Long Boats and Underground Vaults by the River Charles

By Alex Marshall
For The Powhatan Review
November 1999

Crewing is the ultimate wasp sport. It requires patience, diligence and years of work at the simple task of pulling oars through water, as you park your butt in the bottom of a tiny slivered almond of a boat. Crew is not flashy. There is no crew equivalent of passing the ball behind your back on your way to a slam dunk over the head of a surprised defender. No, crew is all about steady effort for the sake of some future reward that may never come.

A New City Rises From Berlin’s No-Man’s Land

By Alex Marshall and Sally Young
Globe Correspondents

BERLIN – The guard tower and wooden sign over the street warning ”You Are Now Leaving The American Sector!” were still there, as was the narrow bridge over a ravine, where prisoners, dissidents, and spies were exchanged. But beyond these carefully preserved memorials to another time and era, it was difficult to distinguish the famous Checkpoint Charlie from any other intersection in this bustling city. Now, what was once a bleak no-man’s land has been recarved into streets and blocks. And on these streets, new buildings have risen up, many of them designed by the best, or at least the most famous, architects on the planet. Within a two-block radius of Checkpoint Charlie, Aldo Rossi, Philip Johnson, Rem Koolhaas, and Peter Eisenman have all tried their hand. Widen that circle further, and you encounter buildings by Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rafael Moneo, and Richard Rogers. We had traveled to the new Berlin to see this new city being remade, the choices its leaders faced, the ones they made correctly, the ones that might be regretted in future years. We were the Loeb Fellowship, all 13 of us, from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.