Munich’s Haus der Kunst (House of Art)
Munich’s Haus der Kunst (House of Art) was built at Hitler’s command to show off the best examples of “Germanic” art and still features swastikas inside the portico.
And modernist David Chipperfield, who was widely praised for his reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, has unveiled plans for a £68million refurbishment of the controversial museum.
Critics have denounced the 63-year-old's project as an attempt to rehabilitate Nazi architecture.
One article in the Tagesspiegel ran the headline ‘All that’s missing is the swastika’.
Of particular concern is the plan to remove a line of trees that were planted after the Second World War, expressly to obscure the building.
Adolf Hitler visits Munich's Haus der Kunst
To think about reconstructing Nazi architecture is incomprehensible to me
Jewish organisations have been particularly outraged and spoke out ahead of Friday’s Holocaust Memorial Day.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: “To think about reconstructing Nazi architecture is incomprehensible to me.
“I cannot accept the idea that buildings conceived according to Hitler’s desires should be restored to fulfil his preferences.
“Chipperfield’s assertion the building should be given back to the city because in his opinion today it no longer represents a threat, is very distressing.
“Of course a building in and of itself does not present a threat but the ideology manifested in and connoted by National Socialist architecture still bears responsibility for the Holocaust, for mass murder and a war of extermination, for the deaths of over 60 million people.”
Munich’s Haus der Kunst is to undergo a controversial restoration
Historian Magnus Brechtken, vice-director of the Munich Institute for Contemporary History, also says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for the original Neoclassical face of the building, which features swastika motifs on its portico ceiling, to be restored.
The building, which, he says, represents the Nazi “racial ideology in stone”, has evolved since it was built through changes such as replacing the exterior steps and planting the trees, reflecting Germany “coming to terms with the past”.
Mr Brechtken said: “Every architectural answer in 2017 must take fully into account the whole process after 1945 and the wider area around the building.
“The answer must reflect the society of 2017, not emulate 1937.”
British architect David Chipperfield has come under fire for his £68 million restoration plan
Inside Hitler's Bunker
Fri, October 28, 2016
The inside of the bunker where Hitler spent his final days has been revealed for the first time.
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Mr Chipperfield has defended his proposals and said chopping down the trees “questions the need to hide the building”.
He said that opening up the original façade, with its 22 columns and grand steps, will allow the museum to develop into something of “substantial significance”.
He said: “The institution is growing up and moving on. The building that houses this institution must now assume new responsibilities beyond those inherited from its dark history, not by hiding its ‘guilt’ but by living with it, overcoming it, subverting it and leading it into an alternative future.”
In 1998, the German government decided to refurbish the 1936 Nazi-built Olympic stadium following years of arguments.
Work on the Haus der Kunst is expected to start in the next 12 months.