That tricky site on Friedrichstrasse

A couple of quite poor images of a new building rising on a plot on Friedrichstrasse (taken with my phone, which I chose based on its music playing rather than its photographic capabilities – I now realise this was an error).

It’s not just any building plot though.  It’s the one where Mies famously failed to build his at-the-time quite unbuildable glass skyscraper competition entry.  The competition was something of a sham, and in the end no building at all resulted from it.

So a bit of pressure then on Mark Braun Architekten’s design for the site, which is, well, a glass skyscraper.  The immediate urge is to compare the two, but actually this is a little unfair.  First of all Braun’s building is not really a skyscraper, more of a tree-top scraper.  And it’s curvy, not pointy.  Stop me here if the complexity of architectural criticism is flying over your head.

In fact, it has more in common with one of Mies’ other unbuilt glass skyscrapers, of 1922

which… oh alright, clearly is a skyscraper.  This is a blog though, not an architectural treatise.  Maybe that Aalto vase is a better comparison, the one that doesn’t work for putting flowers in.  Herzog & de Meuron made a building from it – have a look here

Anyway, seems fair to give it a chance.  Just a shame that in reality, glass buildings end up being quite opaque, like Foster’s Willis Faber building, in the daytime.

Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 11 August 2005.



Just a very short post, to celebrate the end of my annoyance at not being able to find this site. I came across it a while back, forgot to bookmark it, and haven’t been able to find it since.

Its theme is endangered post-war architecture in Berlin – some beauties and some real beasts are featured. But don’t waste time listening to me – hurry off to (there’s a version in English too).

IBA 87 – now available in green.

Thought I’d mention this as increasingly I get my own site when Googling for IBA stuff, so seems I could become a collective point.

For those with good German, I came across a Pdf (in two bits) reviewing five ‘eco’ projects forming part of the IBA. What’s interesting about these is they’re mainly concerned with how to upgrade existing buildings – a less glamorous but more important issue, as most buildings were built quite a while ago.

They’re here and here. One of the buildings is by Germany’s best known architect/engineer Frei Otto. I’ll be off to do visits/photos shortly. Be rude not to, as they’re all pretty local (it’s a Kreuzberg thing…).




All the images are here. (although admittedly I couldn’t get a clear shot – they need to cut all those trees down….)

There’s also reference to ongoing projects ‘spawned’ by the IBA – one of which, Bernburger Strasse, has an entire reed bed water recycling plant within its Hof, which I came across by accident a while ago (photos to follow as soon as I locate them).

An older image, borrowed from someone on Flickr, of one of the Frei Otto-directed buildings (also on rauchstrasse, across the road from the Rob Krier stuff)

Have a look at some of her stuff here, which includes some snaps of Rauchstrasse, all from 1998: