If the denizens of The Shire had ever pursued sciences such as astrophysics or astronomy, then their observatory may well have look something like this. The Einstein Tower in the German town of Potsdam looks like something a curious Halfling might visit to explore the skies above Middle Earth but is, in fact, a perfect example of early twentieth century expressionist architecture – of the human variety. However, just like that of the Shire, its history has not always been a peaceful one.
It was designed by the architect Eric Mendelsohn (seen on the left in 1931) who at the time was among the most prolific of the modern architects working in Europe at the time. In Germany he was far better known than his contemporaries but his reputation has since been eclipsed by the likes of Le Corbusier and Van Der Rohe. We will return to Mendelsohn later, but for now let us return to one of his finest works.
There, among other things he helped the US Army build German Village. This was a replica of working class housing estates which helped the Americans gain the necessary knowledge to firebomb the real thing in to acquiescence in 1944 and 5. He died in 1953 having spent the remainder of his life on projects for Jewish communities.
The original function of the Einstein Tower had, by one of its instigators, finally been realized.