Dresden's remodeled Museum of Military History, set to open on October 15, is contained by a former armory that, thanks to the work of famed architect Daniel Libeskind, now looks as though it was struck by a giant piece of glass and steel shrapnel.
The arresting facade is in keeping with the unnerving contents of the museum, which showcases Germany's history of militarism with unblinking exhibits devoted to the Third Reich and the Kaiser.
The museum has caused a minor uproar in Dresden, which was nearly burned to the ground during WWII. The armory in which the museum now sits was one of the few buildings to survive the US bombings of the city intact -- and some historically-minded locals have complained that it has now fallen victim to the design of an American starchitect.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Libeskind, who also designed One World Trade Center in New York, intended to disrupt the museum's placid facade with the 99-foot steel shard because doing so was in keeping with the violent contents of the museum. The renovation cost $85 million and has taken six years.
The museum contains a chronological history of war in Germany and now will offer exhibits that explore suffering and even military fashion. Some have complained that the museum has too much of a pacifist agenda while others have complained that it doesn't contain a section specifically devoted to the Holocaust. Libeskind, a Polish-born Jew, has not complained about the perceived oversight, perhaps because Germany has so many other WWII memorials.
"The architecture will engage the public in the deepest issue of how organized violence and military history and the fate of the city are intertwined," Libeskind said in a public statement.
The museum will likely become a popular destination for tourists eager to engage with Germany's history. With over a million people already visiting the Polish death camp Auschwitz every year, traveler's desire for a view into the darkness doesn't seem to be going anywhere.