Guilty Architecture

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20180426

Jonathan Glancey asks for how long a building carries the charge of an evil past.

Jonathan Glancey asks whether buildings are innocent of the purpose for which they were built. Eighty years after Hitler's building spree around Germany, many of the surviving buildings he constructed as "cathedrals of propaganda" for the Nazi Party are now in need of restoration. This opens a public debate about how the architectural legacy should be handled and whether buildings retain the charge of their toxic past.

Jonathan is in Nuremberg at the infamous rally ground where so many of Hitler's epic theatrical gatherings took place. Here the enormous structures and buildings of the complex are crumbling and the city has some hard decisions to make. And in Munich, the British architect David Chipperfield has been engaged to restore the Haus der Kunst, the gallery where Hitler staged the exhibition of German art, set in contrast to the "degenerate" art which was shown nearby and which he despised. Jonathan talks to David about his plans - but why are they so very controversial?

We also talk to architect Norman Foster about German buildings and about his own transformative work on the Reichstag in Berlin.

And we visit Clandon Park near Guildford in Surrey, a Palladian house which was gutted by fire in 2015. Its guilty secret is that it was built entirely on the proceeds of slavery. Should we ignore that and happily rebuild?

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.