The light at the end of the tunnel

Posted on September 8, 2011 by


The question observed by walking down the corridors of the superficial ruins of the Prora’s buildings is neither the concerning its past – never happening – glory, related to its controversed history nor its uncertain future.

Ordered by Hitler as a leisure temple, offering a holiday palace for 20000 people, located along the beaches of the Baltic sea on Rügen’s island, the Prora’s complex was built from 1936 to 1939, until the beginning of the world war II. Formed by a linear accumulation of 8 similar buildings, separated by communal and disproportioned leisure rooms (ballrooms, cinemas, restaurants, swimming pools, theaters) along 4,5 km, the Prora’s complex as it was planned receive the Grand Prix de l’Architecture in the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1937.

The building always remained mostly empty, even if it was partly occupied after war by the red army by 1945, occupation proven by the contemporary observation of different layers of flowered decorative wallpapers.

Nowadays, the question of reuse occupies the local politics and the federal government willing to transform the site paradoxically stuck between architectural and historical legacy and waste land.

But by its linear and exaggerate proportion as by its global composition separating the land from the main point of interest of the area – the seaside – the Prora’s complex, even if it is able to host a city sized community, will never be a city. Nevertheless, punctual uses start to reappear through the dense infinite construction: hotel, night club, museum and a brand new youth hostel – already suffering from a lack of visitors due to the cold season coming – are settled, giving a new facade to a small part the complex but apparently without global planning.

The unsolvable question of the future of Prora’s complex is still opened, pointing on the matter of bigness in an unsecured political, economical and historical context.

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