10 May '17 — Maybe it's not necessary
I've always believed reconstructing old buildings was the right thing. Preserving heritage sounds so good and worthwhile...why not? Plus, it's in line with being resourceful, sustainable and socially conscious.
In Europe, there are a ton of old buildings. More often than not, the buildings require more money to renovate than to build anew.
But I've continued to hold the belief that it's better to reconstruct and rebuild.
A visit to Schloss Friedrichsfelde convinced me otherwise.
Reconstruction and renovation takes time and money, which most projects don't get. Schloss Friedrichsfelde was lucky to have funds, received from admissions after turning the baroque gardens into animal pens (similar to a zoo but more like a park with lots of trees and animals dispersed within). With the cash they restored the mansion.
I saw a few images of the building post war. The Soviets had taken over and the building was crumbling, at one point, the building was missing a roof. Now, it's immaculate, beautifully restored with a fresh coat of paint.
Walking in, I saw what became of the heritage site.
You might go in and first gasp at the painted walls and opulent columns, but one thing you can't avoid for long are the cocktail tables. So many high round tables meant for holding drinks and hor d'oeuvre are pushed aside. They're wrapped in a yellowy satin, off-white tablecloth.
It seems like a perfect place to host a motivational speaker or to run a company event.
There were several signs advertising the place for weddings and events.
Despite how pretty the walls and architecture were, there was no getting away from identifying the space as first and foremost an event space. An empty and souless space with no permanent purpose. The cocktail tables mock it's relevancy, it's mere existence.
Although I enjoyed the glamour of the oppulent details, it was eye opening to see an example of a heritage site preserved in a way that didn't honor the heritage. The awkwardness of its existence asked: 'what was the point of all this?'