architectura non grata

Recently due to the actual demolition of the ‘Palast der Republik’ politics around architecture here in Germany get some more attention – but still a curious division makes me wonder for the election of the ‘right’ criteria for a building to stay (at least as a reminding remainder) or go …brand avenue finally pointed with this quote from Dagmar Richter to one of the major reasons
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which can be seen behind many recent decisions:
“Architecture here is much more about politics than aesthetics,” she said, explaining the drab, minimalist look of many 1950s East German buildings. “That always meant architecture had less of an opportunity to be expressive than in a highly consumerist society like the US.”

But as I would totally agree here and also see still a hesitation when it comes to monumental buildings in Gernmany, there is – as a friend pointed out – less sensitivity concerning nazi architectur, there has not been that strong desire to demolish these as many of the buildings still made it until now – like for example the infamous ‘Haus der Kunst’ in Munich. So decisions around urban architecture definitly express the way – and here unconcious reasoning either manifests itself either solidly in stone or vanishes for the (invisible) void – a community (in this case people) deal with their past. Conflicting architectural visions reflecting political agendas define a sensitive task along historical lines. Berlin especially has been a battleground where the various connotations which come as inherent scripts from so differently interpreted historical areas collide.
Eventhough – as someone just coming here a few years ago – I always liked the more easy going, shlightly ironical sentimality which subverts serious inscriptions, which I have found here in addressing and making use of former east remainders. Not only does it get away a bit from the usual heavy german mentality, it also slightly weakened classical west-german preconceived notions – to be the one and only right thing … as seen by recalling the 2004 exhibition Two German Architectures (reference link):

The West denounced the East as a desert of slab blocks, shabby, inferior and authoritarian, and feared a ‘rehabilitation’ of the rigorous social agenda. As if the defeat of a socialist ideal was not enough any remaining traces had to be kicked over. The East, as loser, feared being condemned by a
triumphant capitalism to the dustbin of history. As it turns out, neither side need have been afraid of the outcome. Though the title of this new exhibition flirts with the idea of schism, the truth is more banal. There was no outward difference. (link)

related also elder post on we make money

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