Gilly & Schinkel and Athens on the Spree: Berlin Architecture 1790-1840 with Barry Bergdoll
On Wednesday, July 15th the ICAA hosted Barry Bergdoll, Professor of Art History at Columbia University and former Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, for an online lecture on the legacy of two German architects who were instrumental to the development of Berlin during a crucial period from the late 18th century to the mid 19th century.
In 1789, as French citoyens attacked the medieval fortified castle-turned-prison at the edge of the French capital, the Hohenzollern monarchy in Prussia responded by breaching the city wall of its capital, to create an image of the ancient propylaeum entrance to Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate. For the next half century, until the death of Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1841, a modest courtly city was to be changed into a stage for a new negotiation between public and power, as Berlin fashioned itself as the "Spreeathen", or Athens on the Spree River.
Berlin neo-classicism quickly emerged not only as a national project but as rethinking of the very training of a new architectural profession, one whose role would extend not only to the expansion of the Prussian state after the final defeat of Napoleon, but to an expanding market for architecture among a growing class of merchants and industrialists. This lecture will focus on the Berlin School from Carl Gotthard Langhans and the Gillys, father and son, to Schinkel.