The Transparent State: Architecture and Politics in Postwar Germany

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Routledge, 2005 - Architecture - 273 pages
Examining the transformation of transparency as a metaphor in West German political thought to an analogy for democratic architecture, this book questions the prevailing assumption in German architectural circles that transparency in governmental buildings can be equated with openness, accessibility and greater democracy.

The Transparent State traces the development of transparency in German political and architectural culture, tying this lineage to the relationship between culture and national identity, a connection that began before unification of the German state in the eighteenth century and continues today. The Weimar Republic and Third Reich periods are examined although the focus is on the postwar period, looking at the use of transparency in the three projects for a national parliament - the 1949 Bundestag project by Hans Schwippert, the 1992 Bundestag building by Gunter Behnisch and the 1999 Reichstag renovation by Norman Foster.

Transparency is an important issue in contemporary architectural practice; this book will appeal to both the practising architect and the architectural historian.

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About the author (2005)

Deborah Ascher Barnstone is Associate Professor of Architectural Design at Washington State University, and also an architect and designer. Her work includes a special issue of the Journal of Architecture Education dedicated to transparency in Twentieth-Century architecture (with Anthony Vidler), and she has chaired sessions addressing transparency and approaches to architectural modernism at two annual meetings of the Association of Art Historians. Her design practice has explored both spatial and material transparency, and she has taught architectural design in Germany.

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