Josef Paul Kleihues (1933–2004) was a German architect and educator. He was noted for his museum designs and his formulation of Critical Reconstruction, an approach to architecture and urban planning that promoted the integration of historical forms into new construction in Berlin’s commercial center following German reunification.
Born in 1933 in Rheine, Germany, Kleihues studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart (1955–57) and the Berlin Institute of Technology (1957–59). After graduating he spent a year at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, worked for the architect Peter Poelzig in West Berlin and, in 1962, founded his own practice with Hans Heinrich Moldenschardt. He began teaching at the University of Dortmund in 1973, where he held the Chair for Design and Architectural Theory (1973–86) and subsequently, the Chair of Design and Urban Planning. From 1979–87 he was the Director of Planning for the International Building Exposition (IBA) in Berlin. From 1986–91 he held the Irwin S. Chanin Distinguished International Professorship at The Cooper Union’s School of Architecture. In 1989 his work was presented in Joseph Paul Kleihues: The Museum Projects, an exhibition and an accompanying catalog (Rizzoli, 1989) at The Cooper Union.
Kleihues received international recognition for several museum projects, including the Sprengel Museum, Hanover (1972); the Museum of Prehistory, Frankfurt (1986); the Civic Gallery and Lütze Museum, Sindelfingen (1990); and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (1996). In 1991 Kleihues was awarded a commission for the new Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, his first project in the U.S. Throughout his career Kleihues received several honors, including the German Order of Merit, first class (1988), and his election as an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (1989).
Throughout his career Kleihues received several honors, including the German Order of Merit, first class (1988) and his election as an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (1989).