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Old May 13th, 2014, 12:57 AM   #4441
datinti
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Well, to some degree, NH hotel fits into Altmarkt (dimensions and so on).

Although reconstructions would certainly fit better. I have a painting of Canaletto of Altmarkt, c.a. 1770, in my bedroom and I really like the view (Kreuzkirche and the place, where today's NH stands).[/QUOTE]


As far as I know the original plans in the Commie Era to close the square was to build a palace in the same style as the ones bordering the Altmarkt. There are plans and drawings of that. I think the project was abandoned due to high costs, since the two existing buldings, built in the "stalinist" neo-classical style and that are in fact very elegant and very refined, both in shape and use of materials, proved to be too expensive for the DDR finance. So the project was not fully carried out leaving that wide void just at the end of Altmarkt, in front of the Kreuzkirche for so many years.

So why they didn't get the chance to complete this design recently when they decide instead to build the NH Hotel and the other building on this site?! At least now we would have an homogenic and harmonious Altmarkt all surrounded by elegant and unified "communist-neoclassical" buildings. I think that was a sadly missed opportunity!
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Old May 13th, 2014, 01:09 AM   #4442
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I have to admit that I'm quite surprised by all the negative opinions about the Kulturpalast. It might not be perfectly in line with the rest of the buildings, but it is a very decent modernist structure. I'd risk going as far as to say that it is aesthetically pleasing, but that's just a purely subjective opinion .

I'm sure that in two or three decades the public perception of this type of architecture will change for the better, and it would be a real shame if the buildings like Kulturpalast were not allowed to survive long enough to see it.

Just for the sake of comparison, the Royal Festival Hall in London, Grade I listed building since 1981. If we are prepared to accept that it is a treasure worth protecting, then why not Kulturpalast?

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Old May 13th, 2014, 03:09 AM   #4443
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That's not quite the case with Elbe sandstone though. It has the tendency to turn dark just from being exposed to oxygen. You can clean it all you want, it'll turn black in a matter of a decade or smth.
This is absolutely true. The oxidation process that affects the regional sandstone was an unexpected consequence when first used. While many consider this a patina, the blackening is almost as if black paint has been applied to the surfaces. It's a look and chemical process that is very hard to undo, as the oxidation goes a few millimeters deep and removing it damages the stone and weakens the surface.

That said, I agree with Joe Whalen that it would be nice to see the Kreuzkirche lightened up. I know a very sophisticated painting project could be executed and simply add the look and texture to the outside that would be very pleasing.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 03:35 AM   #4444
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The Kreuzkirche is one of those buildings that would benefit from a good cleaning or sandblasting. The exterior iis virtually black from grime and what ever the war added. Let's face it, a lot of the "aging" is actually grime from the burning of soft coal and other fuels before those practices ceased. I for one would like to see what the architect intended it to look like and not what it has become.
I love the Kreuzkirche. It is an elegant and under-stated church. The interior is charming and beautiful - not as rich and moving as the Hofkirche and not as magnificent as the Fraunkirche but special in its own way.

It was empty on the day I visited and I climbed a set of steps that allowed me to look out on the Altmarkt during the Christmas season. Very nice.



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Old May 13th, 2014, 03:38 AM   #4445
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I have to admit that I'm quite surprised by all the negative opinions about the Kulturpalast. It might not be perfectly in line with the rest of the buildings, but it is a very decent modernist structure. I'd risk going as far as to say that it is aesthetically pleasing, but that's just a purely subjective opinion .

I'm sure that in two or three decades the public perception of this type of architecture will change for the better, and it would be a real shame if the buildings like Kulturpalast were not allowed to survive long enough to see it.

Just for the sake of comparison, the Royal Festival Hall in London, Grade I listed building since 1981. If we are prepared to accept that it is a treasure worth protecting, then why not Kulturpalast?
Not everyone thinks the Royal Festival Hall is a treasure worth protecting.

But London is like New York - a huge metropolis with a very wide variety of architecture. Dresden is much smaller and has quite a different history and identity.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 04:04 AM   #4446
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Sure - and I think that after so many years the Kulturpalast can hardly be perceived as not being part of this identity. But I know that this topic has been covered already.

