Culture

Albert Speer Jr., famed architect and son of top Nazi, dies at 83

His father, Albert Speer, was the infamous chief architect behind Adolf Hitler's monumental ambitions. The son aimed to make cities sustainable. The prominent architect and urban planner died aged 83.

Albert Speer Junior died in hospital on Friday after a fall the previous day. The star architect was renowned as an environmentally-friendly urban planner who was involved in projects worldwide.

In the shadow of his Nazi father

His father and namesake was Hitler's top architect and Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Nazis.

Despite struggling to overcome his father's overwhelming shadow, Speer Junior also worked with researchers to reckon with the heavy historical burden his dad had left – he participated, for example, in the three-part docudrama, "Speer and Hitler: The Devil's Architect" (2005).

Read more:Once taboo monuments now revived in Berlin

Speer Junior, the eldest of six children, was born in Berlin in 1934. After World War II, he took on a carpentry apprenticeship and later studied architecture in Munich.

International projects

In the early 1960s he started working with an acclaimed architecture firm in Frankfurt; and in 1964 set up his own architecture and urban planning practice, Albert Speer & Partner (AS&P), in the same city.

His firm soon won several awards including the Deubau Prize in 1966. He involved sociologists in his urban planning, which was an unusual approach at the time.

AS&P now has about 200 employees worldwide, with a branch in Shanghai. His firm was involved in designing the European Central Bank building in Frankfurt and the Expo 2000 in Hanover.

Speer also designed stadiums for the Qatar 2022 football World Cup, and worked on projects in Saudi Arabia and Algeria.

'The devil's architect'

His father, dubbed "the devil's architect," designed the massive complex in Nuremberg where Nazi rallies where staged, and Hitler's chancellery in Berlin. He also prepared ambitious plans for Germany – if it had won World War II. 

He was also the only defendant at the Nuremberg trials to accept a degree of responsibility for the Nazis' crimes. Speer Sr. spent 20 years in prison and was released in 1966. His memoir, "Inside the Third Reich," also acknowledges his own responsibility. He died in 1981 at the age of 76.    

eg/sb (dpa, AFP)

 

 

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