Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Architectural Field Report from Hamburg Germany (3)

Old and new are integrated in this city to a seamless whole. Old structures are being re-used, the new architecture and materials growing almost organically out of the existing buildings. I wondered if the re-building process in the bombed-out cities after the Second World War generated an acceptance of the new and the innovative. The need to create a great distance to an uncomfortable past might have also contributed to an ease towards new looks. The glamour of an architectural past did not need to be re-created. This would be most likely too simplistic a reason. But the look of this easy merge of new and old is also made wonderful to watch as it seems to be so ingrained and natural. New life growing out of the old; growing out of a similar DNA, but yet so vastly different.
As Germany’s history in general and Hamburg’s in particular is long, rich and varied, it is also lasting. Old structures are not necessarily torn down, neither. The abundance of brick piles, mostly in the shape of mercantile or manufacturing buildings, offers an interesting playground for new materials, construction methods and contemporary needs. These old brick buildings were modern and innovative once and meant for a specific use at its creation. The new use asks for its own architecture and makes use of the building customs available today.
The picture above might not be the most telling, but you get the idea. The city is nothing but made out of moments of cutting edge architecture dancing in step with the old charm of Hamburg. And it reads as if nobody thinks twice about it.

1 comment:

  1. I lived in Germany in the 'sixties and found that at that time Germans wanted all things modern yet, paradoxically, there was a respect for any building left standing. And I too felt that this was a result of the war. We were able to pick up some great antiques at that time, as no one seemed to want antiques.

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blogs today so that I could find you! Love your blog! I'm off to look at your other blog.