20 September: Lübeck

This being a life of excursions, we spent Sunday in Lübeck, another port city, albeit one whose days of significance has past. After relaxing a bit a cafe (more on that in another post) we took an architecture tour, led by a local architect who was passionate about his built environment and urban design.

A refrain of his comments was that Lübeck has always been trying to figure out what it's local idiom is. For instance, in 1938 a building needed some work. The original facade was baroque, but the cagey architect knew that the Nazis weren't going to support restoring something vaguely French. Instead, he designed a facade that looks about like an old warehouse on the river--something more "German." That's what got built (building on left).

This too was a bit of a joke. The image of Lübeck is brick. In truth, the old structurally brick warehouses and homes were stuccoed. It simply turned out that the stuccoed, painted facades fell off due to the local weather.

Later in the 20th century, modernists tried to square their ideas (simple forms) with the local skyline (jagged). As post-modernism began to take hold, there were some buildings built that kind of look like the 1938 building and others like it. One issue was that people had basically forgotten how to build in brick. Another issue was that architects had essentially copied from an architectural forgery based on something that no longer looked as it originally had. Got all that?

I'll let photos of the town speak for themselves.

Dinner was at the Schiffergesellschaft, a local institution since roughly 1538.


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