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CounterpreservationArchitectural Decay in Berlin Since 1989$
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Daniela Sandler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703164

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703164.001.0001

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Counterpreservation in Reverse

Counterpreservation in Reverse

(p.169) 5 Counterpreservation in Reverse

Daniela Sandler

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the Topography of Terror, an open-air exhibition and documentation center at the heart of Berlin where archaeological excavations of Gestapo structures once mingled with postwar ruins and debris. The site began as a temporary, guerrilla exhibition, and its helter-skelter quality earned it the nickname “open wound.” It proved to be charismatic enough for the temporary, grassroots exhibition to be made permanent and official; and it also inspired a trove of academic publications. Initially an exemplary of counterpreservation, the Topography of Terror was eventually redesigned in 2005 according to a more definitive and all-encompassing plan. This chapter looks at the new configuration of the site, and probes whether it might be considered an example of counterpreservation—and conversely, whether counterpreservation is the most appropriate response for the site.

Keywords:   Topography of Terror, exhibition and documentation center, Gestapo structures, postwar ruins, redesigns, temporary exhibition

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