Clear, transparent, and democratic. These were the axioms of Germany’s postwar architecture. Transparency had a symbolic meaning for the country’s new public buildings. In 1961, for example, Baden-Württemberg’s new state parliament building was the first such institution to be completed after the war; all of its facades were completely glazed. Günter Behnisch’s lofty, daylit plenary assembly hall in the German Bundestag in Bonn also served as an example of an open society. Federal legislators convened there until 1999, when the government moved to Berlin.
Transparency and democracy were synonymous. In this issue we present different contemporary manifestations of transparency. The projects are located in France, Estonia, China, and Germany and range from chapels and apartment houses to museums and departmental buildings at universities; they have transparent and translucent facades, narrow operable sashes, and carefully orchestrated views to the surroundings.