What a strange thing: going to Regensburg, I met this not-too-young-but-well-preserved building next to the Central Station in Nuremberg. In the glaring light of yesterdays‘ morning it seemed to be awaiting a facelift. Everything is already in place for this process, big bags of polystyrol are neatly attached at every level, very efficient! But what could be the reason? The buildings‘ structure was a child of its time: long rows of balconies, all over its facades, connecting exterior and interior space even in great heights. and protecting the interior without the help of climatisation against the sun. The working ambience seemed to be nice enough in this former administrative building. Now, somebody has acquired the whole lot and transforms every little bit into appartments. But! Especially housing requires the connection between exterior and interior spaces. So, why erase all outside structure? Why is everything cut down and replaced by an uniformous skin which in no way respects the constructive and conceptional structure of the existing building? The shape of the building will be massive after this intervention, it will loose all of its carefully elaborated constructive and architectural details which also were some kind of ornament establishing a human proportion despite its size. It could even have been called „elegant“, somehow.
My conclusion is that a facelift based on polystyrol elements was the simplest and less costly intervention in the aim to transform the building into appartments without architectural thinking and planning. Thinking and conceiving is seen as a process which is much more ‚expensive‘ than simply „doing“ without reflecting other strategies and possibilities. That is what makes those ‚investors‘ so successfull… They sell us their proper truth! So even if thinking and planning saves a lot of costs in the end and, by the way, provides a much better result in all senses, something more sustainable and even more beautiful (!!!), people prefer to invest in visible activities (e.g. „See, what I got for all of my money!“). Strange human habit…
I am quite afraid this will become one more unwanted facelift the world has to look at afterwards… very disturbing, indeed. The photo therefore is a synonym for „superficially efficient doing“.
Interesting enough, some years ago, their was a graffitti written on the wall below this building, something like „Der Kopf ist rund, damit die Gedanken die Richtung wechseln können.“ (The head is round, so that thoughts may change their direction)
Ah, if I find this picture in my archives, I’ll publish it… The tagging didn’t help but somehow previewed this „evolution“ :)