Regional and Urban Design Committee

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The Regional and Urban Design Committee (RUDC) aims to improve the quality of the regional and urban environment by promoting excellence in design, planning, and public policy in the built environment. This will be achieved through its member and public education, in concert with allied community and professional groups. Join us!

Williamsburg in downtown Frankfurt (Germany)?

  • 1.  Williamsburg in downtown Frankfurt (Germany)?

    Posted 09-25-2018 18:03

     

    Of all the European cities Frankfurt on the Main is the most American ("Mainhattan") with its cluster of high-rise towers sprouting downtown, a rarity on a continent that is quite skeptical when it comes to skyscrapers. Now Frankfurt has another American feature, a newly reconstructed "old" town  much like colonial Williamsburg, hardly more authentic than the Eiffel tower in Las Vegas its critics say.
    Reconstructed Altstadt Frankfurt/Main: Completed in 2018

    In a country that puts much stock into "honesty" the architectural masquerade which was completed earlier this year re-ignited  a debate among architects and urban planners which surges in waves starting right after WW II and continues today. The war had left many historic German cities in rubble. The reconstruction debate reached a crescendo with the plans to tear down the east German parliament building and reconstruct "the Stadtschloss" in Berlin. The castle was rebuilt and monarchy followed socialism, neither a particularly good representation of a democratic republic, even if the back of the new old Stadtschloss has a modern facade. The debate repeats with the ongoing reconstruction of the historic core of Potsdam, also in the former East Germany, home of the emperor's former summer residence near Berlin. Now Frankfurt. The arguments among the professionals remain explosive and include the biggest club in the arsenal, the accusation of being fascist or, at least, enable fascist and reactionary populism. Frankfurt, always more like London than Paris, is an interesting locus for the debate: Leftist protest in 1968 centered around gentrification and the demolition for a new subway line. Protesters then liked to ....

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    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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