IBA Block 4, Kochstrasse

This is a block of buildings that I photographed as I wandered about one day, not knowing they were part of the IBA.  But they looked really interesting, and I love the enclosed space – far too big to be called a ‘hof’, almost a park in fact.  They’re next door to the Topography of Terror site, and worth a look if you’re there.

It’s also of particular interest in that the long north side of the block faces onto Zimmerstrasse, where the Berlin wall ran along the block’s full length. The street itself was out of bounds in the ‘death strip’, so the building plan allows for a setback from the wall line and a narrow garden.

Who would have thought I’d develop such an illicit taste fo 1980s postmodernism?  Perhaps counselling may help…

Buildings/architects/images then:

View from Kochstrasse, showing the block by Josep Martorell, Oriol Bohigas, David Mackay – nos 68-73. It gives no clues as to the rear elevations and space behind.  The facade actually incorporates three blocks in between, by Faller, Muschalek and Schröder, nos 9, 11 and 13, although unfortunately my images don’t show these very well.

On the same block and by the same architects, mainly hidden behind Koolhaus/OMA’s block on Friedrichstrasse, is Kochstrasse 65/Zimmerstrasse 19 (it runs through to the north side of the block). I like this – it’s odd balcony caught my eye while I was standing at the bus stop opposite, hence I have the image.

Below are the blocks on Wilhelmstrasse, facing the Topography of Terror site, starting with the corner site, Kochstrasse 75/Wilhelmstrasse 40, by Jean Flemming, Burkhard Grasshorn, Aldo Licker (you can see the corner of Aldo Rossi’s block on the right).  The small vent protusions are part of the original design, but the block runs the risk of being mistaken for a 1930s modernist factory with kitchen boiler vents punched through when they converted it to flats.  Which is a shame, as it warrants closer inspection:

…then the centre block, forming a gateway into the central space (‘listed as ‘the Torhaus’), Wilhelmstrasse 41-42, by Pfeiffer, Ellermann:

with the block to the left by Joachim & Margot Schürmann, which I didn’t get a good shot of. It’s Wilhelmstrasse 42A/ Zimmerstrasse 20, by the way.

Next Zimmerstrasse 2-9, by Fin Bartels and Christoph Schmidt-Ott, images show some of the staircases:

But it’s the fantastic internal courtyard space that struck me. Images show mainly the rear of the blocks on Kochstrasse; so very different to their street frontages.  And well integrated in a masterplan; there are two different buildings/architects in the image below:

And a remnant of the site’s past…


2 thoughts on “IBA Block 4, Kochstrasse

  1. C’est effectivement un bloc fantastique dont la coordination a été confiée à Fin Bartels et Christoph Schmidt-Ott. Cet ensemble résidentiel était calé au nord sur Zimmerstrasse partagée en long par le mur. Ce qui est remarquable, c’est la cohérence d’ensemble malgré ou à cause de la différentiation de l’expression architecturale. J’ai commencer à travailler dans l’agence coordinatrice alors que le chantier se terminait par la construction de la file de logement du côté de Zimmerstrasse.

    • Thanks! Somehow I missed this comment at the time you posted, hope you’re around and still interested. Jim

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