Posts about Architecture

Das Stue in Berlin is situated at the rim of the Tiergarten park.

Berlin: The diplomatic legacy of a luxury hotel

8.02.2016

Tales of a building: Das Stue in Berlin

Upon setting foot into the hotel’s lobby area, guests are greeted by a gigantic crocodiles’ head sculpted by Parisian artist Quentin Garel. Walls around the premises hold fine examples of black-and-white vintage fashion photography collected by one of the hotel’s owners. Artwork and objects placed throughout public spaces vividly pay tribute to a prominent neighbour, the fabled Berlin zoo only a hop away: an enormous giraffe and two gorillas made of painted chicken wire are complemented by fellow animals ready to serve as poufs or practical footrests.

Who might have anticipated in the late 1930s, that the sophisticated edifice erected to house the Danish diplomatic mission in Berlin, would see it being converted into a stylish luxury hotel more than 70 years later? To transform a repeatedly abandoned building into the fashionable spot Das Stue was destined to be, it had to go through extensive refurbishment. It received a novel wing now attached to its former back courtyard and a completely new contemporary identity enhanced by a blend of old and new elements.

When Das Stue opened its gates in December of 2012, it already looked back on a changeful past.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
19th century drawing: ladies in the gym. The German Gymnasium: A successful structural modification at King's Cross.

London: The German Gymnasium at King’s Cross

7.10.2015

For the conscientiously-thinking German of the past centuries, keeping physically fit was equal to a national duty to be fulfilled – like going to church on Holy Sundays. Not a chance of ever playing truant. The constant surveillance by a rigorously watchful society saw to these rules not being neglected. Meanwhile in Germany, like in any place else in the world, people who work out regularly on a voluntary basis have become rarer and those zigzagging between sporadic exertion and hard-core couch-potatoing a sad majority.

German discipline was worthwhile being exported to ensure that far-away expats would not forget to stay in shape. And this is how the German Gymnasium at King’s Cross came to be. The money for „the first purpose-built gymnasium in the United Kingdom“, opened in 1865, was raised entirely by the German Gymnastics Society and the German community in London. 6,000 pounds well invested. Even women were allowed to use the facility: a freedom otherwise alien to ladies of that era.

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The Corones is the sixth Messner Mountain Museum in South Tyrol. Architect is Zaha Hadid.

Messner meets Hadid: The Corones Museum in South Tyrol

28.08.2015

Admittedly, it takes a bit of an effort to get there, especially from far-away countries. But then again: who says that the good things in life are to be had in passing? Ask Reinhold Messner: If there were more „eight-thousanders“ to be conquered, he would most likely have done so and still always have chosen the most challenging variety of ventures. Similarly extraordinary and not seldom daring, are Zaha Hadid’s architectural structures which reliably become prized icons one by one – wherever and for whichever purpose they may have been established. The intriguing element uniting the random duo seems to be that reaching for the skies is an inborn ambition, and that achieving the utmost a natural consequence. Both personalities’ visions and disciplines merged, result in remarkable projects such as the Corones Museum, submerged into the South Tyrolean peak of Mount Kronplatz 2,275m above sea level. Read article

Reading time: about 4 minutes
Modern structures in Bali made of Bamboo

TED Talk. Elora Hardy: Magical houses, made of bamboo

12.06.2015

Imagine you were the fortunate citizen of a lush tropical island, say Bali, and financially privileged enough to afford an extraordinary home built according to your most daring desires. Ideally, renewable materials would be used almost exclusively so that your new residence became a sustainable and thus environmentally friendly affair. Bamboo is one of these resources – abundantly available locally, easily cultivated and growing back rapidly. It is light yet sturdy, albeit a little stubborn when it comes to delivering reliably straight rods: No two poles are alike and creative thinking is required on a permanent basis in order to come up with a feasible design. In Elora’s case, her enigmatically shaped edifices are the surprising result of these given twists and curves. Bamboo structures can now last a lifetime. Whereas formerly they used to get eaten away by insatiable termites and bugs, this building material receives treatment with a boron solution, a natural salt despised by hungry insects.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Madeline Pickens spends her life saving America's Mustangs. Here with her horse "Paint".

Saving America’s Mustangs

4.06.2015

Madeleine Pickens is a businesswoman, animal welfare activist and philanthropist of European descent. When, in 2008, the Bureau of Land Management declared that the United States government considered euthanasia and/or the sale of more than 30,000 Wild Mustangs to slaughterhouses overseas, Madeleine resolved to establish a sanctuary for endangered native horses.    A year later, she testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in support of H.R. 1018, the Restoring Our American Mustangs (ROAM) Act. After acquiring the sanctuary in North Eastern Nevada, she saved over 600 Mustangs from slaughter and endeavours to rescue and preserve the Wild Mustang have been an ongoing process. Also, until this day, the sanctuary’s survival relies on Madeleine’s charity foundation „Saving Americas Mustangs“, through which the funding for the Mustang Monument Eco-Resort and Preserve could be raised.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes