Monday, 26 September 2011

pontifex and bauhaus

This past weekend was a busy and a bittersweet one for H and I. First, very early on Saturday, we joined some thirty-thousand pilgrims, winding our ways through dark and circuitous alleys policed by a huge security force to the Cathedral Square of the old city of Erfurt, where incidentally Martin Luther reformer and architect of the Protestant schism was educated in the priesthood and was first ordained, to celebrate the Eucharist with the Pope.
It was a very moving experience to share with all those thousands, focused on one individual. Having recovered from that adventure, we crossed to the antipode of Germany to the city of Darmstadt--beautiful and enjoyable but sad as we bid my parents farewell as they were getting ready to return to the States. We met them at their temporary vacation cottage, nearer the airport, and went into town to first see the apartment complex, the Waldspirale, designed by the Austrian artist Hundertwasser, with onion-topped domes and a strange non-Euclidean geometry that was like something out of the blended imaginations of the Flintstones and Dr. Seuss.
Darmstadt is replete, as well with, examples from many styles and movements and we passed through blocks of Jungstil (Art Nouveau) townhouses on our approach to the artist colony and architectural workshop and laboratory in the Mathildenhรถhe neighborhood. The park is a cascading ensemble of early 1900s design.
The Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower) is a quintessential Jungstil skyscraper though draped for renovation in the background (here's a little version made for blind visitors) in the background, behind the Russian Orthodox Chapel and water elements.  Spending an afternoon at a cafรฉ on the grounds was a very nice way of saying to my Mom and Dad that we will see them real soon and wishing them best of luck for their continued adventures.