Monday, January 05, 2009

Look Familiar?

[The Hohenzollern Palace in Berlin]

The Hohenzollerns were the Prussian royal family and produced rock stars like Frederick the Great and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Was San Francisco City Hall copied from this palace or were they both copied from some earlier baroque palace?

Prize for the first person to supply the correct answer is a kosher crab dinner at Fisherman's Wharf, no expense spared.

5 comments:

  1. Fig Newton12:59 PM

    Well, this is an interesting historical problem...

    While Arthur Brown, Jr., usually is credited with designing SF City Hall, it is important to note that he was partnered with Bernard Ralph Maybeck, son of a German immigrant.

    Both Maybeck and Brown attended the École des Beaux-Arts and carried this imprint into their work in the United States. One should remark that Maybeck was quite eclectic in his use of other national architectural styles and one would likely find influences other than French directly associated with his buildings. More on this later.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

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  2. Fig Newton1:43 PM

    Most on-line sources credit Les Invalides in Paris as the inspiration for San Francisco City Hall's rotunda. However, it is important to note that Les Invalides possessed its own Baroque anticedents. The design of the rotunda at Les Invalides was drafted by Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646 – 1708)a French architect whose work is generally considered synonymous French Baroque. Hardouin-Mansart undertook many rotunda design, the most important of which graced chateaus (as well as the palace of Versailles). His rotunda styles were among the most copied in Europe. Could the Hohenzorlern Palace thus find its common ancestor in Hardouin-Mansart inspired rotundas like those at Les Invalides?

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fig Newton1:56 PM

    Jack,

    One curious point: Wiki states that the Hohenzollern Palace in Berlin underwent demolition by the East German government in 1950. What building exactly is the subject of the photo you have posted here? The photo looks more recent than 1950 based on the crane designs.

    Kind Regards,

    Fig Newton

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hadn't thought of Les Invalides, but you are exactly right.

    The article was about exactly what you asked. The Berlin authorities have undertaken to reproduce the old Hohenzollern palace to certain specifications. Three of the facades are to be exact reproductions of the old building and the fourth to be whatever the architect wants.

    I suppose the model is the rebuilding of the beautiful Peter & Paul Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow, which was razed by Stalin.

    It is widely forgotten that the Communists, who accused everyone else of Philistinism, were themselves the very worst and most destructive of Philistines.

    It is part of the task of the peoples of Europe and China to undo that legacy as best they can.

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  5. In fact one can see in the picture that the being-rebuilt Hohenzollern palace is in a construction site. I assume the palace's outbuildings and gardens will be rebuilt in the foreground field of dirt.

    ReplyDelete