Dreaming of Walter Benjamin on Walter Benjamin Platz

Roger Gathman in Book and Film Globe:

When I got to Walter Benjamin Platz, I figured I was in the wrong place. It wasn’t that I was lost, or had failed to follow the map correctly—it was that the place was wrong.

What I saw before me was a broad square, marked on both ends by small concrete posts meant to impede any motorized traffic, with smooth square slabs of stone paving and a tame trickle of a fountain extending to two facing buildings that defined the Platz. These mixed use buildings, which went up eight stories, had a sleek, grayish look. On the rez-de-chausséethere was a colonnade, with shops and restaurants. It was all as bland and corporate as a focus group.  It wasn’t that there was anything noxious about this site—but it had the look of a space that would never be missed if it were, for some reason, to be utterly changed. Above all, it said nothing about Walter Benjamin, the great explorer of the city as labyrinth, the theorist of the private life of public spaces, one of the founding spirits of psychogeography. There were definitely no minotaurs here.

More here.