German plans move ahead for rebuilding Berlin's Stadtschloss

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The German government invited architects yesterday to submit proposals for the task of reconstructing Berlin’s Stadtschloss, a Baroque royal palace torn down in 1950, Bloomberg News reported. The project is to include the partial re-creation of its facade and a towering cupola. A panel of specialists, including the architects David Chipperfield, Giorgio Grassi and Petra Kahlfeldt, is to judge entries in a competition lasting until November 2008, the German building minister, Wolfgang Tiefensee, said. Construction of the new building, which is to house some of Berlin’s antiquities and art holdings as well as parts of Humboldt University and the city library, is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2013 or 2014, he said. To make way for the reconstituted castle, German lawmakers ordered the razing of the Palace of the Republic, home of the former East German parliament, a huge steel-and-concrete building with bronze-colored windows that opened in 1976. Critics have protested the demolition of the old building, asserting that it holds a beloved place in the city’s popular culture and that a rebuilt Baroque castle would be a parody of history. The Stadtschloss was the seat of the Prussian kings until Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918.

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