Nazi architecture was a part of the era’s ideology, aiming to reinforce the atmosphere of military dominance and concurring strength. The “Nazi-style” was characterized by neoclassicism in stand-alone buildings, and a utilitarian approach for the industrial and military complexes. The architecture and urban planning of the period were characterized by somewhat conflicting goals. On one hand, the streets of the cities appeared conforming and uniform, creating the impression of a united Germany. On the other hand, Hitler was extremely passionate about the idea of the grandiose and the overshadowing, dreaming, according to the memoirs of his architect Albert Speer, to construct the largest building in the world.
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“Always the biggest” seemed to have been the motto of Hitler’s relationship with architecture, and most of the projects commissioned by him were impressive purely due to their size. People’s Hall, also known as Volkshalle, had an altitude of 290 meters and could allow 180 000 people to gather inside. It was a truly monumental and towering construction, that Hitler perceived as the heart of the future Germanic empire. Other examples of the notable buildings of the era include the 1935 Ehrentempel and the 1939 New Reich Chancellery. Both of these are characterized by their allusions to Ancient Greek architecture, with Ehrentempel blatantly imitating the famous Parthenon.
It is evident that in their architecture, the Nazis were aiming to uphold the image of power and regality. The allusions to ancient cultures and the massive scale of most of the stand-alone buildings were serving the purpose of artificially supporting the idea of Germans being “the chosen race”. At the same time, across the more ordinary and utility-based buildings, the architects followed the motto “form follows structure”, creating the impression of practicality and similarity.