Thursday, October 11, 2012

Großes Schauspielhaus (Great Theater)

Berlin: Hans Poelzig's Großes Schauspielhaus(or you can refer, as I do in my head, to it as "groshes schowshpeeelhawws" I think it's right) is a perfect example of expressionist architecture, something I have only recently really begun to explore.  It's sad to find out about such great buildings and then hear they've been demolished (it's kind of like the time I discovered Jeff Buckley, got obsessed, and then realized I would never see him in concert). This building, more popular by it's internal "stalactite grotto" than the facade, has been a symbol of work by the late expressionist architect.  The supports looked like fountains lighted high above your head and seemed to drip down and turn into feable looking supports or as one of Poelzig's students, Julius Posener, remarked, "The 'supports' do not look convincing." I've read that the lights on the "stalactites," when aglow, formed celestial constellations.  Absolutely astonishing.  Poelzig's infatuation with Gothic and Renaissance architecutral structure and elements gave way to the creation of Großes Schauspielhaus.

Come 1933 and the Nazis took over Großes Schauspielhaus and called it the Theater for the People.  A drop like ceiling was hung to cover the "stalactites."  Following WWII the theater staged a variety of shows, turned into a military warehouse until 1988, and was demolished. 

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