Klitsch (Saller Gruppe)
Saller Wohn- und Gewerbebau
All buildings have a psychology, but in military buildings, those built by regimes and religious buildings the psychological meaning determines the architecture.
For example very few people know that the largest work of architecture ever built, called Atlantikwall, consists of 15,000 reinforced concrete constructions known as bunkers. Ordered by Hitler in 1942 to protect the Atlantic coast, it soon proved to be completely useless, like the Great Wall of China. With the passing of the generation of people who personally experienced the dramatic significance of the enormous works of architecture constructed throughout Europe during the first half of the twentieth century by the three pharaonic totalitarian regimes, society is facing the problem of how to reuse these buildings. They are often architectural masterpieces, of enormous dimensions, and almost always built with great technical expertise, making demolition difficult and costly.
An example, likewise not lacking in psychological significance, is the redevelopment of the remains of the Weimar Gau Forum. This enormous party building, the model of which was presented to the Führer by the regime’s architect Albert Speer in 1937, has now been transformed into the city’s first shopping centre, the Weimar Atrium.
The impressive reinforced concrete structure initially had a large terrace and represented part of the scenario of an area intended for Nazi gatherings. After being built war broke out and in the end it was never used. After the war, the DDR altered its structure, almost entirely eliminating the terrace that faced onto the courtyard. It was subsequently reused as a depot for machinery and textile products and following the reunification of Germany in 1990 fell into disuse.
This story of this building reflects the destiny of Weimar itself, which for 70 years was condemned by history. The city was reborn in 1999 when Weimar became the European Culture Capital and during the first few years of the 21st century new economic forces have been accelerating the process of change of which the Weimar Atrium is one of the most tangible symbols.
Designed by engineer Andreas Nath, the shopping centre extends over a surface area of 13,000 square metres, 7,000 square metres of which have been refurbished using Ceramica Del Conca tiles. Standing 26 metres high, the large complex has three levels housing some 40 retail activities. To recreate a peaceful, reliable and luminous atmosphere, the refurbishment of this historic building used the Ky 60×60 cm beige porcelain tile, chosen for its warm colours and outstanding strength and resistance.
Ceramic tiles were used in the common areas on all the floors of the building, particularly the top floor, known as Piazza Italia, which accommodates various restaurants in Venetian, Renaissance, Florentine and Baroque reproduction facades and hosts cultural events, fashion shows and other events.
The political gatherings that in the end never took place have now been substituted by the peacetime activities of shopping, eating and entertainment.