negate the negation

signandsight is one of the rare opportunities to read on german culture from a wider angle – which also includes the aspect to make it accessible in a different language. In general the site kind of reblogs feuilleton articles collected from various german magazines and newspapers.
One aspect which makes it interesting is that it also emphasises and links to elder articles which still have some relavance for a recent event. In this case it is an article by reknown art historian H.Bredekamp, published in FAZ in November 2005, which takes a specific look at the missed chances around the newly opened main station in Berlin. Eventhough it might as well be read as impact of contemporary cultural issues occuring around the aspects of intellectual property rights – extended into the architectural field – by distorting what Bredekamp calls respected “Visions”.

… The cathedral of transport has turned into a warehouse roofed with conveyor belts. …

… The Western understanding recoils at the idea that visual forms belong in the realm of those secondary worlds which can be accepted or rejected according to preference. The interventions in the appearance of Lehrter Bahnhof surpass even that level of ignorance by devaluing forms that have already been built. Acts of this sort do not play out at the level of secondary phenomena – Aby Warburg spoke of the “human rights of the eye”….

Cathedral of transport. The original design by GMP-Architects. © GMP

Warehouse of transport. The new design. © GMP

… it will still be celebrated as an architectural masterpiece and photographers will find suitable perspectives to gloss over the distorted proportions. But the eulogists and image-enhancers will always know they are making the best of a bad job. And the owners will be barred from even those compensations. They have got themselves into the pickle of having to justify the alterations by claiming that Lehrter Bahnhof is purely functional architecture without any particular aesthetic value. This is their only way to get around laws covering intellectual property rights. If it has no visual added value, it can be altered at will. ..

(read entire article)

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