Sharing Heritage : The Saar State and its Embassy : Bridge to Europe 1945 – 1955

Eva Mendgen, „Mémoire architecturale au miroir de la France et de l’Allemagne. L’ancienne ambassade de France en Sarre 1945 – 1955 / 2018 », In Situ (En ligne), 38/2019, mis en ligne le 15 février 2019

Perhaps the most iconic building to demonstrate the idealistic origins and the cultural components of the European Coal and Steel Communities is the former French Embassy in Saarbrücken. The building was conceived and built between 1950 and 1955 by the wellknown French architect and urbanist Georges-Henri Pingusson and his two local associates Bernhard Schultheis and Hans Bert Baur. At the time the Saarland was an independent state which, from 1950, had the agenda to unify the Coal and Steel industries and communities. Pingusson had come to Saarbrücken in October 1945. He was in charge of the regional development plan for the Saar and the reconstruction and modernization of Saarbrücken. In Pingusson’s vision, the former singular state was transformed into a united association of all the border countries. He recommended corresponding development plans for neighboring Lorraine and Luxemburg. Having prepared the ground for Saarbrücken to become the capital of the Community of Coal and Steel, the building of the new French embassy set the esthetic and cultural standards at this crossroad of Europe.

Today the Saarland belongs to the Federal Republic of Germany, but it is also part of the “Greater Region Saarland-Lorraine-Luxemb(o)urg-Rheinland-Pfalz-Wallonie(n)”.

From the perspective of this multinational region, the aspect of “shared” or “sharing” heritage becomes of the utmost importance. The Saar is no longer a steel and coal producing district, nor are her neighbours. The French Embassy no longer exists for its original purpose and, although a protected heritage site since 1985, parts of the building are threatened by decay and potential demolition. Valid arguments for its preservation require fundamental cross-border research and cooperation, ideally along the lines of the comparative approach long promoted by the European University of the Saarland. It is time to put into practice a pluralistic perspective free from propaganda to enable the rehabilitation not only of this particular building but also the cultural heritage of the entire Greater Region

Au centre de l’Europe. Im Reich der Mitte. Update 2.1

Publication project, call for contributions

Greater Region Saar-Lorraine-Luxemburg-Rhineland-Palatinate-Wallonia, a unique cultural landscape

“The realm in the center”

Today’s process of European unification allows us to understand and recognize the Great(er) Region of Saarland-Lorraine-Luxemburg-Rheinland-Pfalz-Wallonia as a highly interesting historic landscape in its own right; as an international space, not only economic and political, but also of its own cultural interactions. It is a region of united cultural communities waiting to be understood, as it stands as a role model for all European and World border regions. It has combined under one name and one vision, since the 1990s, the German-French-Belgian-Luxembourg border areas.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch. After two successful books about the Greater Region and its cultural community a third one is planned: