The architectural nightmares of Germany

Article published on Sept. 14, 2010
community published
Article published on Sept. 14, 2010
Not too long ago, in Germany mr. Bauer began a campaign called "Liebe Deine Stadt" - "Love your city you" - in which he tried to counter the prevailing belief at Cologne and elsewhere, that the city is ugly. Every month, he placed the words "Liebe Deine Stadt» in giant cursive letters on top of a particularly monstrous building.
He wanted to draw people's attention to what he thinks is the unique beauty of  modernist architecture,''despite the wounds' , it caused in the urban fabric of Cologne.

"Nobody would think to create such a building downtown anymore," said Bauer of the building telecommunications. "But it was a symbol of the dawn of the media era then. If you look carefully you can see that the designers had a loving attention to detail. I wanted to alert people to the post-war architecture. "

He claims that he was successful. "I think I was able to create a new openness to this type of architecture," he says.

The city center of Berlin, razed after WWII

After the war, East Germany attempted to restore the infrastructure as soon as possible and, as throughout Eastern Europe, relied heavily on prefabricated concrete slabs. The emphasis was given on efficiency rather than aesthetics. The same slippery architectural path was about to be follow by  West Germany as well in an effort to achieve the postwar economic miracle.

A ''Soviet style'' appartment block in the former East Germany

However, mr. Bauer is lonely in Germany. The country has not overcome the shock of losing its historic cities in the Second World War. When Allied bombing ended in May 1945, the country had lost in cities such as Frankfurt, 80% of the medieval historic center. The most painful example of all was the most historic city in the country, Dresden, which was completely destroyed.

In recent years more and more architects highlight the architectural ''sins''of postwar Germany. "Nowhere in the world was modernism able create a square like Rome's Piazza Navona," says Christoph Mäckler, architect, who recorded together with SPIEGEL ONLINE the ''sins'' of Hesse, the place of his origin.

''Demolish'' was the motto of Fröbe, which in 2007 presented a calendar of some architectural ''sins'' of the country (Bausünden in German). Each page was accompanied by the famous slogan.

The Frauenkirche (Our Lady) Church which was completely destroyed after WWII and was rebuilt from scratch.

In recent years more and more, Germany is taking steps to restore history. Apart from the huge project to restore Dresden (spearheaded by the Frauenkirche church, launched in 2005) other cities as well try to follow the bright example of the historic city of Germany, which again found its place in the world map...

Workman throwing materials from the municipal service center, which will be demolished

Recently in Frankfurt, the demolition of the municipal service center begun. The building was an architectural indifferent ''box'' of the '50s. Its position will be occupied by nine buildings of prewar architecture. In Berlin, the ''Palace of the Republic'' was the parliament of East Germany and perhaps the ugliest building in town. Built in 1950 in a position occupied by a wonderful neoclassical palace which was partially destroyed by Allied bombing. Today the''Palace'' has already been demolished and the location opposite to the Berlin Dome will be occupied again by the neoclassical palace.

I wish we had such examples in our city too.. Great neoclassical buildings, like the Athens Municipal Theatre and Hotel Aktaion in Faliro were demolished .. I wish our typical, national mimicry would be able to ''copy'' such examples..

With information and pictures from the Spiegel International.