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October 22, 2011

Daniel Libeskind building at 601 Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA….when you get there, it’s not there

Filed under: California — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 6:00 pm

In 2005, famous architect Daniel Liebeskind designed a 38-story condo building called Aura, which was to be built at 601 Capitol Mall in Sacramento, CA.  The plan fell through when the developers of the project defaulted on a loan.  The photo below shows Libeskind’s design for the building, which was never built in Sacramento.

Architectural design by Daniel Libeskind for Sacramento

A building with this same design has since been built in Moscow in Russia. The building is shown  on the far right in the photo below.

Liebskin building in Moscow

Liebeskind building in Moscow, shown on the far right

Why should anyone care if the building, shown in the photo above, was built in Sacramento or not?

I’ll tell you why. When this project was first announced in the Sacramento Bee newspaper in 2005, I was horrified.  I had seen one of Daniel Libeskind’s buildings in Berlin, and I did not think that one of his designs would be suitable for Sacramento.  His architectural style has been called “deconstruction.”

My 2001 photo below shows the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which was designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind

The ultra modern design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin is intended to be in the form of a deconstructed Star of David, as though the building had been hit by lightning. The only windows are the angular slits that you see on the sides of the building. The surface of the building is covered with polished metal facing. There is no door into the exhibits in the building; entry is through a tunnel from the Baroque building next door, which is shown in the photograph below.

Contrast between buildings in Berlin

You can see some more of Liebeskind’s style of architecture here; there are photos showing what he did to Dresden.  There oughta be a law!

I went down to 601 Capitol Mall today to check out the address; 601 Capitol Mall is currently nothing but a parking lot with a small one-story building which is the office for the building at 621 Capitol Mall.

The description of the proposed building on this website reads as if the building had actually been built:

Situated in the heart of downtown Sacramento, California, the Aura condominium tower at 601 Capitol Mall is reshaping the city’s skyline with a much more modern view. The building, designed by Daniel Libeskind and developed by BCN Development of Denver, both embraces the architect’s signature sculptural forms and steps up the capital city’s architecture a notch.

Rising more than 400 feet above the city’s floor, the 38-story luxury residential tower features a luminous glass façade wrapped with translucent bands of balconies cut by curvilinear lines, which will provide residents with sweeping views of the city and surrounding landscape when it opens in 2007. The 256-unit building will also feature street-level dining, a sidewalk café, a fountain with sculptures, and a pedestrian-friendly lobby, all in the name of encouraging interaction between the tower and lively public space outside. Inside the residences, 10-foot ceilings open up 700-square-foot one-bedroom condos, the 4,400-square-foot penthouse, and everything in between. Other amenities include a landscaped garden, spa facilities, and 24-hour concierge services.

“The sculpted form of the building, its lightweight construction and luminosity, and its seamless interior spaces create an iconic whole greater than the sum of its parts,” says the architect, who is best known for master planning the new World Trade Center site and for designing the Jewish Museum Berlin. He calls Aura, which is his first project in California, “a sculpture that changes with light and the season.”

Libeskind has brought “a sense of energy and vibrancy to the city,” says Craig Nassi, founder and CEO of BCN. A developer for high-end, mixed-use, luxury properties, BCN currently has a combined real estate portfolio valued at more than $500 million.

April 17, 2010

entartete Kunst (degenerate art)

I’ve been doing some research on the locations of Eisenhower’s camps for the German soldiers who surrendered at the end of World War II.  One of these camps was at Sinzig in the vicinity of Remagen, a city on the west bank of the Rhine river.  Remagen is famous as the location of the Ludendorff bridge, which was the bridge where American troops first crossed the Rhine.  The bridge eventually collapsed, and today only the towers are left as a reminder. At the site of the Remagen bridge, there is a piece of artwork that Hitler would have called “entartete Kunst,” which, in English, means “degenerate art.”

