The Gates of the Gutenberg Museum – initially a 12 part series attempting to unravel the mystery of the bronze gates of the Gutenberg Museum.
I’ve now (2017) updated the information and rolled it into one article here
Rainer Schell’s concept is stunning today and must have utterly gobsmacked the populace back then.
Hard-edged cubism, steel, glass and concrete
The Director of the Gutenberg Museum was catatonic.
He’d expected something mock Renaissance to match the Römischer Kaiser…..
It was almost as if Wiesbaden was rubbing salt into Mainz’s wounds after having
nicked been gifted the suburbs on the other side of the Rhine.
It wasn’t as if they hadn’t been WARNED, though – his Church of the Redeemer in Mainz-Kastel isn’t what you could call traditional…
And it gets better.
Rainer Schell wanted to counterpoint his architecture with a sculptural feature.
“I don’t want likenesses” he said to the 5 or so local and regional sculptors chosen for the competition “I want allegory. I want a sculpture that implies what the true meaning of the museum is“
And what did he get?
You guessed it.
Something like these
Rainer Schell went spare.
He refused to consider ANY of the proposals.
The Bundesbaudirektion – the Federal Building Administration – was founded in 1770 by Friedrich II to introduce what we’d these days call a Design Catalogue for state buildings and to establish an academy to train future civil servants to oversee planning and construction.
It was reëstablished in 1950 in Berlin by Konrad Adenauer (after being hijacked by Adolf and his evil crew between 1933 and 1945) with responsibility for creating a temporary capital in Bonn and overseeing federal building activities in Germany and embassies overseas.
Rainer Schell was well known in Berlin through his association with Egon Eiermann and was later to be commissioned with the building of the Goethe Institute in Paris
The Director of the Bundesbaudirektion was Karl Merz.
“Do YOU know a good sculptor who understands the word “allegory?”asked Schell.
“As a matter of fact, I do” said Merz “The guy you need is Karl-Heinz Krause….”