IMD _Institute of Media and Design

copyright _IMD

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | Masterthesis | Nuremberg transscription

Nominated for the BDA-SARP-award 2014

The former Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg is a historical place, for which there is hardly any comparable in Germany. In contrast to the memorials, which in the former concentration camps, prisons, etc. remind of the National Socialism (NS) terror and thus remember the victims of tyranny, is the area in the southeast of Nuremberg, a place which aimed at the 'Assimilation of an entire people " (Ignatz Bubis). Here the NS movement celebrated itself in nearly an obscene manner, presenting itself to the world with the good side of the regime. Accompanied by undisguised prelude to the war, the seed was sown here that rose up at the aforementioned places in such a terrible way. All buildings glorified the two central myths of the "Third Reich": the leader myth that made Hitler be seen as the "foreseen" national savior, and the myth of a "people's community" based on uplifting experiences and feelings. (Source: Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds)

The clever use of lighting effects enhanced the architectural message of party buildings. A nocturnal lighting director, including the so-called "Cathedral of Light" should give them a ceremonial look and give the whole scene a sacred atmosphere. Cultic celebrations and festival days with appeals, parades and marches made frequent visits to the "City of National Assembly" for National Socialists mandatory.

For the dissemination of NS ideology, the multiplication potential of the then new media was early recognized and used strategically with NS Party films, radio and press. The trained expressionist cinematic role model and radically minded filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl created in contract with National Socialistic propaganda the films "Victory of Faith" in 1933 and "Triumph of the Will" 1934. The self-presentation of Hitler and his festival games received there a suggestive elevated, quasi-religious character.

The master thesis of Ms. Specht dealt during the research phase with the question of how the staging of "The Mass Ornament" (Siegfried Kracauer) both cinematically (Leni Riefenstahl) as architecturally and urbanly spatial (Albert Speer) was exactly structured and how one can understand it from today's perspective and make them visible in the context of an architectural analysis diagrammatically / notationally (drawings, models).

In the design phase, the question at the forefront was how to deal with the NS ideologically contaminated architecture today; how the terrain can be read, restructured and transformed from today's perspective as well as respect for the historical context.

Briefing lecture

Directed by: Prof. Matthias Karch with Prof. Volker Staab
Author: Katharina Specht