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Speer Jr rejects claims his Beijing Olympic masterplan echoes his father's vision for the Third Reich

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Albert Speer Jr (above - the son of Hitler's key architect - has hit back at reports suggesting his designs for Beijing's Olympic City echo his father's grandiose blueprint for Nazi Berlin.

The Sunday Times has pointed out striking similarities between Speer's Beijing Axis scheme and a boulevard designed by his father for pre-war Berlin.

But Speer Jr's Frankfurt practice - Albert Speer & Partner, (AS&P) - has strenuously rejected any connection, pointing out that the masterplan is a 'mixture' of all the competition entries for the 2008 Olympic city.

'Often abroad, especially in England, this comparison is made. Albert Speer Jr is not happy about this,' said an AS&P spokesman.

AS&P was appointed by the Chinese government in 2003 as lead architect, with a brief to transform Beijing into a 'modern megacity' using 'traditional Chinese city planning'.

Running through the heart of Speer Jr's masterplan is an 8km boulevard stretching from a new central rail terminus past Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City to the Olympic park.

The design was compared to Hitler's unfulfilled vision for the capital of the Third Reich, which included a 5km axis sweeping past ostentatious rail stations and municipal buildings.

The AS&P spokesman said: 'Beijing is not only AS&P's design, it is a mixture of all the competition entries. You cannot work out if it is more AS&P or another practice.'

The spokesman added that Speer Jr is rarely compared with his father because the two did not have any 'real' contact.

He added: 'Speer Jr started work as an architect after his father had stopped working. It is unusual for people in Germany to compare them.'

by Clive Walker

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