The Beelitz Sessions - Ulli Richter and Christoph Knoch

and utopian visions, those that combined architecture and art, and other eclectic projects including those that were never built – that is, the “off modern” – are especially suited for such a synthesis, a synthesis that amounts to architecturally based cultural regeneration.12

The often-disconnected (and therefore encoded) temporal and spatial narratives of modern ruins infuse them with meaning for the present, which is at every moment the beginning of the future. Effort, insight and a willingness to confront the ghosts of the past are required to reconnect ruins and abandoned spaces with their role in human activity through time and across space. Making these reconnections is necessary to fully decode their meanings; only then can we begin to understand their significance.13 If we do not heed the resultant stories they offer to us, then we are not only poorer in terms of historical and cultural consciousness, but we neglect yet more lessons that might help us avoid repeating the errors, and the catastrophes, of last century; already, the events of the twenty-first century show little sign of deviating from the destructive patterns of the twentieth.

Those destructive patterns were no more in evidence than in the mass urban ruinscapes of World War Two, and the numerous images of
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