Title page for ETD etd-12122011-090342

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Crasselt, Jost
URN etd-12122011-090342
Title Transmitting Culture and Language - A New German Cultural Institute for Washington D.C.
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Piedmont-Palladino, Susan C. Committee Chair
Feuerstein, Marcia F. Committee Member
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
  • Culture
  • Language
  • Institute
  • German
  • Representation
  • Threshold
Date of Defense 2011-09-14
Availability restricted
Making the decision to live abroad means departing from a known culture and language. I know the culture and language of my home country Germany, and living here makes it easy to learn the culture and language of the United States. But for one who does not have the opportunity to live abroad learning the culture and language of a foreign country is a challenge.

Germany is relatively well represented in Washington D.C.: the German embassy and its information center on Foxhall Road, the Goethe-Institut on 7th Street NW, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies on Massachusetts Avenue, and the German Historical Society on New Hampshire Avenue. But as one can see from the list the institutes are spread throughout the city.

The Goethe-Institut is the most public institution, and I therefore chose it to be the main user of the planned German Cultural Center. I am seeking to bring all of the named institutions together into one building, with the exception of the embassy itself. Through this effort a center of language and culture will be made, where one can go to learn and experience a foreign country within another country.

The institutions themselves will profit from the collaboration with each other, minimizing their financial obligations and at the same time profiting from the collaboration with the other institutes.

This thesis project seeks to prove that it is possible to represent a country with its language and culture through a good building. Germany has much more to offer than the typical cliches and the New German Cultural Institute will be the place to experience this other side of the country.

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