He was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1939 and served until he was wounded in the Russian campaign in 1942 and returned to Germany. He rarely spoke about the war, but in the 2014 documentary he recalled a massacre in the High Tatras. “My task was to shoot,” he said. “We were mountaineers. There was a deadly hail of bullets, and we suffered many casualties. Just next to me. Right in front of me. “
After his demobilization, he studied architecture at the Technical University of Munich, where he graduated in 1946. He spent another year studying sculpture at the Academy of Arts in that city, in which ‘he later called an attempt to distance himself from his father, who saw Gottfried as his successor and whom Gottfried feared he would disappoint. Although Mr. Böhm ultimately chose the path of the architect, his training as a sculptor remained fundamental and influenced his most distinctive works.
After Munich, Mr. Böhm returned to Cologne to work in his father’s business, which he took over after Dominikus’ death in 1955, continuing a family business that would grow to near dynastic dimensions.
In 1948, he married Elisabeth Haggenmüller, an architect whom he had met when they were students. She helped her husband with many of his projects, and they remained married until his death in 2012 in the early 1990s. Three of Mr. Böhm’s sons, Stephan, Peter and Paul, all received training in architect and worked for their father’s company from the 1980s. Today they each operate an independent architectural practice under the same roof, in the Cologne house that was built by their grandfather in 1928 and where Gottfried grew up and once had his office. A fourth son, Markus, is a painter. Mr Böhm is also survived by five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and an older brother, Paul, who is 102 years old.
In 1951, Mr. Böhm traveled to America, where he worked briefly in an architectural firm in New York. During a month-long study trip to the United States, he met Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, the Bauhaus masters who became a great inspiration for him. After returning to Germany, he became a professor at the Technical University of Aachen in 1963 and held this post until 1985.