From the editors
CULTURE IN A "FOREIGN" SPACE: AN INTRODUCTION
TO GENIUS LOCI KALININGRAD AND KOENIGSBERG
KALININGRAD IN THE YEAR 2020 - A NOT QUITE FICTITIOUS CONVERSATION
DESTINATION - KALININGRAD
FROM KALININGRAD DICTIONARY
MAP OF THE CITY
FORMA URBIS. SYMBOLIC PARALLELS
IN OR OUT
THE RAILWAY STATION AND ENTRANCE TO THE CITY OF KALININGRAD
BINARY STATES OF "K" CITY
Eugeny Umansky, Karpenko-Karpenko
IN THE CENTER
Andrei Monastyrsky, Sabina Haensgen
EMPTY CENTER K.
FOLLOWING SILENT WORDS
FA+ (Ingrid Falk & Gustavo Aguerre)
THE MYTHICAL FOUNDATION OF KALININGRAD
PRETERITION: KNEIPHOF ISLAND
THE BRIDGES AND "THE PREGEL'S ODOR"
John Craig Freeman, Greg Ulmer
IMAGING KALININGRAD: THE SEVEN BRIGES OF KOENIGSBERG
FORGOTTEN KANT AND THE KANT-BRAND IN KOENIGSBERG
KANT'S BRIDES: A READYMADE PHOTOGRAPHIC CHRONOTOPE
THE CATHEDRAL AND KANT FOR EVERYONE, OR IS GOD FEARSOME WITHOUT MORAL
THE CASTLE OF SOVIETS
THE ROYAL CASTLE
A WHITE SEAGULL ABOVE THE CITY: THE SYMBOLS OF THE OLD NEW CITY
WRITING OF DREAMS
LIGHT UP DOM SOVETOV
THE HOUSE OF SOVIETS
THE MOST PROFOUND SECRET OF ONE KOENIGSBERG LAWYER: HOFFMANN
A LEGEND ABOUT FIVE LITTLE ULRICHEN AND FERRYMAN ANDRE
KOENIGSBERG-KALININGRAD. THE TASTE OF MARZIPAN
THE COUNTRY OF PENSIONERS - OR THE GERMANS
CONCRETE ELEMENTS OF KALININGRAD
THE UNDREAMED OF CITY
TOWN PLANNING MATHEMATICS
MOSKOVSKII PROSPECT & THE SHADOWS AROUND ALTSTADT
OUR TOWER Ivan Chechot
THE TOWER-REDAN "KRONPRINZ"
THE KRONPRINZ TOWER. Projects for the National Centre for Contemporary Arts by Students of the Institute for Theory and Design in Architecture (Braunschweig, Germany)
THE AMBER ROOM
BASTIONS IN DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS
THE HOUSE OF MACHINERY: THE RECONSTRACTION AND EXPLOITATION OF THE POPULATION
V.I.P. (Very Interesting Person)
PLACE OF EXECUTION
TRACES OF A VIRTUAL HISTORY IN A VERY REAL CITY
CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
LIFE AND EGGS (A sketch about trams)
A STROLL THROUGH THE CENTER
IN THE FLOW: FOUNTAIN SEASON
WILD WEST OF RUSSIA
ANIMALS IN KALININGRAD AND A MOSAIC
KOENIGSBERG'S SPIRITUAL HERITAGE IN TONS, ITEMS AND SACKS. From the history of lost and found cultural heritage
WE ALL ARE GOING TO BE THERE
MONUMENT TO 1200 GUARDSMEN IN KALININGRAD
MATTER AND SPIRIT
FRAGMENT OF A SYMPHONY FOR SLOW READING: IVANOV AND HIS SURROUNDINGS
ATTIC OF RECOGNITION
MAN AND WOMAN
THE SMALL SCULPTURE "GIRL"
ON THE STREET
Igor Isaev, Dmitrii Demidenko
THE FIRE HYDRANT
Kalle Brolin, Kristina Muntzing
THE WATERFALL HERACLES' BOLT
V.I.P. (Very Interesting Person)
NATASHA POTERYASHINA. Inteview
TO BE IN THE MOOD FOR PACKING
Dmitrii Bulatov, Pavel Savel'ev
ACEPHALUS: OPTICAL MODELS
LIGHT THE CRYSTALS OF KALININGRAD!
THE BRIDGE THAT THE "RUSSIANS COULDN'T PULL DOWN"
THE ROAD TO BERLIN: FROM EPIC TO BANAL. Interview with Valerii Bugrov
HOAR-STONES AND BOUNDARY SYMBOLS
MUSCOVITES ARE HANGING
BEFORE THE CITY
THE UNDREAMED OF CITY
Werner Moeller / Leipzig, Germany
"We must all come to terms with the uncertainty of the Modern Age"
War, flight, destruction, capitulation, hate, deportation, enforced relocation, prohibited zone, exclave, isolation. No travel guide that seeks to entice the reader on an imaginary journey of discovery of a pre-1944 "City of Koenigsberg" seems complete without an illustration of the dramatic and drastic events of the last sixty years that have left their mark on the cityscape of contemporary Kaliningrad. The few fragments of the former city center still in existence, coupled with historic views and records, have led to the development of moving stories and images that illustrate the cultural singularity of this historic city. Reflected in the sober reality of architecture and urban planning in the age of socialism - often defined by desolation - these stories and images bear a melancholic burden. In the accounts of those looking for traces of the earlier city - the former residents of Koenigsberg and those presently living in Kaliningrad - this sentiment is often enhanced and emotionalised on a personal level. Both of these groups of people are linked by the object of their search, but their interests are essentially different: The one group has for the first time, with the opening of the prohibited area in 1991, the opportunity to visit their former home - or that of their grandparents, parents or relatives. They journey to the immediate roots of their own history in order to find the images engraved in their memories. The others are the descendants of those who moved to the area from the Soviet Union after 1946 and whose access to historic records was, on ideological grounds, a matter of national censure - a condition that could no longer be sustained when the prohibited zone was opened. Driven by curiosity, the residents of Kaliningrad carried out research into aspects of the city's history previously denied them. Their search was accompanied forthwith by a quest for a new sense of self in their own, but surprisingly alien, city.