Modern art at the site of the Remagen bridge

The photo above shows a modern sculpture which would have been banned by Hitler in the Third Reich.  Putting such art at the site which was a turning point in Germany’s loss of the war is like rubbing salt into a wound.  It is unnecessary “piling on.”  Leave the German people some pride, for pity’s sake.

The towers at the Ludendorff bridge are still standing

There is a time and place for everything.  In my opinion, the site of the Remagen bridge is not the place for modern art; it is a historic site where the German people fought and died, during World War II, for what they believed in.  Whether or not we agree with German ideology during the Third Reich, I don’t think that historic World War II sites in Germany are the proper place for modern art.  It would be like putting Nazi art at a historic site for the American revolution in America.

Cover of book for entartete Kunst exhibition in 1937

In 1937, the Nazis put up an art exhibition in Munich, in which they showed modern art, but for the purpose of showing it as degenerate.  Hitler believed that modern art was influenced by the Jews, and that it was un-German.  He was an artist and amateur architect himself, and he favored traditional art and architecture.

Today, the term “entartete Kunst” is used with great pride in Germany because the German people want to distance themselves from the Third Reich and everything that it represented.

The photo below shows modern art on a church in Berlin.  In my opinion, this is an example of using modern art in a  totally inappropriate way.  This is a church, built in traditional style, that was bombed in World War II; the church was restored and this artwork was added.

Modern Art on a restored church in Berlin

The memorial sites of the concentration camps feature “degenerate art” as a symbol of victory over the Nazis. The Buchenwald memorial site has an art museum which features what Hitler would have considered the most deplorable examples of “entartete Kunst.”  One room in the art gallery is devoted to the work of Artist Jozef Szajna who enlarged photographs of Buchenwald inmates and then pasted these photos on huge cardboard cutouts, as shown in the photographs below.

Artwork in Buchenwald Museum

Artwork done by a Buchenwald survivor

German soldiers look at artwork in Buchenwald museum

German soldiers are required to visit a concentration camp memorial site, just like the German school children are required to be indoctrinated.  The photo above is one of the saddest sights I’ve ever seen.  This is what happens when  a country loses a war.  Imagine if America had lost World War II and we were all required to make a trip to a museum to view Hitler’s traditional paintings.

Protestant Church at Dachau has no right angles

Modern Art in courtyard of Protestant Church at Dachau memorial site

The Protestant Church at the Dachau memorial site was built without any right angles, as a protest against the order and discipline of the Nazis.  An exception was made for the artwork in the courtyard of the church, which is shown in the photo directly above. The photo below shows the altar inside the church with a modern square shaped cross on the wall.  To me, this display of modern art in a church at Dachau is appropriate; it celebrates the victory of the prisoners over the Nazis and their culture.

Altar and modern cross on wall of Dachau church

Sculpture at Zeppelin field in Nürnberg

The photo above shows modern art in front of a Museum at the Zeppelin field in Nürnberg.  Another example of the victors rubbing it in by putting “degenerate art” at a place where the Nazis once demonstrated their power.

The two photos below show the clash of cultures in Germany. The top photo shows traditional architecture, while the second photo illustrates the modern architecture of the Jewish Museum; these two buildings are side by side in the city of Berlin, Germany.

Traditional building in Berlin represents German culture

Jewish Museum in Berlin represents “entartete Kunst”

The ultra modern Jewish Museum building in Berlin, designed by Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind, is intended to be in the form of a deconstructed Star of David, as though it has been hit by lightning. The only windows are the angular slits that you see on the sides of the building. The surface of the building is covered with polished metal facing. There is no door into the exhibits; entry is through a tunnel from the Baroque building next door.

The contrast between the old building and the new modern one illustrates the vast difference in thinking between the Nazis and the Jews. Hitler would have called the Jewish museum building “degenerate” architecture.

The memorial site at the former Dachau concentration camp is the appropriate place for “degenerate art,” such as the International Monument, shown in the photo below.

International monument at Dachau memorial site