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Published on Jun 30, 2013
In his forbidding dark suit and heavy-framed sunglasses, declaiming his artfully wrought texts to camera with the ominous certainty of a hanging judge, Jonathan Meades is one of TV's most unmistakable presences. While it may be lamentable that we don't see him more often, it's miraculous, in the current climate, that we see him at all. http://www.theartsdesk.com/tv/intervi...
Jonathan Meades explores the architecture of Nazi Germany, from its holiday camps to its concentration camps. Jonathan Meades documentary on the role of architecture and urban planning in entrenching the Nazi regime and perpetuating its ideology. Filmed in 1994 this documentary analyses how the Nazi party used buildings as a crucial part of its project to build a new society. Going beyond the obvious obligatory Swastika's and explicitly propagandistic statues and murals to the very brickwork from holiday camps to the schools that trained doctors who would carry out experiments in the extermination camps. Nazi architecture, as Meades sees it, is middlebrow: neoclassical or neo-vernacular, desperate not to be highbrow and cosmopolitan like modernism, but equally keen to avoid commercial kitsch. Meades is evidently bored by the built legacy of the Third Reich, the sheer banality and mediocrity of its designers, and is keen to remind us that many New Urbanists, such as Léon Krier, the designer of Poundbury, have a sideline in special pleading for Albert Speer. The architecture is insufferable in its pretension to Gemütlichkeit and moral gravity. 'Nothing that the supposedly decadent cities threw up has ever compared in evil to what happened in the small towns and boondocks of Germany,' he writes. 'The Volkisch movement politicised thatch and beams just as the Nazis' Social Darwinism politicised biology and genetics.' LOCATIONS: Alt Rehse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany Dachau, Bavaria, Germany Hamburg, Germany Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany Prora, Rügen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany Ravensbrück, Brandenburg, Germany Wewelsburg Castle, North Rhine - Westphalia, Germany Zugspitze, Bavaria, Germany