While Julia has been busy discovering really neat bookstores and open-air libraries in NYC I’ve had the chance to do some research in several different libraries in Munich AND also in Innsbruck, Austria!
Originally I had planned on taking photos of the interior of the libraries. But since I always felt like a secret agent whilst doing so, I’ve decided to not publish these pictures due to legal reasons.
Enough said! Today I present you the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI) in Munich! It is the most important place of research in the field of art history in all of Germany.
The ZI-building is heavy on German history: during WW II the building was used as an administration building by the National Socialist Party. Once the war was over, it functioned as the central art collecting point where Nazi-looted art was collected and restituted. Today, the building holds the ZI, the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (a collection of prints, drawing, and engravings), and the sculpture gallery.
I enjoy working in the ZI not only because of its vast collection of books but also because you feel like you’re in the inside of a huge vessel: wood paneling on the walls, high ceilings, corkscrew stairs…and having to turn wheels (steering wheels?! 🙂 ) in order to access the books in the shelves.
The architect, Paul Ludwig Troost, fit out many ships so one can find a reason for the nautical feeling one is surrounded by whilst in the main reading room. However, Troost isn’t primarily known for the interior décor of ships – Hitler was a great admirer of his restrained and rather modern architecture and Troost therefore was assigned several projects.
To be honest, it does at times feel odd to be working in a building fraught with such a dark history; however, awareness for the past is crucial and so the ZI forms a kind of monument for never letting such misanthropic history happen again.