Obituary: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hermann Schlimme (1969–2023)

4. September 2023

With deep dismay and sorrow, we mourn our highly esteemed colleague Prof Dr-Ing Hermann Schlimme, who tragically died in Italy on 6 August 2023. Hermann Schlimme had been a member of the research training group “Identity and Heritage” since his nomination to the Professorship of Building and Urban Development History at the TU Berlin in 2017, and as such he co-supervised several dissertations. With his broad expertise and his thoughtful and well-worded contributions to discussions, he has significantly enriched the research training group.

After studying architecture and completing his doctorate at the TU Braunschweig with a thesis on the early modern church facades of the city of Rome, Hermann Schlimme was a research assistant at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome from 1998 to 2016. At first responsible for construction surveys and documentation as an assistant, he also made a significant contribution to the development of digital recording procedures of architectural drawings. He remained connected to the topic of digitisation beyond this, for example in a cooperation project with the Beijing Tsinghua Institute for Digitization from 2013 onwards to record the Old Summer Palace Yuanmingyuan in Beijing. Until recently, he was also involved in the project – Research Repository, Catalogue and Archive for Architectural History and Building Archaeology.

From 2002, in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, he led his own research project “Knowledge History of Architecture”, which resulted in his habilitation at the TU Vienna in 2015, where he had been teaching since 2006, as well as a three-volume publication edited together with Jürgen Renn and Wilhelm Osthues. As a university lecturer, Hermann Schlimme was also open to new topics and new approaches, such as the book “Berliner Architekt*innen. Oral History”, published two years ago together with Sarah Rivière. 

The gap that Hermann Schlimme’s completely unexpected death leaves in the teaching and research of the history of architecture, building technology and knowledge is correspondingly large. He now rests in his chosen home of Rome on the Cimitero Acattolico near the great architectural historians Richard Krautheimer, Wolgang Lotz and Christoph Thoenes. The members of the Research Training Group “Identity and Heritage” will keep Hermann Schlimme in grateful memory.