architectureinberlin.com, archived

From this point back is an archive of pages I wrote as architectureinberlin.com for a few years up until 2013-ish. I stopped paying for that site (someone else has it now) so have archived all the posts here. At the time of writing, I can’t access my own Flickr account (don’t ask), so it’s still called / refers to architectureinberlin.com. Has albums with a lot of Berlin archi images used here though.

I went back to London in early 2014, where I’m doing a PhD all about groups of older people doing cohousing, initially looking at the UK, but currently some groups back in Berlin who are more established.

If you’d like to get in touch, the best email is jimhudson40 (at) gmail (dot) com. I did a spot of non-Berlin related blogging over here at betaville.

Anyhoo, I’ve stripped out a lot of the stuff about events – meetups, tours, film nights, book clubs and other things that I ran, although there’s still quite a few most recent – keep scrolling down and eventually you’ll get to some content!

At its heart this was a blog about the Berlin IBA of the 1980s – twas my obsession, and I still miss exploring the many hundreds of buildings and projects.

I’ve had to use a new theme (design appearance) to avoid paying for upkeep of an archive. It’s not very intuitive – a link to archives / search function is the horizontal lines top right hand corner. Many links are dead, highlighted in weird colours etc, sorry for that. I might get around to fixing that at some point. But probably not, life is short.

Anyway, in order to overcome some of the faulty links, here’s a summary for IBA things:

IBA ‘Neubau’ projects:

Projects at Tegeler Hafen

Block 1, including O M Ungers

Zaha Hadid and Will Alsop on Stresemannstrasse

Lützowplatz – Block 234, Mario Botta, Peter Cook and others

Down the drain at Dessauerstrasse

Peter Eisenmann, Rem Koolhaas/OMA – Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie (and a follow-up here, when the OMA block got altered).

John Hejduk, Kreuzberg Tower. Also, if you’re researching or somesuch, the campaign to stop its significant alteration a few years back (in which I played a minor but I like to believe crucial role) – first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and finally, success!

Block 647 (Part 1)

Block 647 (Part 2) and canal stuff which includes a footbridge by Brenner & Tonon, and on the south side of the river, and a row of four fascinating townhouses, by Schiedhelm, Klipper & Partner; Pysall, Jensen & Stahrenberg; von Gerkan, Marg & Partner, and the fourth which I seem to have forgotten to name.

IBA Block 4 on Kochstrasse, by MBM (Barcelona) and others

Along Kochstrasse: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rob Krier and others, Ritterstrasse (north and south sites, Wohnpark am Museum)

Rob Krier and others, Rauchstrasse

Block 9, towers on Wilhelmstrasse

Frei Otto and others on Rauchstrasse

O M Ungers at Luetzowplatz (now demolished)

IBA ‘Altbau’ projects:

Heinrich-Zille-Grundschule – Werkfabrik Architekten

Schlesische Strasse 1-9, ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ by Alvaro Siza and round the corner

Kottbusserdamm, Hinrich Baller and others, and Baller on Fraenkelufer (Block 70), and also a longer winding post that covers the buildings on the north of the block, as well as the Beginnenhof on the West side. Finally, a brief new post on Wohnregal, a self-build project also part of Block 70.

Housing for Elderly, Köpenicker Strasse 190-193

IBA Block 88, Kreuzberg, by Rave/Rave

IBA Berlin Flickr group

Advertisements

Der Hinterhof in Berlin – Brennpunkt des Berliner Städtebaus (3 July 2013)

Short notice, but I’ll be giving a talk tomorrow with Prof. Harald Bodenschatz at the TU, as part of an event for the launch of the Berlin Urban Design book (see earlier post).

I’ll stick to the point, and they’ll be slides!  All details below:

Der Hinterhof in Berlin
Brennpunkt des Berliner Städtebaus

Abendveranstaltung
anlässlich des Erscheinens der zweiten, erweiterten Auflage von
* Städtebau in Berlin. Schreckbild und Vorbild für Europa
* Berlin Urban Design. A Brief History of a European City
Verlag DOM publishers

Zeit: 4. Juli 2013, 18 Uhr
Ort: orangelab, Ernst-Reuter-Platz 2

In der städtebaulichen Debatte fungierte der Hinterhof über Jahrzehnte als schlimmste Verkörperung unmenschlichen Wohnens, als finsterer steinerner Ort ohne jede Nutzungsqualität, als Hölle für aufwachsende Kinder, als Mahnmal der nicht erhaltenswerten, ja unbedingt zu beseitigenden Mietkasernenstadt. Heute ist der Hinterhof wieder rehabilitiert, als ruhiger, oft grüner Raum, dessen Struktur bei Neubauten sogar eine Wiederauferstehung feiert. Kein städtebauliches Element wurde in der jüngeren Städtebaugeschichte dermaßen verteufelt wie der Berliner Hinterhof, und kein städtebauliches Element hat ein solch atemberaubendes Comeback erlebt wie eben jener Hinterhof.

