Thursday, 29 December 2011

Photo Journal: Hamburg, Leipzig and Dresden 11.2011


Nikolai Kirchturm (Tower of St. Nicholas) preserved as war-torn memorial.

51-bell carillon  with tunes four times a day played by musician in glazed room - the  resonant music can be heard at great distance.

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Chilehaus, designed by Fritz Höger and completed in 1924, witnessed Hamburg as a glorious sea port.  The stylish emporium – Manufactum, located at the north of the building, houses large collection of German functionalist aesthetics.

An early modernist skyscraper of 1924 with lifts and reinforced concrete framing.  Paying homage to the original owner who made a fortune whilst in Chile, delightful seafaring details and exotic references are abundant.

Sheepish exterior of U-434. The Russian submarine turned museum, is a camouflage to the nerve-raking interior.

Wonder how people manage to work in this claustrophobic space amid maddening noise.

Intestinal enclosures: there are hundreds of pipe, meters and valves cluttered everywhere including corridors.

Authentic 19th century canal and warehouses comparable in scale only to those in Manchester of England.  The Speicherstadt district (City of Warehouses) is undergoing ambitious revamp from public and private sectors. 

Hamburg Urban Development Centre: 20 year re-development plan to revive southern side of Hamburg.  HafenCity is destined to be one of the biggest urban and architectural experiments in Europe.

Much awaited Elbe Philharmonic  by Herzog & de Meuron to be completed soon at HafenCity.
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Science Centre designed by OMA in 2008: still torturously going through planning stage with no date for construction yet.

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Meet Der Floss (The River), 1939 - the unsettling sculpture by Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) depicting a woman stabbed at the back and fallen.  This piece is located outside Hamburger Kunsthalle, a similar piece cast in 1948 is found at the MoMA, New York.

Example of German attention to details and love of the orthogonal grid: there are no cut tiles on the floor and walls; it takes determination and stamina to arrange the mirror and toilet accessories in module.

Consider the virtue of  discipline from a different perspective, it also calls for collective commitment to fill up this joint with graffiti.  And the room looks zippy enough.

Theatre district with outdoor stage at St Pauli district.

The famous red light district has been gentrified enough for curious tourists.


Pedestrian friendly World Heritage Site in Germany: Lübeck manages to retain the basic medieval city fabric and some Gothic architecture.  A pair of lions guarding the city gate refers to the founder of Lübeck - Heinrich der Löwe (Henry the Lion).

Street scenes.

St. Peter’s Church (Petrikirche): the enlightening interior has a modern appeal and more to offer artistically than the exterior.

As in most scarred heritage in Germany,  architectural remains are meticulously preserved no matter how small. 


City centre with balanced variety of shops and engaging street decor.

Apart from the anonymous shopping malls, there are historical arcades with winding internal streets to be explored.

Truncated street frontage of building facades leaving the war scars barely visible.

Museum of Fine Arts sits audaciously among traditional buildings.

The lawn and resulting setback make clever transition with the existing surrounding; however the cypress trees weaken the intended boldness of the architecture.

Classically proportioned Leipzig Opera House, designed and built during the communist era, is a novelty at the busy Augustus Platz.

At one side of the square lies an ugly  building (Universität Leipzig) designed by the Dutch architect Erik van Egeraat. 

Casually fashioned with mixed bag of historicism, Gothic style and contemporariness, not only is this a rare find in Germany, it gives modern architecture a bad name.

The incongruous architecture surrounding the square leaves a lot to be desired.

Recommended visit: 500 year old Auerbachs Keller (Auerbach’s Cellar). The restaurant was enshrined in the play - Faust I by Goethe.

Extended from the restaurant, the Mephisto Bar offers excellent German cakes at reasonable prices.


Heroically modern slab block that seems to extend infinitely.

Cardboard alike  
buildings at Neumarkt Square.  Regrettably, not many buildings were left after carpet bombings in the Second World War.

Smart street performer spotted me photographing while posing with children.   Of course, I duly paid for his service afterwards.

Like many historical buildings in this city, Dresden Cathedral was literally reconstructed from ground with original rubble.

Side chapel of the cathedral with modern alter.

Cold November afternoon at the promenade along River Elbe.  The fall in temperature and receding daylight leave very few to cross the bridges to Dresden Neustadt.

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