Danish Disfigurement of Mainz

I visited Mainz last weekend to see Mahler’s Second played (outstandingly) by the Sinfonietta Mainz.  During a pre-concert stroll, I couldn’t help noticing this gigantic building, placed directly on the banks of the Rhine:

Mainz

The somber monotony of the concrete outer shell, the gloomy dark-brown metallic side-grills (an unmistakable reference to fences and prison-cell bars), the bunker-like shape of the whole  — all mark this as one of Germany’s many grim memorials to the victims of National Socialism.

Oh wait, no, it’s the Mainz City Hall (G).  Designed in 1973 (when else?) by two Danish architects.  In fact, Mainz has taken a large part of its waterfront and old town and drenched it in concrete buildings that look just like this one.  You can read a spirited defense of this mass of concrete and brown metal here (G).

I’m not buying it.  Mainz as a whole may have its charms (nice cathedral), but its Rhine frontage, — which also features a large, ugly Hilton hotel — is hideous.  Mainz has the ugliest city hall I’ve seen since leaving Boston.

4 thoughts on “Danish Disfigurement of Mainz

  1. Tear down that wall, Mayor of Shame! Why don’t you replace the hideous monstrosity with, say, this bicultural beauty of albuminous splendour? Anyway, available in your neighbourhood soon – warts an’ all, as prickly party poopers may add. But our host will be delighted to find like minded spirits on things concerning the perils and excesses of modernity.

  2. Wait, wait, wait – ich hab’ noch einen! Isn’t the Cologne bomb just that tad too imposing? Here‘s one that combines modesty with an extra helping of peace for our time. “Islam ist Frieden!” (note the exclamation mark, you sods!). Didn’t we just know it?

  3. From the “spirited defense”:

    > Die Gliederung faßt gleichzeitig zusammen, so dass die Höhe des Baus von sechs Stockwerken zurücktritt gegenüber einem einheitlichen, fast monolithischen Gesamteindruck.

    Or, as my friend James Kunstler likes to say: “Right, and every Monday at three p.m. winged monkeys fly out of his butt.”

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