Hinrich and Inken Baller, Winterfeldtplatz

You remember Hinrich and Inken?  The husband-and-wife team who did the apartments on Fraenkelufer for the IBA – you can see an earlier post on it here.

I’ve said before that I really like the Fraenkelufer buildings; the mix of new and old, the arrangement around the inner courtyard and the pedestrian routes into it.  Many people don’t like them though*, with major problems such as leaky roofs often quoted.

Anyway, across town is another (non-IBA) block by the Ballers, on Winterfeldtplatz.  Crap camera-phone photos again as I’d actually gone shopping at the market with my better half – she wasn’t in an ‘archiwandering’ mood, so I had to capture the images secretly, while holding bags of carrots.

 

Surprisingly, given the stormy day, and my poor quality camera, these photos are quite flattering; the overall effect, in situ, is perhaps just a very 1980s block of flats.  I say this because a friend who was with us, who is generally neutral on such matters, described them as ‘just another dodgy 1980s block of flats’.

And I had to agree; unlike Fraenkelufer, I don’t think these work.  This is simply a single block , which looks much cheaper, with spindly, tacky looking balcony rails, and horizontal concrete balcony floors.  These don’t curve upwards like those at Fraenkelufer, which makes the facades less interesting.  Although on the plus side, they become useable space, and don’t direct rainwater into your flat.

There’s a school and pool complex just down the road (photos another time, when I have fewer carrots) also by the Ballers and to a similar aesthetic, although it goes quite mad with an exuberance of overhanging balconies and ‘organic’ metalwork detailing.

Still, back with the apartment building, it’s fair to say that they’re very much ‘of their time’ and I’d bet that the penthouse level if pretty sought after (although was it Picasso who, when living in Paris, claimed that he always had lunch in teh Eiffel Toer as it was the only place in the city where you couldn’t see the Eiffel Tower… ?).

An interesting comment (and a better photo) on someone’s Flickr site here by the way.

 

*When I say many people, I mean some friends in my block.  Although they are architects, and remember the buildings when they were new.

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