I'm afraid that we are doing to 20th-century architecture what 20th-century architects, especially in the Soviet block, did to the 19th-century heritage they encountered. They filled it with ideological substance and turned it into a political issue, with unpleasant consequences. The same is being done with the Kulturpalast today.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 12:44 PM   #4447
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Please don't make an effort in such comparisons. Mid and later 20th century architecture did a lot of harm to our cityscapes. It's not quite on par with the destruction of valid historical architecture during GDR times. The modernist stuff totally breaks with the classical fabric of a city like Dresden and needs to go where it has no place.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 04:16 PM   #4448
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Any such discussion will inevitably end up as a series of normative opinions about personal preferences. Some people "like" modernist aesthetics, some do not.

But I categorically disagree with the opinion that a modernist structure should go just because it breaks with the classical fabric of a city. It would be otherwise if we were talking about some huge modernist substance, composed of several buildings, totally annihilating the classical fabric (Bucharest comes to mind). But here, the Kulturpalast is nothing more than a single accent, and provides a very nice contrast to the surrounding architecture. It enriches the space rather than destroys it.

And, as I said before, in a few decades the new generation will regard the palace itself as "classical", in the same way as we regard as classical many 19th century structures which our grandparents and, especially, great-grandparents viewed as deplorable intrusions into the "historical fabric" of their cities.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 06:01 PM   #4449
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No. Just no.

Berlin was very wise to tear down e.g. the GDR Foreign Ministry and the Palace of the Republic that bloated its very center.
The Kulturpalast isn't "nothing more than a single accent". It's just the modernist amplitude of an old town center that was reduced to rubble and recreated following modernist ideals. Which is a huge failure. No one actually denies that, not even down-to-the-core German modernist architects/planners.

You can spot that easily by yourself looking at aerials: http://binged.it/1lhYrF5
Just float around a little (heading upwards). Modernism annihilated most urbanism of the center. The Kulturpalast adds to that annihilation. It needs to go, sooner or later.

And btw, modernism can never be classical, that's a contradiction.
It completely broke with it. Read on Vitruvian principles - that's what we consider classical.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 06:13 PM   #4450
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Old May 13th, 2014, 06:17 PM   #4451
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Please don't make an effort in such comparisons. Mid and later 20th century architecture did a lot of harm to our cityscapes. It's not quite on par with the destruction of valid historical architecture during GDR times. The modernist stuff totally breaks with the classical fabric of a city like Dresden and needs to go where it has no place.
I don't particularly like the architecture of Kulturpalast Dresden (and I don't appreciate its localisation either), so it's hard to be advocate for this building, but I'd like to point out, that when Kulturpalast was being built there was no classical fabric of a city whatsoever

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No. Just no.

Berlin was very wise to tear down e.g. the GDR Foreign Ministry and the Palace of the Republic that bloated its very center.
Different story. Place of the Republic in Berlin can be replaced with reconstruction of valuable Royal Palace. What can be rebuilt on the spot of Kulturpalast in Dresden?

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The Kulturpalast isn't "nothing more than a single accent". It's just the modernist amplitude of an old town center that was reduced to rubble and recreated following modernist ideals.
I totally agree. But what can be done with it?
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Old May 13th, 2014, 06:24 PM   #4452
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Thx for the link.

I agree that the modernist idea of urban planning was a disaster. Having been brought up in Warsaw, I could hardly hold a different opinion.

It is difficult to assess the effect these changes had on Dresden just from the aerials, although my first impression is that it is not as bad as I expected it to be. But then, the quality of architecture in GDR was usually higher than in other Soviet countries.

As for the Kulturpalast, I nevertheless maintain my view that it is the least of Dresden's problems, and that its decent architecture will provide a nice contrast to the surrounding buildings, especially once the reconstruction projects are completed and the gaps in the urban fabric filled. I cannot see anything in these aerials that would prove that it is an irreconcilable disaster which destroys the general impression of the historical part of the city.

Still, I guess that in order to assess all that properly one would simply need to visit the city. I have never been to Dresden before, but following this thread for some time has convinced me that it may be a very interesting destination. I'm planning to go there this June and I'll definitely have a good look at the Kulturpalast and its surroundings.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 06:48 PM   #4453
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Thx for the link.

Still, I guess that in order to assess all that properly one would simply need to visit the city. .
I think you'll come to realize how offensive the kulturpalast is in its existing location.

