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An Arrival to the Architecture of Metz August 25, 2010

Posted by justinkeating in Travel Log.
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After a 10 hour flight, several hours in the Frankfurt Airport, and a 3 hour bus ride, I joined the rest of my GTL class in the Technopole outside the city of Metz, France. Ranked by the New York Times as one of the Top 40 places to visit in the world, the French city, with a long history of German influence, looks to be a fantastic home base for a summer of study and travel.

The day after my arrival in Metz we took a short bus ride to the cites central plaza known as the Place de Armes where we stood surrounded by City Hall and the Tourism Office, constructed in an unique orange stone for which Metz is known, and adjacent to the Cathedral of Metz, a towering gothic structure that took some 300 years to complete. As we made our way through the streets I noticed that Metz is home to a mishmash of architectural layers, witnessing its millennium of history at the crossroad of different cultures. Serving as testament to its Roman origins, sections of the ancient roman walls remain to this day, marked by their simple lines that stand in contrast to the more ornate sections of the city, such as the gothic Cathedral, Renaissance government buildings, and an interesting German Imperial District known to the French as Ville Nouvelle (New City) in which Emperor Wilhelm II decided to “germanify” the city with a mix of Renaissance and neo-Classical dotted with elements of art neuvou, art deco, Alsatian and mock-Bavarian styles to create some truly stunning structures. Also a testament to the cities numerous shifts between French and German hands, the French cemetery that lies between GTL and the city center was intentionally left to fall into ruin after German occupation and now stands as an eerie reminder of the tension that existed for so long between the two countries.

The cities suburbs, particularly the Technopole where Georgia Tech – Lorraine is located, and the new Centre Pompidou Metz, a modern art museum and an affiliate of the Centre Pompidou Paris that examines what makes art “art”, mark the cities architectural entrance into the 21st century.

 

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