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What’s Behind Europe’s Grandiose Rebuilding?

Is there a growing nostalgia pervading attitudes to civic architecture in Europe? From Berlin's new Royal Palace on the River Spree to Turkey's rekindled fascination with their Ottoman heritage, architecture is becoming the medium of choice for exploring a city's roots and a people's past. In this post originally published by TheLong+Short, Feargus O'Sullivan investigates how many governments and developers have decided that the way to future lies in looking backwards.

Reading about Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in the German press, you’d be forgiven for thinking the building was in Leipzig, not the Middle East. “The tallest building in the world is so German,” said Der Spiegel when the tower opened in 2010. “The Burj Khalifa is an Ossi!" shouted Bild, using the common nickname for East Germans. The headlines were partly right: when East Germany’s old parliament building, the Palace of the Republic in Berlin, was demolished in 2006, several thousand tonnes of steel girders were stripped from its carcass and shipped to the Gulf for use in the construction of Burj Khalifa. 

Central Art Depository Freiburg / Pfeifer Kuhn Architekten

  • Architects: Pfeifer Kuhn Architekten
  • Location: Freiburg, Germany
  • Architect In Charge: Prof. Günter Pfeifer, Prof. Christoph Kuhn
  • Design Team: Daniel Lenz, Alexander Unsin, Klaus Dömer
  • Area: 5690.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Claudius Pfeifer, Städtische Museen Freiburg - Photographer Markus Frietsch, Kuhn und Lehmann, Hannelore Pfeifer

© Claudius Pfeifer © Städtische Museen Freiburg - Photographer Markus Frietsch © Kuhn und Lehmann © Hannelore Pfeifer

IZB Residence / Stark Architekten

  • Architects: Stark Architekten
  • Location: Am Klopferspitz 2, 82152 Planegg, Germany
  • Design Team: Claudia Kammerer, Christine Röger, Markus Müller, Nicole Arndt
  • Area: 2000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Robert Sprang

© Robert Sprang © Robert Sprang © Robert Sprang © Robert Sprang

Timber House / KÜHNLEIN Architektur

Courtesy of KÜHNLEIN Architektur Courtesy of KÜHNLEIN Architektur Courtesy of KÜHNLEIN Architektur Courtesy of KÜHNLEIN Architektur

European School in Frankfurt / NKBAK

  • Architects: NKBAK
  • Location: Frankfurt, Germany
  • Area: 3380.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Thomas Mayer

© Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer © Thomas Mayer

Photographer’s Loft / Bruzkus Batek Architekten

  • Architects: Bruzkus Batek Architekten
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Design Team: Ester Bruzkus, Ulrike Wattenbach
  • Area: 165.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Bruzkus Batek Architekten

Courtesy of Bruzkus Batek Architekten Courtesy of Bruzkus Batek Architekten Courtesy of Bruzkus Batek Architekten Courtesy of Bruzkus Batek Architekten

Urban Treehouse / baumraum

  • Architects: baumraum
  • Location: Zehlendorf, Berlin, Germany
  • Area: 34.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Laura Fiorio

© Laura Fiorio © Laura Fiorio © Laura Fiorio © Laura Fiorio

House B in B / Matti Schmalohr

© Klaus Dieter Weiss © Klaus Dieter Weiss © Klaus Dieter Weiss © Klaus Dieter Weiss

Spotlight: Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens portrait taken by Waldemar Titzenthaler c.1913. (Public domain)
Peter Behrens portrait taken by Waldemar Titzenthaler c.1913. (Public domain)

If asked to name buildings by German architect and designer Peter Behrens (14 April 1868 - 27 February 1940), few people would be able to answer with anything other than his AEG Turbine Factory in Berlin. His style was not one that lends itself easily to canonization; indeed, even the Turbine Factory itself is difficult to appreciate without an understanding of its historical context. Despite this, Behrens' achievements are not to be underestimated, and his importance to the development of architecture might best be understood by looking at three young architects who worked in his studio around 1910: Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

Video: Olympiapark München / Frei Otto

Pritzker laureate Frei Otto was best known for his tensile structures. A prime example Otto’s ingenuity, the 1972 Olympic Stadium in Munich was a collaborative work with Gunther Behnisch that connected the park’s main programs - the natatorium, gymnasium and main stadium - with a whimsical, lightweight canopy structure that mimicked the “rhythmic protrusions” of the Swiss Alps. Watch the Spirit of Space short film above to see the project in its current state and learn more about the pioneering structure, here.

GRAFT Reveals Final Design for Munich's APASSIONATA Park

GRAFT Architects has released the final designs for the APASSIONATA adventure park. The competition-winning proposal aims to become a hub for leisure and entertainment in Munich, Germany, featuring a year-round venue for relaxation, discovery, and interaction with horses.

Check out the design and watch a virtual tour of the park, after the break.

© GRAFT - Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH. Design by GRAFT © GRAFT - Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH. Design by GRAFT © GRAFT - Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH. Design by GRAFT © GRAFT - Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH. Design by GRAFT

Dreischeibenhaus / HPP Architects

  • Architects: HPP Architects
  • Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Project Leader: Karl Heinz Wolff
  • Project Partner: Claudia Roggenkämper
  • Design Team: Fritz Altland, Sema Arda-al-Salahi, Detlev Armeloh, Ugur Aybirdi, Erwin Drese, Anika, Kessel, Markus Leiting, Heike Pauckert-Noelte, Florentine Struss, Marion Weiler
  • Area: 35000.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Courtesy of HPP Architects

Courtesy of HPP Architects Courtesy of HPP Architects Courtesy of HPP Architects Courtesy of HPP Architects

The Hombroich Foundation Presents "Souto de Moura 1980 - 2015"

From April 18 until August 24, 2015, the Hombroich Foundation will showcase the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Spanning from his early career in 1980 to the present, the exhibition will explore de Moura’s influential style through models, plans, sketches and photographs. Celebrating such dynamic works as the reconstruction of the Franciscan convent of Santa Maria do Bouro in Amares and the the football stadium Estádio Municipal de Braga, highlighted projects will tell the lifelong story of de Moura’s designs.

AD Classics: Fagus Factory / Walter Gropius + Adolf Meyer

The Fagus Factory is one of the earliest built works of modern architecture, and the first project of Walter Gropius. The commission provided Gropius with the opportunity to put his revolutionary ideas into practice, and the stunning rectilinear volume with its primarily glazed façade would guide the course of Modernism through the coming decades.

© Flickr user martin © Flickr user martin © Flickr user martin © Flickr user martin

The Surreal Architectural Collages Of Matthias Jung

Matthias Jung's fascination for the medium of collage began in his father's photolab. And so, "with scissors and glue, the first fantastic buildings were made." In early 2015 Jung, a German artist and graphic designer, created seven images as part of a series which he entitled 'Houses', of which many of this selection originate. Uniquely, every piece of each collage originates from one of Jung's original photographs which are collected and then reassembled. The majority of these photographs were taken during trips in northeastern Germany.

See a selection of Jung's fantastical architectural collages after the break.

Land of Evening. Image © Matthias Jung An Sgurr. Image © Matthias Jung Maternity Unit. Image © Matthias Jung Ostheim. Image © Matthias Jung

Wooden Hut / Kawahara Krause Architects

Courtesy of Kawahara Krause Architects Courtesy of Kawahara Krause Architects Courtesy of Kawahara Krause Architects Courtesy of Kawahara Krause Architects