Presenting Difficult Pasts Through Architecture : Converting National Socialist Sites to Documentation Centers book cover
1st Edition

Presenting Difficult Pasts Through Architecture
Converting National Socialist Sites to Documentation Centers

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 25, 2021
ISBN 9780367217624
March 25, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
218 Pages 86 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Architectural design can play a role in helping make the past present in meaningful ways when applied to preexisting buildings and places that carry notable and troubling pasts. In this comparative analysis, Rumiko Handa establishes the critical role architectural designs play in presenting difficult pasts by examining documentation centers on National Socialism in Germany.

Presenting Difficult Pasts Through Architecture analyzes four centers – Cologne, Nuremberg, Berlin, and Munich – from the point of view of their shared intent to make the past present at National Socialists' perpetrator sites. Applying original frameworks, Handa considers what more architectural design could do toward meaningful representations and interpretations of difficult pasts.

This book is a must-read for students, practitioners, and academics interested in how architectural design can participate in presenting the difficult pasts of historical places in meaningful ways.

Table of Contents

List of Figures


1. Postwar Rebuilding and Coping with the Past

2. Four Documentation Centers – Histories

3. In the Shadow of Propaganda Architecture

4. Presenting Pasts through Architecture – Intellectual Framework

5. Formal Characteristics

6. Physical Traces

7. Designation

8. Memento



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Rumiko Handa is Professor of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. She holds a PhD in architectural theory from the University of Pennsylvania and a BArch. from the University of Tokyo. Her writings have appeared in: MAR Montreal Architecture Review; Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture; The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians; Preservation Education & Research; Design Studies; and so on. She co-edited Conjuring the Real: The Role of Architecture in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. She is also the author of Allure of the Incomplete, Imperfect, and Impermanent.