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“THE NEWEST OLD TOWN IN THE WORLD”

By Pete Moore On February 22nd, 2020

I can’t describe how happy these rare outbreaks of architectural sense make me. The Altstadt of Frankfurt has been rebuilt and restored. Thirty five buildings in total, of which 15 are complete reconstructions of the 17th-Century town destroyed in World War Two.

Death to modernist architecture.

 

19 Responses to ““THE NEWEST OLD TOWN IN THE WORLD””

  1. I have had.many a good night in Frankfurt, work & play.

    No matter how much grappa consumed, very much the same as many German Towns & Cities, the architecture is wonderful.

    Würzburg Is still my absolute favourite.

  2. The centre of Warsaw was restored from ruins in the 1950s. The communists were opposed to this but unusually they gave in to public pressure and the old plans which had luckily survived were used again.

    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffsb&q=warsaw+centre&ia=images&iax=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.visionsoftravel.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2017%2F02%2FOld-town-and-center-Warsaw-Poland-34.jpg

  3. Rüsselsheim am Main, is possibly pretty much the most boring place I have worked and stayed at in Germany.

    The most exciting place to visit was Aldi’s.

  4. Peter.

    You actually beat me to the comment I was going to make mate.
    I spent 2.5 years in Poland, and I was just going to mention the way they restored the almost completely flattened city after world war II, especially the old town area was incredibly impressive.

  5. So we’re all agreed that our customary architectural forms are the best and that brutalist architecture ought to be bulldozed.

    Good.

  6. To be honest Pete, I’m not sure I agree with you.
    I think there’s a place for modern buildings and there’s a place for ‘traditional’ buildings. Remember, it’s all a matter of perspective. In Victorian times, many people objected to modern buildings, which what you would now call traditional.

    I’m pretty drunk by the way. I’ve been at a birthday party tonight. So please excuse any typos.

  7. You might find this interesting.
    When I worked in Poland I actually worked for Citibank who were building a massive headquarters opposite the opera house in Poland.
    they’re actually building a modern building however the front of the building have to resemble the building that originally existed there and was destroyed in world war II.
    It was fascinating to watch this building being built. The front facade didn’t actually match up with the floors inside so you get floors halfway across windows. That being said the front looked magnificent and really complimented the opera House opposite.

    Citibank Warsaw. I watched this building being built.
    http://wikimapia.org/4123499/Jab%C5%82onowski-Palace-Citibank-Handlowy

    The opera House opposite.
    https://www.123rf.com/photo_14144019_warsaw-poland-national-opera-house-and-national-theatre-building.html

  8. Dave –

    It’s not a matter of perspective. Beauty matters and beauty is objective. It’s also a matter of public health. People who live and work in traditional architectural forms built from natural, local materials have better mental and physical health than those in modernist monstrosities.

  9. Pete.

    I think you’re making quite a lot of assumptions there mate. I agree that people who work in cities are more stressed than people who work in outside of cities. But that does not really back up your argument. That has more to do with the pressures of working in a busy environment.
    I certainly didn’t find it more stressful to work in a modern building in a city than a more ‘traditional’ building, outside of the city. What stressed me out, was the pressure of work.

  10. Beautiful and appropriate modern architecture is good. Too cute by half look at me Modern architecture is a horror, as are very many Of the soulless glass and concrete behemoths Of the late 1950s – 70s etc.incl La Defense and the Pan Am building

    The lovingly restored old city of Warsaw is wonderful, Especially as compared with much of the rest of the city, with its brutal, antihuman Soviet blocks.

  11. The architecture doesn’t have anything to do with the mental health of those who work inside of them

    Cramming workers closer and closer together, in noisy open plan environments., Which is what is increasingly happening now, Creates anger and stress, no matter what the outside of the building looks like

  12. We can’t build new constructions today as if it was 1820 instead of 2020, that would be absurd. I think we can all or at least the vast majority of us can agree that the 1950s style of plain flat grey rough concrete building that characterised so many big council house estates at least here in the U.K. was an ugly disaster but a lot of new modern architectural types are a lot better, lighter, more colourful and fluid with rounded and more humanely shaped styles. We can’t say beauty only stopped when George IV died !

  13. The architecture doesn’t have anything to do with the mental health of those who work inside of them

    Are you joking? Form, scale and materials has a huge effect. Consider just one school classroom –

    “In an Austrian school classrooms equipped mainly with solid wood materials pupils exhibited a decreasing of heartbeats by an average of 8600 beats during the day and showed significantly higher vagal activity during wakefulness …”

    “In medicine the vagal tone plays an important cardioprotective role, which means it protects the heart from infarction and injury.”

    Source.

    I.e. just the choice of wood for chairs, desks and equipment less stress, healthier and longer lived children. Wood is tactile, anti-microbial, and naturally regulates moisture content in the air, meaning fewer colds and flu.

  14. Phantom,
    //The architecture doesn’t have anything to do with the mental health of those who work inside of them//
    I think architecture can play part, but not to the extent that Pete believes it does.

    //Cramming workers closer and closer together, in noisy open plan environments., Which is what is increasingly happening now, Creates anger and stress, no matter what the outside of the building looks like//
    Exactly, that’s the point I was trying to make. Numerous studies have shown that working in cities is much more detrimental to mental health, than working in less densely populated, greener areas.

  15. Phantom

    The lovingly restored old city of Warsaw is wonderful, Especially as compared with much of the rest of the city, with its brutal, antihuman Soviet blocks.

    Absolutely. on the outskirts of Warsaw there are miles and miles of Soviet built accommodation blocks and they are soul destroying. They’re dark, cramped and ugly. The only thing the soviets got right, was they used to put lots of green space around the blocks.

  16. Pete

    “In medicine the vagal tone plays an important cardioprotective role, which means it protects the heart from infarction and injury.”

    it sounds like lefty, hippy nonsense to me Pete, not the sort of thing I’d expect you to believe. ☺️

    I.e. just the choice of wood for chairs, desks and equipment less stress, healthier and longer lived children. Wood is tactile, anti-microbial, and naturally regulates moisture content in the air, meaning fewer colds and flu.

    You’re not going to hear an argument from me about the benefits of wood. I’m always arguing with people that wooden windows and much better than UPVC.

  17. The Poles reconstructed the centre of Danzig as Danzig, now Gdansk. They knew that even though it is visibly German, it is way better than any modern alternative, so well done to Poland

  18. //on the outskirts of Warsaw there are miles and miles of Soviet built accommodation blocks and they are soul destroying. //

    I stayed in one all the time I was in Warsaw, and I must say I always got a kind of kick from the existentialist chill you get walking around them, with their melancholy and loneliness and their terrible memories.

    They also inspired a great Bowie piece of music – Warzwawa, on the album Low, if I remember right. Has bits of evocative traditional Polish music among the brooding sound. Great stuff.

  19. Noel

    I stayed in one all the time I was in Warsaw, and I must say I always got a kind of kick from the existentialist chill you get walking around them, with their melancholy and loneliness and their terrible memories.

    You and me both mate. Well I was in Warsaw, my company actually rented a beautiful flat just off the old town Square. But a lot of my polish work colleagues and my polish partner lived in this old Soviet accommodation, I got a bit of a kick out of visiting them. It reminded me of one of my favourite films Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil.’
    The dark stained concrete. The dodgy lifts with their bostwick gates, that never worked half the time. And the pipe ducts, that said the flats with hot water, always gurgling, hissing and steaming.