Friday, June 21, 2013

Haus Hohe Papeln

Located at Belvedere Allee 58 in Weimar, the house Hohe Papeln (high poplars) was the private residence of the Belgian architect and designer Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), who came in 1902 as artistic adviser of the Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar. Van de Velde had the house built in 1907/08 from his own plans and lived there until 1917 with his wife Mary and their five children.

Van de Velde developed the outer shape of the house from the internal structure  The path of the sun has special attention.
Van de Velde understood the Hohe Papeln as an organism in which each room served a specific function, and thus had a fixed place within the spatial structure. Central hub and heart of the house was the living hall on the first floor. From here, the salon with adjoining work and dining room,  rise to the first floor and opened up the side stairs. Van de Velde deliberately avoided ornamental decoration, but was based on the aesthetics of modern industry and designed the house by principles of expediency. The house is a unique work of art, where Van de Velde's signature is found in every detail.

In addition to the architecture, the furniture, fixtures, van de Velde also designed the garden. Each facade is assigned to another garden area. The poplars that once rose high above the house give the property its name.
The tour of the house including the garden Tall poplars and the representative of the family living area on the first floor with living room, dining room, study and living hall. The exhibited furniture was designed in 1904 for the family of Munchausen van de Velde.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Buchenwald Mahnmal

From 1954-1958, the GDR established a National Monument with the intent of memorializing the German Communist Resistance fighters.  The entire monumental complex is in the form of Socialist Realism The intended path starts at the belfry tower of freedom. Inside the tower is a bronze plate below the earth and ashes from other concentration camps. The bell in the tower top is by Waldemar Grzimek . The crown of the tower is a work of blacksmithing and was designed by Fritz Kühn. Before the bell tower is the sculpture of Fritz Cremer The bell tower represents the time of life.
Looking up toward the Glockenturm

From the bell tower, this wide staircase descends to one of 3 mass graves.  In these, the SS had buried about 3,000 dead shortly before the liberation of the concentration camp in 1945. 
The ring graves are connected by the Street of the Nations . The Street of Nations is of brick pylons flanked by the names of 18 nations, who were imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp.
At the end of the Street are the stelae designed and created by the sculptors of René Graetz , Waldemar Grzimek and Hans Kies. On the back of the stelae are texts by Johannes R. Becher . 

The style and sense of this monument made an impression in my psyche that is entirely unique from anything I have ever experienced.  The enormous scale and emptiness creates a drama that is very moving.  I walked symbolically from life to death, starting from the bell tower, and it was very strange.  Looking across the expanse and openness of the landscape, I was the only visitor and I felt alone, like I was caught in a surreal vortex of history and memory.  This is a land scarred by distorted ideals, and possessed by twisted and tormented souls, all pleading for redemption.
From death looking towards life