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April, 2004 - Nr. 4


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Börse zum Anfassen

In The Master Builders’ Tradition

Germany’s Magic Cities Serve up Cutting-Edge Architecture and Design

Toronto – Last year, Canadian travellers got more of the proverbial sand out of their shoes in Europe than in 2002, a trend the industry expects to hold for 2004. Germany’s larger cities are ready for their share of Canadian visitors, especially those looking for innovative design and vibrant city life. Whether travelling with an organized tour or independently for business or pleasure, here are some visual city attractions to watch for.

In Berlin, Germany’s capital, no visitor should miss Potsdamer Platz, before WW II one of Europe’s busiest squares, a barren no-man’s land next to the Wall in Cold War years and Europe’s largest construction site for the decade after reunification. Today it is again an urban centre humming with life, complete with brand new tower complexes designed by some of the world’s leading architects, housing shops, restaurants, clubs and bars, apartments and stunning offices.

Daniel Libeskind’s monumental museum to the Holocaust is a Berlin must of a different kind, not to be missed for its haunting remembrance as well as its arresting design.

Next door to her trademark twin-spire Gothic cathedral, the city of Cologne boasts an underground contemporary concert hall with intimate wood-paneled interiors and acoustics that the world’s musicians rave about. A hotel located in what was once Europe’s largest water tower is considered one of the best designer hotels in the world. The hotel Im Wasserturm, with interiors by Parisian designer Andrée Putman, occupies a 130-year-old brick building whose structure dictates pie-shaped contemporary guestrooms and a soaring, cathedral-like entrance hall.

In Dresden, look for the recently reopened synagogue, the first to have been built since WW II in what used to be East Germany. The new synagogue, which is in the shape of a cube, stands near the site of the old one. As that building burnt down during Kristallnacht more than 60 years ago, a local firefighter saved its Star of David and hid it; today it is reinstalled above the entrance. Dresden’s new synagogue won the 2002 "World Architecture Award" as the best example of new architecture in Europe.

The city of Düsseldorf’s new K21 modern art gallery houses experimental, innovative art from the 1970s to today in a building that is in itself a work of art. A glass dome covers the roofs of this former provincial government complex, creating a huge museum ‘piazza’ that can accommodate a multitude of arts events and happenings.

What in Canada is called a ‘flatiron’ building, is often described in Germany as Tortenstück (tart wedge) which, in Frankfurt, refers to the city’s most modern museum, Museum für Moderne Kunst. Designed by Austrian architect Hans Hollein, the building opened in 1991 and houses works by contemporary artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Joseph Beuys.

Hamburg’s first designer hotel, Gastwerk, is housed in a former utility plant and integrates a distinct industrial feeling into the design of a modern hotel with all the conveniences. Built from scratch, the city’s Side hotel links two separate buildings over a trapezoidal floor plan, giving new meaning to the blend of natural stone and glass with a facade that tilts and an atrium with a specially designed lighting concept using computer-controlled light impulses.

The large and elegant Baroque Royal Gardens and Galleria of Herrenhausen castle have long been a hallmark for style in the city of Hannover. Concert and opera performances take place here, and an outdoor theatre tucked in among tall boxwood hedges provides the perfect setting for Shakespeare comedies on warm summer nights.

Munich’s Pinakothek der Moderne, the city’s newest museum of modern and contemporary art, draws interest with its idea of openness. Designed by architect Stephan Braunsfeld and completed in 2002, the building itself is a primary exhibit, boasting open, spacious architecture that offers visitors insight into the interplay of the various art forms exhibited.

For architecture and design buffs, the Weissenhof Siedlung subdivision is a must in Stuttgart. In 1927, 16 architects from five European countries were invited to build show houses for the guild trade show Die Wohnung (The Home). Of the original 21 houses, eleven remain standing, including those designed by Mies van der Rohe, Peter Behrens, Josef Frank and Le Corbusier. The development was an experiment, in which the largely young and progressive artists tried new construction materials and techniques. The result was an internationally recognized and admired modern settlement, under historic protection since 1956.

For more information on Germanys Magic Cities and other information on Germany, please contact the German National Tourist Offices toll-free number, 1-877-315-6237, send an e-mail to gntonyc@d-z-t.com, or visit GNTOs Web site www.cometogermany.com.


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