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Our guest on 06.07.2008

Meinhard von Gerkan, Star Architect

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Meinhard von Gerkan is an internationally renowned architect and the co-founder and partner of the Hamburg-based office "Gerkan, Marg und Partner". He has had a defining influence on contemporary architecture.

Meinhard von Gerkan was born in Riga in 1935 to a Baltic-German family. His father was killed in action during the Second World War, and his mother died died shortly after the war while fleeing west - with von Gerkan then growing up in foster care in Hamburg. After graduating in architecture in 1964, he founded an office with Volkwin Marg - which to this day bears the name "von Gerkan, Marg und Partner" (GMP). The firm soon won a range of competitions - including the design for West Berlin's Tegel airport. GMP came to symbolise the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that typified the economic miracle in West Germany. The partners went on to win the contracts for airport extensions in Hamburg and Stuttgart, Berlin's new main railway station and also the revamping of the city's Olympic stadium. Among GMP's current projects is Lingang New City in China - a completely new community accommodating some 800,000 people.

Von Gerkan was also a professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig - his alma mater - between 1974 and 2002.

GMP have collected over 340 national and international competition accolades, including 140 first prizes.

In 2005 Meinhard von Gerkan and Volkwin Marg were honoured for their life's work with an award from the association of German architects. In the same year, von Gerkan received an honorary doctorate from the Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan.

He has also published a series of books and essays on architecture in both professional journals and newspapers.

Presenter Peter Craven talks to Meinhard von Gerkan about typical German architecture, his German-Baltic roots and his passion for fine cuisine.

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