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Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2012

Martin Filler: Smash It - Who Cares?

To be sure, opposition to Stuttgart 21 has not been wholly, or perhaps not even primarily, architectural, even though critical opinion reckons the station among the finest transportation facilities of the twentieth century. The new scheme also involves felling two hundred trees in the adjacent Schlossgarten, one of the city’s best-loved parks, which along with the project’s enormous cost—opponents have warned that it could exceed $23 billion—may well be the main sources of public anger. Yet even the partial destruction of Bonatz and Scholer’s masterful work (which they dubbed umbilicus sueviae, the navel of Swabia) has been rightly perceived as an irrevocable act of cultural vandalism. How big a political issue can be made of despoiling architectural landmarks? In fact, voter disgust with both Stuttgart 21 and mainstream politicians’ evident indifference to the numerous demonstrations against it helped the Green Party to win a majority on the Stuttgart city council in 2009 and two years later to lead a coalition government in Baden-Württemberg’s legislature, a first for a German state. What has made the story of the Stuttgart Central Station especially shocking is that the historic preservation movement arose a half-century ago in direct response to the equally misguided demolition of another great railway depot: McKim, Mead & White’s majestic Pennsylvania Station of 1908–1913 in New York City.

Mein Blog befasst sich in einem umfassenden Sinn mit dem Verhältnis von Wissen, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft. Ein besonderes Augenmerk richte ich dabei auf die Aktivitäten des Medien- und Dienstleistungskonzern Bertelsmann und der Bertelsmann Stiftung.