Austria to turn Adolf Hitler’s birthplace into police station

Move aims to stop house in Braunau becoming neo-Nazi shrine after court resolves lengthy compensation dispute with former owner The house where a lengthy legal battle with the family of Gerlinde Pommer, which owned the house for nearly a century. That only ended this year when the countrys highest court ruled on the compensation Pommer would receive. The interior ministry will now invite submissions from architects to have the building house the towns police force. The houses future usage by the police should set a clear signal that this building will never be a place to commemorate Nazism, the interior minister, Wolfgang Peschorn, said in a press release. An EU-wide architecture competition will be launched this month with a jury …

Notre Dame fire: row as general tells architect to ‘shut his mouth’

Army general rebuked after lashing out at chief architect over cathedral rebuild plans The French government has rebuked the army general charged with the rebuilding of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral after he told the chief architect to shut his mouth, in a sign of tensions over the cathedrals future appearance. Gen Jean-Louis Georgelin lost his cool with Philippe Villeneuve in a dispute over whether to Notre Dame Cathedral: before and after the devastating fire video Notre Dame, part of a Unesco world heritage site on the banks of the River Seine, lost its gothic spire, roof and many precious artefacts in the fire. Paris prosecutors said in June that a cigarette or an electrical fault could have started the …

Dutch government slashes highway speed limit to tackle climate change

(CNN)Motorists in the Netherlands will soon have to slow down to do their bit to tackle climate change. The Dutch government has little room for maneuver. Last year, it was told by a court to take urgent measures to reduce emissions. The court also ordered the government to ensure that the country’s emissions in 2020 will be at least 25% lower than those in 1990. The court’s decision forced the government to put a number of large construction projects on hold. Writing on his official Facebook account Wednesday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the new speed limit was a “rotten measure,” but added it was necessary in order to protect jobs and builders. The Netherlands is particularly vulnerable to …

German novelists on the fall of the Berlin wall: It was a source of energy we lived off for years

Five German novelists recall the heady days of 30 years ago, and assess their legacy Heike Geissler: For the first few years, I fell into every single consumer trap put in my way Heike Geissler was born in 1977 in Riesa in the former German Democratic Republic. She is the author of four novels, most recently Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, won the European Book prize. Germans like anniversaries; they give such a clear shape to history. At these times you can simplify complicated things a bit, smooth out the contradictions. The GDR, which repeatedly comes back to life on these dates, long ago became a kind of museum country. These days hardly anybody wants to …

Former Yugoslavia’s brutalist beauty a photo essay

Socialist Yugoslavia reconstructed a land destroyed by fighting with concrete to show the power of a state between eastern and western power Genex Tower is unmissable on the highway from Belgrade airport to the centre of the city. Its two soaring blocks, connected by an aerial bridge and topped with a long-closed rotating restaurant resembling a space capsule, are such an unusual sight, the 1977-build tower has become a magnet for tourists despite years of neglect. The tower is one of the most significant examples of brutalism an architectural style popular in the 1950s and 1960s, based on crude, block-like forms cast from concrete. Serbia. Brutalism was popular throughout the eastern bloc but the former Yugoslavia made it its own …

Sardine tins for the poor?: Barcelona’s shipping container homes

Just a stones throw from La Rambla, the Spanish city is building 12 shipping container flats to help tackle its social housing crisis Barcelona has begun installing its first unsuitable and unsafe, and residents have said they are cramped, stiflingly hot in summer, and too cold in winter. The total cost of the scheme in Barcelona is 940,000 (840,000). We can deliver an apartment in a year while a traditional building takes six to eight years to reach completion, says Tonet Font of the citys social innovation department. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October. Nasibah Yagoub, 21, with her son outside a shipping container development being used for homeless families in Hanwell, Ealing. Photograph: Chris …

David Chipperfield’s Berlin temple: ‘Like ascending to the realm of the gods’

Twenty years in the making, this dazzling synthesis of the classical and modern takes Museum Island to new heights Friedrich Wilhelm IV described his vision for James Simon Gallery stands as a 134m (120m) Parthenon-on-Spree, forming a handsome new entrance to one of the worlds most important repositories of cultural treasures. We were quite nervous, says Chipperfield, standing in the lofty new ticketing lobby, where stripes of sunlight flood in between the row of slender white columns outside. The challenge was how to create something that was of its context and also of our time, in this incredibly sensitive location. He had good reason to be anxious. His first design, unveiled in 2006, was slammed by German critics as grossly …

Italy’s new ruins: heritage sites being lost to neglect and looting

Overgrown and weathered, many historical monuments are disappearing as public funds for culture fail to match modern Italys inheritance Legend has it that the grotto hidden among the craggy cliffs on San Marco hill in Sutera in the heart of Sicily holds a treasure chest full of gold coins. In order to find it, three men must dream simultaneously about the precise place to dig. Treasure or no treasure, the grotto itself is an archaeological gem, its walls adorned with a multi-coloured Byzantine-esque 16th-century fresco depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saints Paulinus, Luke, Mark and Matthew. One of the first mountain oratories in the world, it was built by Basilian monks in the 9th century. But time has weathered …

Goodbye to Gomorrah: the end of Italy’s most notorious housing estate

Famous as the setting for the hit Italian film and TV series Gomorrah, the towers of Le Vele became synonymous with poverty and organised crime until residents took charge When I think of my life in Le Vele, my skin crawls with rage, says Omero Benfenati. He looks out from a dark, narrow passageway framed by suspended steel stairways that block the natural light and lead up to abandoned apartments. Most of the windows are bricked up, and liquid leaks from split pipes on to the sewage and refuse-strewn asphalt several storeys below. We used to play down there, says Benfenati, now a housing activist. The uncollected rubbish bags make ideal goalposts for five-a-side football. Just a few years ago, …

Rooftop pool? Notre Dame proposals defy traditionalists

Designs from architects around world also suggest glass, crystal and metal spires An architecture firm has proposed replacing the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral with a swimming pool, as France prepares to were damaged in a firein April, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said he was open to a contemporary gesture in rebuilding it more beautiful than before, and the prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, called for a new spire adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era. The said the architect Alexandre Chassang, who has designed a proposal for a glass spire. PierreTrollment (@PierreTrollment) Pour la transissions cologique. pic.twitter.com/hmHLfCrZ9U Florian Renucci, a master mason at the experimental medieval building site at Original Article : HERE ; The Ultimate …

Leonardo da Vinci events marred by Italy and France row

500th anniversary of artists death overshadowed by escalating diplomatic tensions Events to commemorate Leonardo da Vinci will take place in France and Italy on Thursday, the 500th anniversary of the artists death, with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, hosting his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella. The two heads of state will meet at Amboise in the Indre-et-Loire region to visit the Chteau du Clos Luc, where Da Vinci lived from March 1516 until his death in 1519. It was at Clos Luc that the Renaissance master painted three of his most famous works: Mona Lisa, St John the Baptist and the Virgin and Child with St Anne. The three paintings are displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Macron extended the …