Brückner & Brückner Architekten

Meeting place

nr Bärnau, German-Czech border

December 2003
The Meeting Place is on the German/Czech border where the Oberpfälzer Wald and the Cesky Les Forest meet in the gentle range of hills separating the two countries. The little building is intended to be both a reminder and a gesture of reconciliation, and its orthogonal lines suddenly emerge out of a meadow. As you approach, it seems to be just a wall, part of the Iron Curtain.
But when you get closer, you realize that it is two walls, parallel, but staggered in plan with a little room in-between. One of the walls is made of Upper Palatinate granite, and the other of larch from Bohemia. Stiffened by vertical steel stanchions at each end, the walls are formed from standard elements 3m long, 150mm wide and 50mm high. Interspersed with the stone and wood, are integral layers of glass, which filters light to a glowing green. The glass layers become increasingly frequent and deep as the building rises, so it becomes more luminous and transparent as it approaches the sky.
The roof, where larch and granite meet, is made up of alternate strips of opacity and glass, which in ordinary daylight allows the interior to be light enough to read the two inscriptions (in Czech and German) on each side of the central table. In sunlight, striated shadows are thrown into the room a reminiscence of the periods of national imprisonment of both countries? Externally, the walls are rough, inside they are smooth. The projecting parts of the two walls form eastward and westward places of shelter.
The architects say that they intend to confuse visitors so that they will become involved and indeed reconciled. Whether this works or not, the jury was much impressed by the power and execution of the small place.

Brückner & Brückner Architekten, Tirschenreuth
Project team
Christian Brückner, Peter Brückner
Christian Brückner, 1, 2, 3
André Mühling, 4, 5
Wolf Kipper, 6, 7