In late 1924, Mendelsohn traveled to the United States. His ex-assistant Richard Neutra had immigrated to the United States and was working in the office of Frank Lloyd Wright so he could arrange for the two architects to meet. At that time, American culture had an important presence in Germany. With the economic stability hat came in part through the Dawes Plan, many Germans started to see America as the prototype of a modern society. Among German architects, there was great interest not only in the works of Wright and of the other well-known architects but also in the anonymous industrial buildings that were seen as exemplary works of modern design. Although Mendelsohn made some lectures in the United States, his main reason for going was to see the American culture and society with his own eyes.
On the beginning of the trip, he traveled together with the film director Fritz Lang (who later said that the visit to New York was the inspiration for his film Metropolis). They stayed in New York and then Mendelsohn visited Buffalo, Pittsburg, Detroit and finally Chicago where he stayed for two weeks and visited Wright at Taliesin.
Mendelsohn’s impressions of America were mixed; he admired much of the industrial architecture and the American cityscape but found a spiritual poverty in American culture. One outcome of the journey was the book Amerika that was published in 1926. It contained photographs made by Mendelsohn, Fritz Lang and Karl Longberg-Holm accompanied by short commentaries by Mendelsohn.
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