Something old, something new

One of the many things that make Berlin interesting is the juxtaposition of old and new. Streets in the city are lined with alternate old and new to the point where you can’t help but marvel at the sheer randomness of destruction. I can only imagine that bombs were dropped and buildings razed and then, in the post war years, a more modern ediface rose from the ashes.

The apparently seamless flow of one building to the next made me think of how adaptable we all are. Imagine a whole building being wiped out and a new one put in its place, both joined at the hip. Completely different styles yet both functional, both serving a purpose. Old and new.

If looking for the silver lining in this particular clouded history, rebuilding a city provides the opportunity to be visionary. Or revisionary. Berlin is still being built. It’s a city under construction and they’re doing an interesting job. Given the choice between old and new, I’d plumb for the old anyday. I’m rarely impressed with modern architecture and yet in Berlin it seems both stylish and tasteful. Funny how those two adjectives would not  have come to mind last week, if and when I ever spent time thinking about the city.

3 replies
  1. peter finnigan
    peter finnigan says:

    I think you may find it interesting to look at post war photographs of Berlin……….you will realise that the quality of Berlins older buildings is rather more to do with the men who restored them than luck in surviving allied bombing………..I saw East Berlin in 1989, pre restoration and what were left of the prewar buildings looked battered.
    Its interesting looking at your photos and noting the historical influences in the building facades, even the modern ones (not the glass facade)………..I think it is important for a modern city to keep at least visual links with the past.

  2. Bernard Adams
    Bernard Adams says:

    The blend of old and new is also startling in New York, though no one’s bombed it! And may I recommend the recent Corvina guidebook by Béla Bede, Hungarian Art Nouveau Architecture, which speaks of much the same in Greater Hungary.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Talk to me...