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"The Destroyed City Was My Chance", Hilde Weström on her 100TH Birthday

The Berlin of today is beautiful and ever interesting to look at. But how could it possibly recover from all of the damage it sustained from WWII? Not only the multiple US and British bombing raids from the air, but also the Russian offensive on the ground with all of its subsequent shelling of buildings that that entailed? I'm sure you've seen YouTube footage of the bombed-out Berlin circa 1945? Inconceivable that it could ever recover. In fact, I think I read that one estimate at the time had that it would take 50 years for Berlin to rebuild!

But it obviously didn't.

Why? Who was involved? Which buildings that we see today are total rebuilds and which are old buildings with paint slapped on front? Which had their topmost floors destroyed but it was decided to keep the bottom two? (I was at the Irish Embassy today and a building across the street clearly had a "two floors old, two floors new" thing going on).

Where to start finding this out? Who knows?

Well, as luck would have it, the Berlinische Galerie is having a retrospective on a pivotal post-WWII architect and maybe these questions will be addressed directly, or via the gift shop. Here is the writeup of their Exhibition:

"Hilde Weström (born on Oct. 31, 1912), together with Ilse Balg or Vera Meyer-Waldeck, is one of the few female architects who successfully participated in the reconstruction of Berlin after the war. One of the first women accepted into the Bund Deutscher Architekten in 1948, she founded her own firm in 1949. She then participated in numerous competitions together with colleagues such as Wils Ebert, Werner Düttmann, or Paul Baumgarten. Her wide-ranging oeuvre, which she created until her retirement in 1981, shows Weström’s engagement with a present marked by transformation and the foundational principles of new construction. Her untiring commitment to a social, individually adaptable living has made her widely known. In 1957, her designs for model apartments were presented as pioneering at the exhibition „Die Stadt von Morgen”, part of „Internationale Bauaustellung” Berlin. Selected photographs, drawings, and models from the architect’s own papers alongside loans from the Verborgenes Museum and private collections will provide insights into the life and work of this unusual pioneer of architecture."

Now as luck would have it, the "Evenings and Weekends" in Berlin Meetup group is meeting at the same place at 3:30 to see a Photography in the GDR era exhibit. You can do two meetups in one afternoon!

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  • Eilidh

    Interesting, but I did learn even more from those attending and ended up taking a trip to Karl Marx Str to see some of the buildings and also popped in to see the exhibition at Sybill's Cafe....great coffee, great cheesecake and interesting exhibition :-)

    1 · December 7, 2012

  • Chris

    I think the writeup I saw about it was misleading - I thought the entire show would be about Weström, instead she was a small portion of a larger show. Oh well, it was a good reason to go to the Museum and get familiar with it, I'll be back!

    December 4, 2012

    • Son Chien H.

      agreed... not what I expected, but a really great visit nonetheless

      December 4, 2012

  • Chris

    We're going upstairs, Room 15 I believe

    December 3, 2012

7 went

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  • New in Berlin

    Very similar to this meetup in fact!

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