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Past masters

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As ever with Berlin, you cannot stop history seeping out almost everywhere you look; even with the new buildings, such as Axel Schultes' new 'palace' for the Chancellor. It has been attacked on almost every front, particularly for being gigantist. On the other hand, it is highly refreshing to see so many brand new buildings in a city with a history. Unlike, say, Westminster, you get the feeling that people (and planners) are embracing the future. This applies particularly to the Sony Center, the extraordinary mingling of offices, apartments and entertainment buildings masterplanned by Helmut Jahn at Potsdamerplatz. The glass and fabric roof is designed to resemble Mount Fuji, but you don't notice that from underneath. What you do notice is the Bill Wilder bar and the Marlene Dietrich archive now housed at the complex, along with a film school. Berlin was bigger than Hollywood in its day.

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