrenhaus at Gut Kaden and the pastorate of Westensee. Afterwards, he appeared mainly with maintenance, in 1759-60 at the Hamburger Dom, in 1762 at St. Nikolai and in 1770 at St. Katharinen. In 1763 he worked at Kiel Castle. Between 1775 and 1781 he erected the late Baroque St. Bartholomäus-Kirche in Wilster. In 1785 Sonnin was called to Lüneburg, where he worked as a town and salt mine architect.

Sonnin also worked as an astronomer and tried to determine from the roof of the Michaeliskirche the exact geographic position of Hamburg, as this was reproduced on the maps with large deviations in the middle of the 18th century.