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.