Weimar and Erfurt

Weimar is an elegant historic town, one of the most visited in Germany with its long cultural history and its political importance. The city has been home to the composers Lizt, and Bach, the writers, Goethe and Schiller and  the artists and architects, Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger and Gropius at the Bauhaus, the most important German design school of the interwar period.
Standing high on a nearby hill is the memorial tower of Buchenwald concentration camp, it can be seen easily from almost every part of town serving as a reminder of its dark history.

Strolling around the town soon after dusk we came upon the start of an extraordinary evening, a musical event involving the whole town, it began in Theaterplatz,  with people stood still, looking forward and holding various music players. There were to be concerts, community bell-ringing, everyone in the town contributing to the musical night. Alan Bern – Sound Installation

Sound Installation
Sound Installation – comemmorating the 75th anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogrom throughout Germany on November 9/10, 1938 (“Kristallnacht”).

Unfortunately not speaking German, we had no idea of the events in store and instead of being part of it, we spent the evening elsewhere.

Long shadows on the wall in Kollegiengasse
Long shadows on the wall in Kollegiengasse
Platz Der Democratie
Smoke around the moon in Platz Der Democratie
Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Duchess Anna Amalia Library
Hotel Elephant Cocktail Bar
Hotel Elephant Cocktail Bar
Pink windows
Pink windows
Hinges
Unusual Hinges
Gothe's Door Handle
Gothe’s Door Handle

Some visual notes from a short visit to Erfurt

Erfurt, Domplatz
Domplatz, Erfurt
Golden Unicorn
Golden Unicorn 1905
Caught unawares
Caught unawares
Perfect geometry
Perfect geometry
Restoring a window
Restoring a window
Good brickwork at Bildungstatte
Good brickwork at Bildungstatte

 

Cars seen through steel gate
Cars seen through steel gate, minimalist construction, tiny rivets, water-jet cut steel.

Berlin – Architecture, Streets and People

Thomas - Expert Guide
Thomas – Expert Guide, joining the coach in Potsdamer Platz

One day in Berlin is not enough – of course! I was there to visit the Bauhaus Archives, the most comprehensive representation of information about the mid 20th C design school. I also enjoyed a 3 hour coach tour with a certain Thomas who was the most informed and amusing guide I have ever met. He skilfully took us around or past every historic point, every breath-taking piece of modern architecture with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything Berlin has to offer the coach-bound traveller. Due to lack of time we could only leave the coach twice and for just a few moments, so many of  the photos are compromised by having been taken through the coach window as the coach was moving.

Jewish Museum - Daniel Libeskind
Jewish Museum – Daniel Libeskind’s radical, zigzag design

Just one photograph hardly does justice to this complex building, light and shadows dance across the angled facades and jagged chasms and take your breath away.  Daniel Libeskind

Berlin Hauptbahnhof - Meinhard von Gerkan

Berlin Hauptbahnhof – Meinhard von Gerkan

Meinhard von Gerkan The station looks particularly marvellous at night, streaks of light gliding through and out of the enormous glazed tube of a roof.

Topographie Des Terrors - Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer and Partner) and the landscape architect Professor Heinz W. Hallmann
Topographie Des Terrors – Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer and Partner) and the landscape architect Professor Heinz W. Hallmann

The external structure of steel rods or shafts catch the light and cast shadows giving the whole structure a nebulous appearance, quite the antithesis of the stern buildings that preceded it under the Third Reich. Ursula Wilm

The New Art Gallery - Mies Van de Rohe
The New Art Gallery – Mies Van de Rohe
Deutsches Technikmuseum - Helge Pitz and Hoh
Deutsches Technikmuseum – Helge Pitz and Hoh
IBA Housing - Zaha Hadid
IBA Housing – Zaha Hadid
Berlin Shell Haus – 1932 – designed by German architect Emil Fahrenkamp. Noted for its striking wave-like façade, and for being one of the first steel-framed high-rise buildings in Berlin.

Lots more building projects underway.
Judging by the number of cranes on the skyline, there are many more building projects underway.
bicycle and shed
Bicycle, tarpaulin and timber shed
Fluorescent jacket
Fluorescent Jacket

At first sight this appears to be a man with no head! Actually he is bending his scarf-covered head forward sharply in order to better read his phone.

Daimler Chrysler  - Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Steps at Daimler Chrysler – Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

I was too close to be able to capture much of the facade but I love the steps. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate

CyclistCyclist

Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights – including the expert installer
Berliners 2
Two smart Berliners going about their business
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Berlin woman
IMG_6649
Hemispherical concrete bollards – what a lovely curve
IMG_6617
Replica of Checkpoint Charlie, complete with actor/soldiers – watched over by Albert Einstein
IMG_6540
An ingenious and space-saving bicycle rack, German bikes seem to be characterised by a curved crossbar making them look very decorative in pairs.
IMG_6510
The Colour Pillar in the garden of  the Bauhaus Archive – Walter Gropius

Bauhaus Archive

The South Bank

The promenade along the south bank of the Thames is a vast meeting and socialising place especially in good weather. Yesterday, although cold, was sunny and the place was packed. There was a food festival as well as the usual free entertainment of street performers.

Annie Mae’s Mac and Cheese stall sells the best Mac and Cheese I have ever tasted, try some if you get the chance.

The silver-haired gentleman who used to blow bubbles for children seems to have been replaced by a young guy with amazing multi-bubble techniques. The older man would blow bubbles for free all summer and then fly to Spain for the winter living on the donations made to him by grateful and entertained parents and children.

Bubbles

The London Eye seen against the Houses of Parliament.
London EyeAnd again, the London Eye but this time glimpsed through a smeary plate glass window, a beautiful scale model.
London Eye model

Living Architecture  has built a boat on the rooftops, it can be hired by the day (at no small expense) but what a marvellous position from which to study the comings and goings on the Thames and to watch the sun go down over the Art Deco buildings on the north bank. A time-lapse video of the construction.
A Room for London - the Boat

South Bank Sunset

Reflections

It was sunny on Sunday – at last, I walked around the newly refurbished Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The hull of the original ship has been enclosed by a protective glazed gallery affording lots of weird and interesting ghostly interior views overlaid with reflections  on the outside.

IMG_4245 IMG_4244Canary Wharf in the distance. Greenwich foot tunnel

London at Night

It was bitterly cold and raining last night but our group braved the elements till our fingers froze to our tripods.
Rain spots on the lens made some soft refraction patterns and I like the way the guy’s phone is lighting up his face.

Westminster Bridge

What looks a little like a twig on the Houses of Parliament Tower is actually the trailing light of an airplane flying West towards Heathrow Airport during the 8 sec exposure.

Houses of Parliament
The Supreme Court, designed by James S Gibson is built in Portland Stone, pale in colour, making a good backdrop for the silhouetted plane tree with its circular seed balls. The interior lighting seems unusually tinged with green and in the first floor window to the left of the entrance there is an eerie figure in a red jacket.

Supreme Court, Parliament Square
The blue lighting on the London Eye and the trees nearby make a great opportunity to make trailing light photos, this was taken at f10, 13secs, ISO200 and moving the camera slowly downwards on the tripod during the exposure.
London Eye

Tate Staircase Shadows

Again inspired by Ansel Adams photography, I looked back through my large collection of shadow photographs from the Tate Modern. I have made images of people’s shadows whilst they are walking up and down the stairs. I think these two in particular are interesting, just body parts, no colour, no identity, no gender, no nationality, not even any age, just soft fleeting recordings of movement.
Tate Modern Stair Shadows

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