Thursday, November 02, 2006

Citizens Of Berlin, Germany, European Union Debate World Heritage Values Of Prussian Palace Square And Modernist East German Television Tower

... "The plan for Alexanderplatz [eatern Berlin] is to surround it with eight high-rise office buildings. It's a plan East Berlin architect Bruno Flierl hates.

"This is, from the point of view of German unification, stupid and dangerous," he says. "It's occupation and not unification."

What Flierl really can't stand is that the high buildings will block the view of East Berlin's distinctive television tower -- a concrete stick with a big silver ball and an antenna on top. It was built as a symbol of East Germany's power.

In Flierl's view, Berlin is being rebuilt by the perceived victors -- the winners from the West. Like architect Hans Kollhoff, who designed the plan for a new Alexanderplatz from his offices across town.

"Now look, let's face it," Kollhoff says. The TV tower can be respected as a DDR (former East Germany) monument in East Berlin, but it cannot be respected by any means as a great piece of architecture."

Berlin's most contested redevelopment is Palace Square, which, for 500 years was home to a fortress turned royal residence. The East German government blew up the royal palace after World War II and built a new one -- the Palace of the Republic -- where the Communist Party held conferences, and ordinary people enjoyed subsidized entertainment.

Some Berliners want the whole royal palace back. But, so far, the plan is just to rebuild its walls, with modern buildings for arts and culture inside. Flierl says that bringing the palace back would further erase East Berlin while blindly honoring earlier times.

City planners say Berlin, where the two sides of the Cold War rubbed up against each other, is hard to knit together precisely because of history and emotions." ...

Emily Harris "Old East Berlin Fades Away Amid Renovations" National Public Radio October 27, 2006/November 2, 2006

The current home of a Berlin, European Union music school is scarred with what Berlin city planning officials say are likely shrapnel holes. City policy encourages redevelopers to leave bullet holes intact as a way of preserving Berlin history. Munich, Germany, European Union's Music Conservatory is housed in the former German National Socialist Party (Nazi) Headquarters Building.

Photo credit: Emily Harris, NPR. With thanks.


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