KARLSRUHE (DE) - With its bronze frames, storey-high walnut doors, a hall finished in olive wood and Kirchheimer shell limestone on the floors, this is an architecture that leaves one in no doubt about its timeless luxury and solidity. In keeping with this image, the facades are clad with French limestone (Magny Le Louvre). It is typical of the solidity of this architecture by Weinmuller Architekten that the facades do not consist of the usual thin slices of stone but of solid, stacked blocks.
This is also an architecture that fits in well both with the early-18th-century baroque ideal plan of Karlsruhe and with the classicism that prevailed around 1800 when much of the architectural elaboration of the ideal plan occurred. That simple classicism was so much a part of Karlsruhe's identity that when it came to repairing the war-time damage after 1945, a large part of the reconstruction was done in a modernist-classicist idiom.
The new L-Bank building, erected on the last undeveloped plot in the baroque town plan, continues this tradition with a 21st-century interpretation of Karlsruhe classicism. This visual harmony was the overt intention of Weinmiller Architekten who have said that they did not want to make a prima donna but a choir boy. And in this they have succeeded: the building slips dutifully and seamlessly into a context in which any attempt to stand out would be discordant and intrusive. (Hans Ibelings)