Thursday, 4 February 2010

Lost Buildings

Jonathan Glancey's latest book 'Lost Buildings' is about buildings that have been 'lost' due for different reasons. It covers buildings lost in myth, dreams, peace and war, political losses, acts of God, self-destruction and buildings that were never built. It is a really interesting book with beautiful images including fantasy drawings, architects plans, painting and photography.

One of my favourite sections 'Lost in Dreams' covers things such as biblical buildings, the Space Hilton Hotel from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Toad Hall from Wind in the Willows.

Buildings in Berlin feature quite a lot in the book as many have been lost through war or been demolished during the decades after. One building which has recently been demolished and caused quite a lot of controversy was the Palast der Republik (1973-76) which was home to the communist GDR government. It was a huge steel, glass and concrete building which was seen as a communist icon. The site of the Palast der Replublik was once home to the Stadtschloss, a medieval castle which was home to the Prussian Kaisers, this was also demolished for political reasons after World War One and the end of Imperial Germany. The Palast der Republik was abandonded in 1990 after the fall of the wall and was uninhabited for over a decade due to problems with asbestos. It was finally demolished in 2006. Many Berliners did not want the building demolished despite its political controversy. It was a distinctive part of the Berlin cityscape and could have had future uses. Plans to rebuild the Stadtschloss now that the Palast has been demolished have met with outrage.

The Palast der Republik in 1976

The Foyer

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