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Architecture students discover why Berlin is an 'open air museum'

Architecture students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have discovered the revered and overlooked building wonders of one of the world’s true ‘open air museums’ – Berlin.

With enthusiastic and knowledgeable lecturer Dr Yuri Hadi as their guide, students on the Architecture course wandered among the great variety of constructions towering over the German capital’s streets.

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Dr Hadi pointed out works by internationally-renowned architects, famous and undiscovered gems, encouraged students to photograph and sketch and draw inspiration from a city largely rebuilt after almost total destruction in the Second World War.

He took students through the city’s streets, stopping at buildings designed by Herman Hertzberger, Richard Rogers and David Chipperfield.

Along with talking students through styles and histories, he encouraged debate and ‘grading’ the quality of the designs, stopping occasionally to start a sketching sessions, capturing the buildings on paper.

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Tom Witherton, first year Architecture student, said: “This trip has already been incredibly helpful, especially with Yuri, he is what is making this trip so enjoyable and informative. He makes you look up to what’s around you.

“Berlin is my favourite city. It has a mix of everything, architecturally. It is a city which has had to rebuild itself; you’ll find classical Greek revival stuff but it’s got modern designs of all styles.”

Seehab Ahmed, in his second year, said: “The architecture in Berlin is dependent on site and context; in the east you have communist and Soviet designs and the west mass development.

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“But you also tend to miss the hidden gems. Since the war, the rebuilding has led to a huge amount of experimentation, a mix of different styles.

“And also you can look at how a city is rebuilt, how to regenerate social houses and public buildings like museums. It’s all so fascinating and it gives you inspiration when you come to design back at home.”

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Meanwhile, students studying Fine Art and Photography spent the morning exploring the Berlinische Galerie.

This huge exhibition space houses contemporary and classical painting and photography along with spectacular large-scale sculpture works and immersive installations.

Photography History MA student Beth Edwards said she said many of the pieces were directly related to her studies.

She said: “For me, the most useful artwork exhibits were the Japanese pieces that were included in the travel photography section.

“I’m using those in my dissertation so it was really useful to get such a close view of them.”

Dale Robertson, principal lecturer in Fine Art, said: “The Berliner is a particularly good gallery because it has contemporary, cutting-edge art at the front and right the way through to classical art at the rear.

“It gives you quite a big range of art in Berlin, capturing the essence of the city ad a number of styles and media.”

Posted on Friday 16th June 2017

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