The new American embassy building in Berlin

by Ulf on July 5th, 2008 (Permalink)

Yesterday the new American embassy building in Berlin was officially opened. The building has been a long time in the planning and making, but various security considerations have repeatedly led to postponements. Now that it‘s been built in the same spot where the USA had an embassy in the 1930s -a very rarefied spot at Pariser Platz, close to Brandenburger Tor- it has been variously described as functional, but uninspired. The comparison to the old Blücher Palais is interesting, but of course unfair – times have changed, and so have the ways of diplomacy. It‘s hard to say how much of that is due to said security constraints, but the building is certainly less adventurous than the nearby French and British embassies.

Main entrance on Pariser Platz

View from the side. What you can‘t see is a row of very solid metal pillars even further away from the building that prevent any car from getting as close as the pedestrians are. Not pretty, but something the city had to agree to.

Blücher Palais, seat of the embassy in the 1930s, same viewpoint as above. Twenty years ago this shot could not have been taken – the Berlin Wall would have run along the street  in the front. Of course, the building -damaged in the war- was long gone by that time.

French embassy at Pariser Platz

British embassy in Wilhelmstrasse

The most inspired of all are the Nordic embassies, which are co-located in a group of buildings, and surrounded by a curving wall of window shades, within a setting of lawn and trees. This is a bit farther away from Pariser Platz (where there are precious few trees to begin with).

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