Sunday, April 22, 2007

Universum Cinema

WOGA Complex + Universum Cinema
Erich Mendelsohn
Berlin, Germany 1925

Mendelsohn’s architectural style eschewed historical precedents in favor of ideas derived from expressionistic sketches and romantic symbolism that recognized the qualities of modern building materials should dictate a new architecture. Inspired by the machinery of a new age, the theatre’s form contains naval and aeronautical allusions common to the vocabulary of the still infant Streamline Moderne movement. The most compelling feature of his design is the subdivision of the complex into four discrete buildings. A small road that is now a pedestrian area separates the flat cabaret complex, which now houses a restaurant, and the main building with the cinema, now the theatre “Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz”. This public zone is completed at the rear by the six-story former hotel lifted off the ground by pillars. Behind this complex is the elongated residential building with its horizontal brick bands, protruding balconies featuring nautical handrails and the narrow, rounded entrances.

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