Design: Rebuilding Berlin - Yet Again

For its birthday, the city showcases world architects

The 20th century has been crueler to Berlin than to most any other major city in the world. In architecture as in politics, Berlin is a birthplace of modernism -- the kind of avenging romantic modernism that was determined to demolish the past and rebuild the future from scratch. And so again and again for a half-century after World War I, the city was razed wholesale for the sake of ferocious social ideas: first, the Utopian housing tracts of the 1920s; then the Nazis' megalomaniacal neoclassicism in the '30s; the devastating Allied bombing raids in the '40s; the redoubled, misguided urban...

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