In their exacting Germanic determination to be as faithful to the original as possible, his Berlin team were in danger of being more Miesian than Mies himself. The big surprise, for an architect renowned for his attention to detail, was quite how badly the building was made. “It was like opening the bonnet of a Mercedes and finding …” Chipperfield’s voice trails off and he gives a look of disgust. Walls that looked like solid oak were actually cobbled together from bits of plywood, the concrete under the granite slabs was shot to pieces, and when they took the ceilings down, the electrical and mechanical systems were a mess. “It was as if the surface was holding everything together.”The curse of Mies van der Rohe: Berlin’s six-year, £120m fight to fix his dysfunctional, puddle-strewn gallery, Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian
I lived in Poland in the late ’90s and I remember finding out that the Rynek Starega Miasta in Warszawa – Warsaw’s old town market square – had been entirely rebuilt in replica after its destruction in World War II by the Luftwaffe.
The desire to return it to the way it was, to rebuild the accumulation of history it contained at the frozen moment when it was destroyed, was understandable. We will rebuild what was taken from us.Continue reading ““It was as if the surface was holding everything together.””