The aerial images may not seem as bad to you as you expected, but please note:

1) the kulturpalast occupies nearly the same square footage as the entire Altmarkt across the street. It's a massive single structure that is totally out of scale with its surroundings.
2) the flat roof is in complete discord with the other buildings in the area. the kulturpalast could fit a mile or more away in the areas where modern high rises were quickly built to house the homeless after the war.
3) the aerial can be deceiving. Note the new semi modern building at the southern end of the Altmarkt. It looks nearly classic until an up close inspection is taken. This is also true of the buildings along Wilsdruffer to the left and right of kulturpalast.

In any event, the building is here to stay, at least for a while. I doubt, however, that very many will ultimately come to appreciate it simply due to a "getting used to it" process. As Cato once indicated, the annoyance of the pebble in one's sandal never goes away until attended to.
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Old May 13th, 2014, 09:55 PM   #4454
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I have to admit that I'm quite surprised by all the negative opinions about the Kulturpalast. It might not be perfectly in line with the rest of the buildings, but it is a very decent modernist structure. I'd risk going as far as to say that it is aesthetically pleasing, but that's just a purely subjective opinion .

I'm sure that in two or three decades the public perception of this type of architecture will change for the better, and it would be a real shame if the buildings like Kulturpalast were not allowed to survive long enough to see it.

Just for the sake of comparison, the Royal Festival Hall in London, Grade I listed building since 1981. If we are prepared to accept that it is a treasure worth protecting, then why not Kulturpalast?

It is simply an ugly building. Keep the old architecture intact. You do not paint graffiti on Mona Lisa or put techno drums on Miles Davis. Atrocious
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Old May 13th, 2014, 10:15 PM   #4455
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I have to admit that I'm quite surprised by all the negative opinions about the Kulturpalast. It might not be perfectly in line with the rest of the buildings, but it is a very decent modernist structure. I'd risk going as far as to say that it is aesthetically pleasing, but that's just a purely subjective opinion .

I'm sure that in two or three decades the public perception of this type of architecture will change for the better, and it would be a real shame if the buildings like Kulturpalast were not allowed to survive long enough to see it.

Just for the sake of comparison, the Royal Festival Hall in London, Grade I listed building since 1981. If we are prepared to accept that it is a treasure worth protecting, then why not Kulturpalast?

Modernist planners have said that public opinion will change "any decade now" for decades already.

The below modern parking garage was recently heritage listed in my hometown, it doesn't mean it's stunning - just that the same fanatics who built it now sit chair the landmark comittee.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...aden_2009c.jpg
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Old May 13th, 2014, 10:40 PM   #4456
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It is precisely the "Modernism-is-ugly-keep-the-old-stuff-intact" kind of thinking that worries me. It is narrow, simplistic, and quite often unjustified.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 12:37 AM   #4457
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Modernism isn't ugly in itself. It can be lovely when located as a solitary landmark or within its likes (e.g. Le Havre is pretty interesting to me).

But modernism purposefully clashes with classical/pre-modernist surroundings. It doesn't contrast in a humble way, it clashes brutally. That's what's actually worrying.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 03:24 AM   #4458
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It's less of a ''baroque vs. modernist'' arguement than a ''good architecture vs. bad architecture'' arguement.

most of the modern buildings that are being planned and you guys are hating on (specifically those atrocious townhouses that look like someone tried to build a baroque palance out of legos) aren't even modernist. at all.

just ugly.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 04:14 PM   #4459
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It is precisely the "Modernism-is-ugly-keep-the-old-stuff-intact" kind of thinking that worries me. It is narrow, simplistic, and quite often unjustified.
In all fairness, I think the indicated quote may be an extrapolation. Most of the comments about modernism here relative to the Dresden old town inner city has to do with reconstruction of the area after its being blown up, not modernism in and of itself. The huge opposition to the kulturpalast is appropriateness for the location; that has been made clear. It's a debate of historical values vs modernist architects doing their thing with minimal attention to the desire of the majority to maintain the valuable architectural and historic legacy.

For example, in Berlin, the ultra modern block of State houses on In Den Ministergarten are stunningly beautiful. They are placed appropriately and were not injected into a classic neighborhood's appearance. This is not the situation with kulturpalast.
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Old May 14th, 2014, 04:15 PM   #4460
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Precisely. We all long for good and harmonious, timeless architecture - that's the whole point.
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