Rīga-born architect von Gerkan dies in Germany

Internationally-acclaimed architect Meinhard von Gerkan has died at the age of 87, German media reported December 1.

Described as "Germany's most famous architect" and responsible for numerous iconic buildings around the world, von Gerkan was actually born in Rīga in 1935, as recounted in this feature from our archives. Born into a Baltic German family, his first few years were spent in Latvia before his family was relocated to Poland and then Germany as part of Hitler's notorious "call home" to Baltic Germans which was a direct result of the Nazi-Soviet pact to divide eastern Europe between them. 

Even in his later years, von Gerkan retained a deep connection with his Latvian roots and was said to speak German with a definite Baltic German accent. He made several visits to Rīga following the restoration of Latvian independence and designed buildings here including the Villa Guna in Jūrmala and the eye-catching  Citadele bank building (commissioned to be the HQ of the former Parex bank) on the bank of River Daugava.

Among his best-known creations are Berlin's Tegel Airport and the Berlin Hauptbahnhof rail station.  

 

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