This is another really amazing physical model done by Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler’s chief architect. The model represents Welthauptstadt Germania (or “World Capitol Germany” in English). More specifically, it represents Hitler and Speer’s plan for the revitalization of Berlin as a world superpower after their planned victory of the Second World War.
Thankfully for all of us, that never really worked out and subsequently neither did their plan for Berlin. Despite that, however, the aesthetics and the detail represented in this physical model are amazing; representing the often grotesque juxtaposition of Greek, Roman, and Georgian mannerisms. If one looks closely at the perspectives above, one recognizes the 1936 Olympic Stadium with its direct references to the Circus Maximus in Rome, as well as Chancellory which was destroyed by the Soviets in 1945. All other buildings are assumed to be proposed structures.
Among these proposed structures is the Avenue of Splendors, an axial boulevard leading up to the Volkshalle (the capital building designed personally by Hitler with a planned of over four-hundred thousand). According to Wikipedia, “At the northern end of the avenue on the site of the Königsplatz (now the Platz der Republik) there was to be a large open forum known as Großer Platz with an area of around 350,000 square metres. This square was to be surrounded by the grandest buildings of all, with the Führer’s palace on the west side on the site of the former Kroll Opera House, the 1894 Reichstag Building on the east side and the third Reich Chancellery and high command of the German Army on the south side (on either side of the square’s entrance from the Avenue of Splendours). On the north side of the plaza, straddling the River Spree, Speer planned to build the centrepiece of the new Berlin, an enormous domed building, the Volkshalle (people’s hall), designed by Hitler himself. It would still remain the largest enclosed space in the world had it been built. Although war came before work could begin, all the necessary land was acquired, and the engineering plans were worked out. The building would have been over 200 metres high and 250 metres in diameter, sixteen times larger than the dome of St. Peter’s.
According to Time Magazine in a 2008 article entitled How Hitler Would Have Reshaped Berlin (by Stephanie Kirchner), the model is currently on travelling exhibit. The author also explains: “The exhibition sheds a new light on Speer’s role — the architect is presented not only as a profiteer, but also an active agent in the resettlement scheme. “Hitler in Speer found a young and enthusiastic executor of his plans,” says Keil. Speer and his co-workers at the Generalbauinspektion, the agency in charge of the project, were well aware of the sheer madness of the enterprise. In a series of caricatures, which used to adorn Speer’s office walls and are on display at the Berlin exhibition for the first time, Berlin is presented as one huge construction site. In one of the drawings, an oversized building crane accidentally picks up the Reichstag. Another one shows a completely dug-up city center with the caption: ‘When it all begins, it will be no laughing matter for pedestrians.’ ‘It was OK to poke fun at the project internally,’ says Keil, “but if any of that would have leaked to the outside, somebody would have been in big trouble.’”