Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Prospects for Berlin Buildings with Dark Past

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Prospects for Berlin Buildings with Dark Past

Article excerpt

The Reichstag building, new seat of Germany's parliament, is not alone in representing a democratic government's reuse of a historically tainted structure.

Sebastian Redecke, a critic for the Berlin-based architecture weekly Bauwelt, says that after World War II, both East and West Berliners demolished buildings in an attempt to erase ideologically incompatible layers of history.

After deciding to move to Berlin, some city planners envisioned an entirely new government quarter. Their budget forced them to reconsider such sites as Hermann Gring's air-force headquarters or the Third Reich's central bank. "It follows from very practical reasons that these buildings are used and seen as a symbol of Germany's surmounting of a very dark time," says Mr. Redecke. After all, many of these structures are solid constructions, he says, and other countries have no problems finding use for buildings from the fascist era, such as Italy's citta universitaria, or university city, in Rome. …

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