Begrüßung und Moderation
Prof. Dr. Cordelia Polinna, TU Berlin

Von der Hölle zur Idylle
Zur Karriere des Berliner Hinterhofes
Prof. Dr. Harald Bodenschatz, TU Berlin

Comment: An English Perspective on Berlin
Jim Hudson, http://www.architectureinberlin.com, Co-Übersetzer der zweiten englischen Auflage

Das Berlinbuch: Start der Reihe „Grundlagen“
Natascha Meuser, Verlag DOM publishers

Eine Veranstaltung des FG Planungs- und Architektursoziologie der TU Berlin
in Kooperation mit dem Verlag DOM publishers

Destruction at Lützowplatz – Final (4 March 2013)

A few years back (scarily, it was 2008, how time flies) I blogged about the partial demolition of an IBA block by O M Ungers.

Sadly, as noted by Isar Steve, the remainder has now come down.

While nothing is sacred, it’s depressing when something thoughtless like this happens, especially as it’s essentially replacing much needed social housing with private luxury development (if anything actually gets built at all).

Berlin Urban Design – A Short History of a European City (25 Feb 2013)

A spot of self-publicity, as the 2nd, revamped edition of Berlin Urban Design, by Harald Bodenschatz, has been published recently, English translation by me*.

I notice that amazon.co.uk has the old, out-of-date edition, so check carefully before you buy. The new (2nd) edition has additional and extended chapters, bringing the narrative up to date with various current projects, including the building of the glorious new BER airport, due to open in 2012. 2013. 2014 the 21st century**. (Edit July 2017: still hasn’t opened…)

Also July 2017: can’t now find the English version on the publisher’s site, but you can get it on evil Amazon.

412FPcTLMqL

91ZJXuWmZuL

I reviewed the original edition on this blog about three years ago, commenting that it was a good book with a poor English translation. As a consequence, I was given the chance to have a go myself, including some updated and additional chapters. Hope you like it.

The book is a short but oh-so-informative history of Berlin’s urban development, cantering quickly through its medieval roots to focus on the city’s colossal 19th century expansion, 20th century utopianism, and post-wall euphoria-to-debt story, with much more along the way. Maps and images are fantastic, text is not too shabby either.

Will bring some copies along to Wednesday’s book club.

 

* The intro was written in English by Karl Friedhelm Fischer. Original translation of 1st edition by the amazingly improbably named Sasha Disko.

** See press for details. Mayoral careers can go down as well as up.

Film Night: Berlin Babylon, Wednesday 5th December (2012)

Am very excited that Hubertus Siegert, director if the 2001 documentary film Berlin Babylon, will be joining us for a screening of his film, with a chance to chat about it afterwards.

The doc follows many of the key architects and other players in the ‘euphoric’ first wave of Berlin’s reconstruction in the late 1990s, including Renzo Piano, the late Günter Behnisch and others as they muse on the business of reconstructing huge areas of the city from scratch.

Plus it’s got a soundtrack composed by Einstürzende Neubauten, which you can’t say about many architecture documentary films. Or indeed most films.

As usual, 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.  Be punctual, as we want to have some time at the end!

Hardt-Waltherr Hämer, 1922 – 2012 (30 Sept 2012)

Sad news that Hardt-Waltherr Hämer, the father of ‘careful urban renewal’ (‘behutsamen Stadterneuerung’) and director of the Altbau half of the IBA 1987, died on Thursday.

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/kultur/zum-tod-von-hardt-waltherr-haemer-retter-von-kreuzberg/7190412.html

Image, Karl-Robert Schütze, wikicommons

Hämer was a key player in the movement against the excesses of modernist planning of the 1960s and 70s, which in Berlin reached its nadir with the redevelopment of Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg.  He took the (at the time radical) view that cities could be revived by retaining the existing built fabric and working with local residents to improve their own homes and environment.   This stood firmly against the orthodoxy of the time – the scorched earth policy of urban renewal through large scale demolition and rebuilding, including major new road networks, which was of course much more profitable for investors and contractors than Hämer’s ‘slow architecture’ approach.

