The publication of Werner Hegemann’s great work, Berlin, City of Stone
, is a vital contribution to Spanish urban culture, and good news for those devoted to the study and enjoyment of the city.
Many things justify this book. This is the first Spanish translation of a book published in 1930; a long time which does not diminish the currency of a great discourse on the city in general and on Berlin itself, which evolved from a ‘city of barracks’ during the reign of Frederick II to the Great Berlin envisioned in 1930, with Hegemann’s work as conceptual, social, and political base. Secondly, we have to highlight the personality of the author, prototype of the Central European intellectual with a multidisciplinary education, engaged in a continuous journey through universities of the world. A training which Hegemann would enrich by participating in events where modern urbanism germinated. Cities, people, and events he reflected on, and which formed the cultural baggage that enabled him to write on the city of stone it was his lot to live.
The new publication gives us an important 1930 article of Walter Benjamin as an epilogue. In addition there is the well documented, didactic foreword by Ángel Martín Ramos, which with a short biography of Hegemann provides a synthesis of Berlin, City of Stone
, relating the author’s reflections to the nascent movement of European urbanism. The book fills a void in knowledge about urban planning in the Germany preceding World War II
La Berlín de piedra
Fundación Esteyco, Madrid, 2016
Arquitectura Viva 197