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March 200
3 - Nr. 3


The Editor
Vorsicht Satire!
Elizabeth Kuehn
Hier O.K. Berlin!
Ball Austria 2003
Echo-Lines 2
Herwig Wandschneider
Those Crazy Germans
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
SOS Villages
German-Russian Arts
Mozart im Sudan
Old Masters Collection
Berlin's New Landmark
New Luther Exhibition
Steinway Anniversary
Praise for BMW
Poet Klopstock Celebration
Einen Guten Klang
Lack of Education
Computer As Boss
Int'l Book Club
Humbolt's Mexican Trip

Berlin Opens
Landmark I. M. Pei Building

  TWIG - More than 18,000 visitors flocked to the center of Berlin last weekend to tour a sparkling addition to the city’s skyline: a new wing of the German Historical Museum by American architect I. M. Pei. Nearly four years in the making, the building will host its first exhibition on May 24, but opened to the public on its own merits Saturday and Sunday (March 1-2), Germany’s Days of Open Monuments, when landmarks across the country are admission-free.

With its dramatic, glass-walled spiral staircase, the new wing stands in sharp contrast to its neighbors, the neoclassical Altes Museum and Neue Wache, built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in the early 19th century, and the baroque armory that houses the historical museum’s main collection. Pei called on specialists from across Europe to help construct his design. An Irish team built a special supporting framework, and parts of the complex staircase were shaped in a workshop in the Netherlands. The building combines French limestone with North American granite and Finnish glass. While the project was international in scope, local companies also played a vital role: half the firms involved in the venture are headquartered in eastern Germany.

Pei, 85, achieved international renown in the 1970s and ‘80s with his designs for the east wing of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the J.F. Kennedy Library in Boston and the Pyramide du Louvre, a glass and steel entrance to the celebrated Paris art museum. The new building in Berlin is his only project in Germany. Like Berlin’s Reichstag, with its new glass cupola by British architect Norman Foster, the Pei wing is expected to attract tourists with its striking design. Museum-goers attending special exhibitions in the gallery will also be treated to a sweeping view of the Forum Fridericianum, an historic plaza on Berlin’s central boulevard, Unter den Linden.


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