Making History: How Berlin became a Mecca for Irish Architects

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Making History: How Berlin became a Mecca for Irish Architects

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:06 am

From RTE's press office, for those who find bricks and three parts sand to one part concrete erotic...

Monday 08 December 2003

Making History: How Berlin became a Mecca for Irish Architects

Berlin. Former powerhouse and playground of Europe, a place where decadence and cruelty have gone hand in hand, a city where the politically ambitious have walked side by side with the politically indifferent, home to the entrepreneur, the artist, the marginalised and the bohemian, site of some of history's greatest and bloodiest moments.

In the last 30 years, Berlin has become a Mecca for generations of young Irish architects, eager for experience, big city living and to be part of history. Tonight on LÉARGAS three Irish architects who have been involved in some of Berlin's most prestigious building projects talk about how history shaped their experiences.

Siobhan Ní Éanaigh moved to Berlin in the 80s and was involved in redesigning the area in West Berlin which had been devastated during the Second World War and further destroyed by the building of the Berlin Wall.

Tarla Mac Gabhann from Donegal arrived just after the Wall came down and knocked on the door of architect Daniel Liebeskind, now famous for having designed the buildings to replace New York's Twin Towers. With Liebeskind, he was part of a team of young architects who designed the city's striking Jewish Museum, a sprawling, jagged, titanium-clad building, which commemorates the city's former Jewish community and which is now firmly on all Berlin tourist itineraries.

Finally, Ruairi O'Brien from Blackrock has won awards all over the world for his 'micromuseums', tiny mini-museums which he has designed for sites commemorating some of the most painful moments of German history. We visit a prisoner of war camp at Zeithan, East of Berlin, where 35,000 Russian soldiers died between 1941 and 1946 and see how he has celebrated their memory.

The programme is a journey through the city and through history but ends in Ireland where Siobhan and Tarla show us the work they've been doing since they came home and how the experience of those years in Berlin still influences it today.

Reporter: Pádraig O'Driscoll 2084561
Producer/Director: Sarah Ryder 208 2860 / 087 6491633
Series Producer: Frank Hand

Contact Details: Éanna Brophy 01 208 2667
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Paul Clerkin
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