For core course week this semester all the full year architecture and design students traveled to Berlin. Last semester we traveled to Western Denmark and to switch things up, we went to Germany.
For the first weeks of the semester I was of the belief that we were taking the plane to Berlin. I was wrong. 6:00 am to meet at Vor Frue Plads to take a 7 hour bus ride to Berlin. FUN! It was great, a ferry ride from Denmark to Germany, about half way, did a great job of breaking up the trip. And just after lunch we pulled into our hostel in Berlin.
To get introduced to Berlin and the history surrounding it, we did a short walk to the Berlin Wall Museum. It was sobering to hear the ways that people were impacted by a single wall through a city. Multiple houses were destroyed to make way for the entire area surrounding the wall on East Berlin. I did not realize that the Berlin wall that we all know, was the third and final physical barrier to cross the border. There were fences, guard towers, and vehicle patrols in-between each of the fences. Below is a picture of the only part of the wall that still exists in place as a memorial.
From there, we continued on and spent two hours walking through the main core of East Berlin. We ended at the Brandenburg Gate just at sunset, it was gorgeous. East Berlin was fascinating as many of the civic buildings of Berlin ended up in East Berlin. West Berlin was therefore left with no actual city center. What is a city without a center?
Day two in Berlin we started by touring the Nordic Embassies – A complex of all the five nordic embassies; Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland. It was designed through a competition for the master plan and the winning design laid out each embassy in accordance to where the countries lie on a map. Where water and oceans exist, reflecting ponds are placed. Overall it was a great designed complex. Each individual building was designed by a firm from the country and we got to tour the Danish Embassy. It was great to see how much lego and Danish influence the building had.
From the embassy we walked to the museum island of Berlin. It is a complex that houses multiple museums for one entrance fee. In the museums I got to see the bust of the Queen Nefertiti as well as the blue gates of Babylon. It was great to see some of the pieces that I have learned about in history class in real life.
Our last day in Berlin we started with a visit to the Jewish Museum of Berlin. Fascinating history with it as they opened in 1933 just before having to close down due to the Nazi regime. It was a fascinating building that really help to elevate the sense of history of the Jewish plight in Germany. One of the best exhibits present was a tower space where the floor was made out of metal plates with faces engraved on them. Because the plates were scattered on the floor and on top of each other, they moved and clanked with each step someone made. This noise then echoed throughout the building and was such a simple, yet moving exhibit.
From the museum, we headed to the Reichstag Building (the German Parliament) to have lunch on the rooftop terrace. It was a great view of the city and had a glass dome that allowed for a look down into the chambers while being protected from the wind. The food for lunch was great, but we had to run to get back to the bus to head back to Copenhagen. At that point I said goodbye to everyone as I was staying to visit my friend in southwest Germany.
Photos can be found here.