Buildings of character

Architecture is more than building. Buildings of architectural significance reflect the spirit of the age and the lifestyles of the builders and residents. Like the rest of Germany, Stuttgart boasts many outstanding buildings of both historical and modern note.

To name but one example, Ulm Minster, with the world‘s highest church spire at 161.53 metres. The foundation stone was laid in 1377. The spire was completed in 1890. However, Salem Abbey on Lake Constance, founded in 1134 as a Cistercian monastery, is also unique. The complex conveys the powerful impression of the affluence of the former abbey, with its unrivalled combination of Gothic dignity and Baroque elegance.

The Weissenhof Estate in the state capital itself is a flagship of modernist architecture. It was built in 1927 for the Deutsche Werkbund (German Association of Craftsmen) building exhibition. Under the creative direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 17 architects of the day from Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland created a model residential scheme for modern urban dwellers.

The new State Gallery, designed by the architects’ office of James Stirling, London, which was opened in 1984, illustrates how Modernism and tradition can exist in harmony side-by-side.

The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein ranks as one of the world's leading design museums. The exceptional museum building after a design by the Californian architect Frank Gehry is an eloquent example of the importance of architecture in the country.

However, to return to the state capital: Stuttgart‘s topography with its vineyard slopes has always stood in the way of ambitious building ventures, leading to the construction of hundreds of stairways. Totalling more than 20 kilometres in length, the ”Stäffele” is a unique feature to Stuttgart.

And there is another: the television tower. It was the world’s first television tower in a reinforced steel construction, built in record time from 1954 to 1955, and a sensation at a height of 216.61 metres. The Stuttgart television tower is still regarded today as a milestone in functional architecture.

However, those seeking a change from the utilitarian might like to cast their glaze on Schwetzing Palace Gardens. They are a jewel in the crown of 18th century European landscape gardening and architecture.