Freitag, 29. November 2013

Architecture in Charlottenburg: Cecilienhaus

Shortly after leaving the imposing City Hall of Charlottenburg, I decided to walk a lot direction Ernst Reuter Platz and I'd found myself once again in the front of a big building, in the same style with the city hall but with more domestic details: Cecilienhaus.
As the city hall, it has a lot of mythological Art Nouveau animals and insertions and stone carving. It was erected in two years, at the beginning of the 20th century, designed by the architects Rudolf Walter and Walter Spichendorf. It used to host the Patriotic Women's Guild of Charlottenburg and was dedicated to Princess Cecilie, whose name also bears the Cecilienhof from Potsdam, where the post-war treaty was signed. 

The name of the guild is written on the sides of the entrance to the courtyard
Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg Schwerin was considered a kind of lady Prussian Diana of her time. A tall woman - around 1.82 - with dark eyes, whose mother was the grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailova of Russia, she had a special elegance and sense of fashion, according to the memoirs of the time. Her wedding with the German Crown Prince Wilhelm, in 1905, was the main event of the year, and was attended, among others, by the Archiduc Franz Ferdinand. She had 6 children, but not the happy free life of someone who was supposed to be a Crown Princess, living mostly separated by her husband.
Cecilienhas was designed as a welfare center, with 55 beds, a gynecological center and a kitchen soup. It also hosted for a while the German Red Cross. At the first sight, it does not look as a social center, with the big terrace with column and long balcony and an interior yard leading to various offices and small businesses. Like its patron, the building ended up having a completely different social function that initially thought, but it brings a note of majesty to the blocks of flats and the predominant post-war architecture of the area. 

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