after I had presented the first two Aalto sites which I visited in Sweden in Part 1 of my European Aalto Summer Tour, I will now in part 2 tell a bit more about the five sites that I visited in the German cities of Wolfsburg, Bremen and Essen. After reaching Malmö by night train from Stockholm I briefly visited Malmö and the Turning Torso, an interesting piece of modern architecture that I always wanted to see. But also in general I must say Malmö has quite a lot to offer when it comes to modern architecture. Then, I continued my journey across the Öresund bridge to Copenhagen where I changed trains again. Traveling via Fredericia and Flensburg I reached Hamburg in Germany. After a brief stop in Hamburg I continued to Lüneburg where I was staying the following two nights with an old friend of mine.
On the following day I took the train from Lüneburg towards the south to Hannover and further to the Aalto City of Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg well known for being the home of the Volkswagen factories has also three Aalto sites to offer which certainly makes it worth visiting for every Aalto fan. However, as the Aalto sites are a bit scattered around the city it is recommended to use the bus in order to reach all sites. Therefore, after leaving the train station I turned left towards the ZOB (central bus station) which is about 100 meters from the station away where I first took bus 202 towards Detmerode. I chose the day ticket for 5,10 euros which gives the most flexibility as it is valid on all lines in Wolfsburg. The bus ride to Detmeroder Markt took about 15-20 minutes.
Site No. 64: Detmerode Church and Stephanus Parish Center in Wolfsburg / Germany (1963-68)
Getting off bus 202 at Detmeroder Markt all you need is climbing the stairs right next to the bus stop and you will apparently end up right in front of the first Aalto site, the Detmerode Church and Stephanus Parish. The church has limited opening hours which can be found on the church's website.
After visiting this small but fine Aalto church I headed back towards the center of Wolfsburg taking bus 202 from the opposite site of the road. As bus 202 runs every 15 minutes on weekdays I didn't had to wait long for the next bus. After a 10 minutes ride I got off at the stop Burgwall from where I had to walk about 10 minutes to the next Aalto site.
Site No. 65: Wolfsburg Church and Parish Center in Wolfsburg / Germany (1959-62)
Located on Röntgenstraße 81 is the Church and Parish Center of Wolfsburg also known as Heilig Geist Kirche or Church of the Holy Spirit. Built in the late 1950s and completed in the early 1960s this church was undergoing a major renovation during my visit which didn't allow me to see the inside of the church. This was really a disappointment as I had seen great pictures specially of the interior, a church similar to the one in Seinäjoki but much smaller. Instead I was only able to have a look at the church from a safe distance as the renovation works were in full process.
A bit disappointed that I was not able to see the interior of the church I continued my journey towards the third Aalto site, located right in the center of Wolfsburg. I took bus 213 which departed only a few meters from the church and got off next at the stop Kunstmuseum. The ride took about 7-8 minutes. From the stop Kunstmuseum it was only a few steps until the Wolfsburg Cultural Center designed by Alvar Aalto.
Site No. 66: Wolfsburg Cultural Center in Wolfsburg / Germany (1958-62)
The Cultural Center in Wolfsburg is considered the most important creation of Alvar Aalto in Germany. Located in the very center of Wolfsburg the Cultural Center houses not only the central library of the city but also an adult education school, a section for hobbies and entertainment as well as spaces for club meetings and community events. In addition to that the building also contains some local businesses and a restaurant called Aalto.
The Cultural Center of Wolfsburg is certainly a must for every Aalto fan. The fact that almost the entire building is open to the public and that also the roof terrace can be entered makes a visit more than worthwhile as it provides a great inside into Aalto's work and his architectural philosophy.
After spending an extensive amount of time at the Cultural Center of Wolfsburg I returned to the ZOB by bus which was only a short ride from the stop called Kunstmuseum away. On my way back to Luneburg I had a brief stop at Uelzen where I had also a look at the famous Hundertwasser railway station, a building that I wanted to visit for so many years and which was certainly worth the stop.
|Bremen Central Station|
Site No. 67: Neue Vahr High-Rise Apartment House in Bremen / Germany (1958-62)
Located in the Neue Vahr suburb of Bremen stands the high-rise apartment house designed by Alvar Aalto that also carries in the name of the suburb as it is by far the highest building around. The exact address of the building is Berliner Freiheit 9 and the building is located right behind the shopping mall that is also called Berliner Freiheit. The building has a lot of similarities with one of Aalto's later work that I visited just in the beginning of this year, the Schönbühl Apartment House in Lucerne / Switzerland.
|Essen Central Station|