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Germans Love David Hasselhoff / Architecture

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  • The much-derided "Googie architecture" or "Space Age in cheap plastic and concrete" earned a suspicious popularity among Communist Eastern European administrations, where it stuck for long after the West has abandoned it. By the late 1970s to early 1980s, it embodied the future to the common public, being the design of choice for amusement parks, seaside resorts, public buildings, airports and large rail stations. While The Great Politics Mess-Up of The '80s cooled down the enthusiasm for the style, many of these buildings were still admired throughout the 1990s, symbols of a bygone age of glory. Only after the Turn of the Millennium did they start to become bulldozed and replaced.
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  • The Bauhaus school of architecture was founded in Germany in 1919. When the Nazis rose to power, many Jewish German architects moved to Israel. Tel Aviv is today one of the most prominent if not the most prominent examples of Bauhaus architecture, with its "White City". (The "White City" style, we should note, isn't perfectly Bauhaus, as numerous concessions were made to Tel Aviv's Middle Eastern climate; large windows were replaced with small ones to prevent overheating, coupled with balconies for people to take in the breeze.)
  • The Gothic style of architecture originated in France and during its heyday was called the "French style" as it spread over Europe. Then it fell out of fashion during the Renaissance (the name "Gothic" was coined then, and was meant as a synonym for "barbaric"), but was later rediscovered in Germany in the late 18th century, largely through the efforts of Johann Wolfgang Goethe who, in an influential booklet, erroneously described Gothic architecture as a quintessentially German style. After this, German architects started to build in a Neo-Gothic style again to, for example, finish Cologne Cathedral. At about the same time, the British also developed a taste for Gothic Revival architecture, in large part because the French did not use it, and—just as importantly—both Republican France and the new United States had used "rational" neoclassical architecture as an expression of their ideals, so naturally Britain would use the style to represent its older, less radical approach. This is precisely for this reason that the Palace of Westminster, a.k.a. the Houses of Parliament, were rebuilt in a Gothic Revival style after the original burned down in 1834—although because the architect they picked to do it, Charles Barry, was trained in the neoclassical style, its floor plan is actually quite symmetrical and "rational" in the way neoclassical buildings are (when the second man on the project, the much more committed Gothic Revivalist Augustus Pugin, was asked to comment on the result, he famously lamented, "All Grecian, sir; Tudor details on a classic body"). It took a little longer for the French to appreciate Gothic architecture again. In France, Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (published 1831) is generally seen as the book that made them proud enough of their Gothic cathedrals to start work on restoring them (by which point the Germans had been at it for over 30 years, and the Brits for 20).
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  • When it comes to architecture, this trope could as well be renamed "Everybody loves Ancient Grome". While the very fact that Ancient Grome is a trope owes mostly to Roman love for Greek architecture (which is the most lasting and evident thing any culture leaves behind for future millennia), almost all "Western" cultures since have imitated the Romans in one way or the other. Both the predecessor and the successor of Gothic church architecture were inspired by Roman forms and the Pantheon in Rome (which still holds the world record for the biggest unreinforced concrete cupola) has been copied so often that the genuine article is starting to look generic. When the Americans were building their new Republic and representative buildings to symbolize it, where did they look? Why Ancient Grome of course. And that style was in turn copied by most European states that became Republics later than the US had. Even some communist states copied what are in essence American interpretations of Roman copies of Greek styles. Latin America is almost as enarmored with this particular style as the US is as most of those Republics achieved independence in the first half of the 19th century when the US were still seen as a shining beacon of liberty and a force for the liberation of the Americas rather than the negative view many Latin American governments today espouse of US government actions past and present.note 
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  • The "urban highway on stilts" was only seen as the best thing since sliced bread in the West for a rather short timeframe. In Europe nearly none were built before the war and by the end of the 1950s new construction had almost ceased entirely. In the US their heyday lasted a bit longer, roughly from the 1930s (when some were built as "make work" projects during the Great Depression) to the 1970s when the first global oil crisis, the emerging "green" movement and "highway revolts" started to gain traction and delayed or stopped several urban highways or reduced their scope. By the time the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in the 1980s and damaged the (elevated) Embarcadero Freeway, the debate had shifted sufficiently to let tearing the freeway down become a realistic and thinkable proposal, which was ultimately enacted. More and more cities have since replaced, relocated or removed urban highways all throughout Europe, North America and East Asia and few have ever looked back.

    However, in some parts of Latin America, urban highways on stilts are still seen as the pinnacle of urban development (pundits have considered that maybe their old popularity in the USA has made them aspirational symbols for governors of less developed countries), with high profile projects including the "Second Floor" of Mexico City's beltway that still has to this day strong associations with president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and a proposal for an elevated expressway in Guadalajara, Mexico that was scrapped due to backlash from urban development activists. The pace of their construction is actually increasing in cities like Managua, Nicaragua, where a socialist (!) government led by an former guerrillero who used to fight against Ronald Reagan thinks they are the thing a country with hardly any cars needs more than anything.


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