Capital Dilemma: Germany's Search for a New Architecture of by Michael Z. Wise

By Michael Z. Wise

The choice to maneuver Germany's executive seat from Bonn to Berlin through the 12 months 2000 poses an epic architectural problem and has fostered a global debate on which development kinds are applicable to symbolize German nationwide identification. Capital hindrance investigates the political judgements and ancient occasions at the back of the remodel of Berlin's legit structure. It tells a posh and fascinating drama of politics, reminiscence, cultural values, and structure, within which Helmut Kohl, Albert Speer, Sir Norman Foster, and that i. M. Pei all determine as players.

If capital urban layout initiatives are symbols of nationwide id and old attention, Berlin is the ideal instance. actually, structure has performed a pivotal function all through Germany's turbulent twentieth-century heritage. After the autumn of the monarchy, Germany gave start to the Bauhaus, whose founders argued that their very own progressive designs may perhaps form human future. The century's warring ideologies, Nazism and Communism, extensively utilized structure for his or her personal political ends. In its newest incarnation, Berlin becomes the capital of the 5th German kingdom during this century to be governed from that urban. How will the reliable structure of reunified Berlin, a democratic capital being outfitted amid totalitarian continues to be, be diversified this time round? The Federal Republic of Germany, a hugely reliable democracy in stark distinction to its predecessors, has been suffering from burdensome architectural legacies. within the technique, it has thought of treatments as diverse as outright destruction, refurbishment, and, on the subject of the previous Nazi critical financial institution now being switched over into the hot overseas Ministry, actual concealment.

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The Communist Party Politburo in 1968 declared that “bold and original urbanistic and architectural solutions are needed to counteract monotony. . ”66 The appeal opened the way for the flashiest element on the MarxEngels-Platz, the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), a project overseen by Erich Honecker, who took over from Ulbricht as party chief in 1971 (see figure 42). Aligned on axis between the Television Tower and the Brandenburg Gate, the building was encased in copper-tinted reflective glass and white marble.

63 Jane Garvie former path of Berlin Wall sse stra en d i l a Inv Rive r Sp ree c d e Federal Strip z f p o q g a h s 17. Juni Strasse de b Tiergarten Linden Unter den x u r w y v s t i j k l Leipziger Strasse m e trass elms Wilh Potsdamer Platz n Landw ehrkan al 1 Map of Berlin with locations of projects discussed. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ka rl-M arx -Al lee Schloss Bellevue and Presidential Office Prussian Victory Column Chancellery Civic Forum Parliamentary Offices Parliamentary Library Bundestag (former Reichstag) Brandenburg Gate Proposed site of Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Ministry of Labor (former Propaganda Ministry) Former site of Hitler’s Reich Chancellery Bundesrat (former Prussian House of Lords) Finance Ministry (former Aviation Ministry) n o p q r s t u v w x y z Former site of Checkpoint Charlie Neue Wache Addition to German Historical Museum German Historical Museum (former Prussian Arsenal) Former site of Bauakademie and East German Foreign Ministry Foreign Ministry addition Foreign Ministry (former Reichsbank) Schlossplatz (former Marx-Engels-Platz) Council of State Building Palace of the Republic Marx-Engels Monument Nikolai Quarter Television Tower former path of Berlin Wall Bundesbildstelle 2 Pädagogische Akademie—former teacher’s college designed by Martin Witte and converted into the West German Bundestag in Bonn.

The West Germans had long ago resigned themselves to the durability of national division and were busily overseeing the expansion of their seemingly permanent “provisional” capital by constructing Günter Behnisch’s new Bundestag along the verdant edge of the Rhine. Finally called upon to make good their pledge to return to Berlin, many Bundestag members were reluctant to actually leave the cozy town that had suited their purposes so well for forty years. Uprooting themselves and moving the 380 miles eastwards was by no means a matter of course, even if decades of lip service had been paid to doing just that.

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