Found project: Olympiastadion


    Project : Olympiastadion

    Language variant : Olympic Stadium

    Architect : March, Werner

    Completion: 1936

    Locality : Berlin

    Country : Germany

    Building style : Modern architecture (not specified)

    Project on the map (green arrow)

    Description :

    A racecourse from 1909 and a “Deutsches Stadion” from 1913 on the periphery of Berlin Westend were intended to provide the architectural framework for the planned Berlin Olympics in 1916, which never took place because of the war.

    When Berlin was chosen to host the 1936 Olympics, the Nazis saw an opportunity for propaganda here, to show their love of peace, but also as a demonstration of German strength.

    The Reichssportfeld was completely redesigned. Monumentality was required to express discipline and strength, and religious solemnity set the mood for seduction to mass psychosis.

    At the centre of the complex was the gigantic stadium to seat 120,000. Its iron-frame structure is clad with limestone slabs, and the floor is laid with granite.

    The exterior articulation consciously avoids any subdivision or establishment of rhythm, only an endless sequence of hard-edged piers and an unbroken, heavy cornice over the deep arcade secure the required power and size.

    Parade areas, geometrical buttress towers, larger-than-life statues of warriors and assembly area for 500,000 people continue the program of a political and ideological show of power into which the international games had to be fitted.

    The 77 m high bell-tower with the monotonous sound of the Olympic bell provided the reverent shudder of imperceptible but intentional intimidation. Even the open-air theatre in the northwest, seating 20,000, was sufficiently large to convey emotion without anything happening on the stage at all.

    Güttler, Peter et al: Berlin Brandenburg. Ein Architekturführer – An Architectural Guide. Ernst & Sohn 1993, p. 150.

    Ed. Heikki Nikkinen



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