Within this triad (the desolation of the socialist city, the search for traces of the destroyed city of Koenigsberg by former East Prussians, and the search for identity by the current residents of Kaliningrad) providing an account of the old, lost cityscapes becomes not only a melancholic but also a moral occasion. It entails a massive reckoning with the 20th century and the aesthetic transfiguration of buildings from earlier epochs. But where, here, is it possible to find the way forward? On the one hand, the comprehensive obliteration of all the architectonic evidence of the Modern Age - from the second half of the 20th century - would be financially impossible. On the other, such a programme of demolition would be essentially no different from the Modern Age's oft rightly criticised and dictatorial demands for an historic tabula rasa.
A critical look at the past also presents the question of whether one should also deal with the 19th century and even earlier centuries in the same radical fashion. The 19th century witnessed, among other things, the carving into the ancient city of railroads -the heralds of the Modern Age - and residential districts that are generally accepted today as appealing and agreeable. Furthermore, other massive changes were wrought upon the city over the centuries by, for example, military innovation or fire prevention measures. Like all cities, it found itself, in the course of its efforts to achieve affluence and security, in a constant state of competition and advancing modernisation. Stagnation would mean condemnation to insignificance or even downfall. To me, these facts clarify once again, particularly with respect to the extreme example of present-day Kaliningrad, the great responsibility that authors of widely available tourist travel guides hold in their role as creators of opinion.
Should one see the quest for a new identification with the city as a part of its modernisation process and the reorientation of its urban society, then developing an approach to the city's history is surely an indispensable part of this process. Not so much, however, in the sense of a melancholic yearning for the regeneration of a supposedly past, but rather in the sense of a productive debate about the current demands of 21st century urban life. For example, what would happen if the former Schlossbezirk (castle district) in Kaliningrad were rebuilt? Would the existing small marketplace be somehow combined with the reconstructed castle and the developed ruin of Dom Sovetov to create an ensemble of buildings for shopping and amusement - an urban entertainment center? Would such a reconstruction and change of usage - from a dignified castle to a shopping emporium - endow an identity-forming quality and make the city and, particularly, the reflection on its history interesting?
This question can, in view of the debates in Germany over the past few years, be understood neither from a rhetorical nor a polemical perspective. In the center of Braunschweig efforts are being made to reconstruct the shell of the old castle, damaged in the war and dismantled in 1960, as a facade for a new inner-city shopping centre. In Frankfurt am Main negotiations are underway on the reconstruction of the Thurn and Taxis Palace (also almost completely destroyed in the war) as an entrance to one of the largest German shopping malls, which would be surrounded by new-generation high-rise blocks. In contrast, would it not be just as interesting to keep the memories of such lost places alive merely through the well-prepared documentation of their history? It is the very quality of a space that can no longer be experienced - the imaginary - that provides an important stimulus for taking on the lost treasures of architecture and urban design, and that offers the unique chance to gain future potential from the causes, experiences and acceptance of loss. How much of the promise of historical experience is lost through the conditions created by the daily use of newly built, reconstructed building?
In this context, the implantation of copies from other historical and urban contexts seems, to me, to be similarly suspect. Why, for example, does Bangkok need a replica of the Parisian Champs Elysee as a boulevard in its central temple/royal district? Similarly, why does Kaliningrad require a Place de la Concorde as a substitute for a Lenin monument? Evidently, the desire for castles, palaces, squares, parks and avenues has, in the present process of globalisation, an important role in a city's discovery of its identity and image. If these dreams of past, idealised glamour are so important, one should have the courage and the creativity to design one's own castles and facilities for the future, rather than disguise the space with reconstructions or copies. Ultimately, these are only borrowed images from the history of that place or from other places in the world.
During a conference in November 2003 on the future of Kaliningrad as a European city, an aged gentleman gave an account of the city from his perspective as a resident. He thereby generated engrossing questions, including some in relation to the former Schlossplatz: On the one hand, there is a wish to see the castle reconstructed. On the other, the original rejection of Dom Sovetov-affectionately known as "Monster" - has switched to identification of the building as a city landmark. Inextricably linked with the plea to complete the building was, however, his question of what kind of reconstruction this would entail. The immediate vicinity of Dom Sovetov was as problematic for him as the enormous cost of reconstruction. Wise as Solomon, he proposed that part of the castle should be rebuilt using simple materials, as a kind of memorial setting. Just as interesting as this reflected approach to the different layers of the city's development at the Schlossplatz was his position on the legacy of urban development in the Soviet era. The marked increase in the number of open spaces brought about by wartime destruction and the consequent socialist planning, such as the opening up of the once densely-built banks at the lower tip of the Schlossteichs (castle lake), was expressly welcomed as contributing to a "homely city."
From this account and my own observations of the city, I recognised one thing above all: The chances and freedoms that the brutal fragmentation of this city, with its always surprising confrontations between historical influences and the Soviet era's unfinished large-scale projects, provides a basis upon which new ideas and approaches towards rebuilding Koenigsberg and Kaliningrad can be forged.