The lobby connects everything, and everything is asymmetrical. In some ways there is a sort of line of symmetry within the actual concert hall, but the architect ensured that this line would be broken and that things would eventually become lopsided. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of symmetry, this building is absolutely amazing.
The interior of the large concert hall is shaped like a giant pentagon, and since the orchestra would play in the middle, everyone has a great view of the band no matter where they are sitting. Also, it should be noted that this place sounds acoustically incredible -- I suppose I could say that I have a pretty good ear for things, given that I've been a musician for a good amount of time. But this just about blew my mind, and it was just some people practicing there and warming up. Hopefully we'll be able to go to an orchestral concert there before we leave Berlin.
The next stop was my site to talk about, which is Potsdamer Platz. I was actually really glad to have this space, and was really excited upon looking up information about it before presenting. It's one of the largest traffic squares/plazas in Germany, and it is right near the Brandenburg Gate as well as the Reichstag. It actually marks the point where the old road to Potsdam passed through Berlin.
The square has been built and destroyed and rebuilt several times -- but the most recent renovation has left it as a truly intensely bustling and interesting area. Today 20,000 cars and 83,000 travleres pass through the platz. And to think it originally started out as old rough country roads! Look how it is now:
My two favorite buildings were the Sony Bluemax Theatre and Potsdamer Platz 11. The first is just a sweet building, curved, and encircling an ovular area that is a great place to hang out (or, at least had the illusion of it). Offices line the oval, and you can see that this area is just a super ritzy area for businessmen. It's interesting to look at places now, because where there are now people everywhere, they could very well disappear with the warm weather that we have now.
|Potsdamer Platz 11 (note the double glass facade)|
|Sony Bluemax Theatre|
Next stop was the Holocaust Memorial that resides in Berlin for the Jewish people. It was officially opened in 2005, though the idea for construction arose in 1989 when the Berlin wall was taken down. The repetitive concrete blocks vary in height, but all have the same length and width. This repetitive nature really gives a special feeling to the walk in between them. The designer also had in mind creating these two waves; one from the natural topography of the ground and another from the heights of the blocks themselves. The block heights mimic this very non-traditional ideology because they are not all perfect -- they lean; they are crooked, they are indeed not perfect.
It was certainly an experience walking through here because you really felt alone. You could see shadows of people crossing aisles near you, you could hear footsteps, but you rarely saw someone. If you did it was only for a fleeting moment. It was the desire of the architect that the memorial would stand silent, and you were the one who had to talk. I started walking on top of the stones, and it really created an unsettling feeling as you passed over the chasms that were the walkways in between the stones... It was just as bad as walking through them; it was that inescapable feeling of fear and solidarity.
Underground underneath the memorial was a museum that had stories of survivors, letters found of those deceased, and other really deep things. For me it was not only a window into the past, but a it really made you think -- the darkness allowed you to get lost in your thoughts and really become fully involved of the stories of those people.
|several embassies are on the left, the DZ Bank, Hotel Adlon, and Academy of Arts are to the right, in addition to the American Embassy|
|The Brandenburg Gate|
|this is just a small part of the Chancellor's house|
|view from the cupola of the Reichstag -- beautiful!|
We finished out the night with some quick dinner and headed back to watch some Clemson football (so stoked we won!) and then to sleep.