His much publicised and successful project to put these ideas into practice at Chamissoplatz in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district led to his heading of the Altbau element of the International BauAustellung of the 1980s in West Berlin.  The legacy of his work here was later to be largely ignored during the redevelopment of Berlin following the fall of the Wall, with rabid gentrification, displacement of long-standing communities and the general blandifying of large parts of the city.

Various things.

Most of my time these days is running a bakery and cafe (those who know me know this has taken up… quite a lot of life recently).

Anyway, some things to do / see / things I have going on…

Firstly, this looks really good, starting this weekend, at Kraftwerk Mitte, close to the DAZ and sort-of part of the same power station complex that houses Tresor.  I think I might go along to the opening on Friday night, let me know if you fancy it and we’ll meet up.  Not sure about the English version of the title – “REALSTADT: Wishes Knocking on Reality’s Doors” (?!) and can’t grasp the numbers, but it describes itself thus:

“The selection of 250 architectural and urban models and 65 exemplary projects is based on nationwide calls including the competition «National Prize for Integrated Urban Development and Baukultur». Projects were submitted by municipalities, architectural practices, universities, initiatives and individuals. In the exhibition at Kraftwerk Mitte the projects from all over Germany are fused into a temporary city, where Bremen and Aachen, Görlitz and Ulm find themselves next to each other.”

What else? Oh yes, a couple of weeks back I went on a manic but very interesting tour of the Saxony-Anhalt IBA 2010, based around 19 cities, each with its own theme and approach.  This was less about ‘big architectural statements’ (in fact, one of the aims was to avoid these) and more about how to do something positive with the fact that these cities are shrinking.  It’s been developed over the last ten years by the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau, (Dessau-Roßlau is included) and focuses on a different series of projects within each city/town.

(Photo above looks like a brochure, but was just a random snap, oddly).

I was first drawn toward this subject a couple of years ago, via the Shrinking Cities project and exhibition.  The idea of cities shrinking on any sort of significant scale is something that feels like an alien concept, but in fact one in four cities and towns in the world are losing population.  By the middle of this century, when the global population begins to fall in absolute terms, it’s going to be an issue everywhere.  The demographics of all this fascinate me, and I need to write seriously about the whole thing soon.

Anyway, moving on…

Some images of the thing they call the Schwerbelastungskörper (my current favourite german word), which translates here as ‘Heavy Load-Bearing Body’, which says it all really.

(My wife waving while I took the photo – it makes us look like alien lifeforms.)

It stands as an unintentially profound monument to the sheer pompous ambition of the Third Reich; essentially a massive lump of concrete built to test the ability of Berlin’s marshy ground to take the massive weight of Hitler & Speer’s colossal but massively ugly design for a triumphal arch, as part of their plan to rebuild Berlin as Germania.

The planned arch would have stood at the end of a triumphal parade route, the ‘North-South Axis’ that ran up to the Great Dome, which would have straddled the Spree to the north of the Reichstag.  When I first spotted the Schwerbelastungskörper a while back, I wondered what it was doing way out near tempelhof airport.  It was then that the sheer scale of the plans hit me.  If you stand on the viewing platform that places you just above the top of this vast piece of concrete, you can look north and try and imagine a road wider than several city blocks, ending in a dome larger than, well, all sorts of huge buildings stacked on top of eachother.

It’s open two or three days a week, but also as part of  the ‘The Tag des Offenen Denkmals’ the other weekend.  I normally find the problem such ‘open house’ days, is that there’s such an overwhelming amount to see for archi minded folk such as us, that you end up feeling exhausted before it’s begun, and see none of it.  I then go on to console myself with the thought that I’ll use that year’s catalogue of all the buildings to organise small or private tours at other times of year.  Which then happen infrequently.

Anyway, this year bagan the same way, with the added confusion of this year’s Berlin Festival at Tempelhof, which, as most Berliners will know, was something of a disaster, being closed early on the first night by the police (overcrowding was blamed, over-zealous security following the Love Parade tragedy the more likely reason) and the remaining acts being compressed into a few hours on the following afternoon.  So I gave up on the second day, and went to see the Schwerbelastungskörper, which is nearby.

Right, then I was going to write about some of the many Berlin works of Hans Heinrich Müller, the architect who built so many of those fantastic brick power and transformer stations around Berlin.  But I’m too tired now, so will save this for another day.  Except to say that the first one I saw is right next to the block I live in, on the Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg, and is fantastic.

(Above photo taken in the snow in Jan 09 – the building just to the right has been replaced with something horrible, which I also need to include in a blog post soon).