OLBRICH, Josef Maria
(b. 1867, Troppau, d. 1908, Düsseldorf)

Wedding Tower

1906-08
Photo
Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt

Joseph Maria Olbrich planned the Wedding Tower and the neighbouring Exhibition Building, which were opened in 1908 as a venue for the members of the artists' colony to display their artwork.

Darmstadt's landmark, the Wedding Tower, rises on the Mathildenhöhe. The name refers to the wedding between Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Eleonore zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich in 1905. After the announcement of the engagement, the Grand Duke consulted the Viennese architect Josef Maria Olbrich. Both of them were intrigued by the idea of creating a widely visible monument in commemoration of this event. The 49-meter-high tower designed by Olbrich was erected in the years 1907 to 1908.

The tower consists of a multi-stage pedestal, a tower body built with dark-red clinker brick, stylish bands of windows carrying around the corners, and a five-spired crown. The unconventionally shaped crown has earned the tower the name 'Five-Finger-Tower'. The western façade is the visible face of the tower; the relief above the entrance porch bears an inscription referring to the wedding.

The tower is divided into seven floors of different heights and functions. These rooms were completed step by step after the exhibition in 1908. On 15th May 1909, construction works in the Wedding Room and the Grand Duke’s Room were finished.