I studied in Germany years ago and gained a great interest in the country for many reasons, but one of them was because of the visual interest of the old buildings and the pedestrianized town centers. I found it so charming. Ever since, I have followed what is going on in Germany and have been coming back and very little of what is newly built in Germany these days impresses me. It’s all boxes! Even here in the USA (which I have always felt is inferior to Europe architecturally) I’m realizing that we in the US have more interesting contemporary architecture than Germany does. Apartment buildings here have arched doorways, or dormers, or pointed roofs, or setbacks, or nice landscaping (another thing that is strangely missing in Germany). In Germany, new apartment buildings are predominantly just the same… boxes.
Districts of sterile boxes. Who finds this inviting or attractive?? Like Europa Viertel or Media Spree in Berlin or HafenCity in Hamburg. I find these districts tiresome. These boxes are all architects can come up with? Where is the creativity? Where is the visual interest? So we don’t ornament buildings anymore, I get it. But can’t we come up with any other shape then a rectangle or square? If the architects of today in Germany have it their way, German cities will end up looking like a big huge giant kid spilled his blocks on the floor.
And about the landscaping… Has anyone noticed how this doesn’t seem to be much of a thing in Germany? Like sometimes even in renderings of upcoming projects, the ground around buildings doesn’t even have the grass cut! It’s like they are going for this wild, unkempt look purposely or something. I live in an apartment complex in Maryland that consists of about 10 large buildings and they hire landscapers that are constantly year-round shaping flower beds, cutting the lawns, blowing leaves, trimming trees and bushes, mulching, pulling weeds, planting flowers, collecting dead fallen leaves, etc… The grass always looks immaculate. Even the median strips in the roads have flower beds and are landscaped and maintained around town. Every tree has a circle of mulch around its base.
You’d think from my ranting that I dislike Germany, but that’s not the case at all. I love it there! I just love its architectural past I guess, and am not happy with its architectural future. Thank God there is a push in Germany to preserve (and sometimes even to reconstruct) its old buildings. That’s why I love the reconstruction projects of the old towns in Dresden and Frankfurt for example. Otherwise, I think the whole country would become just a big HafenCity.
Ok, rant over. I feel better now.