A quick post, but more details to be filled in over the next week…
First of all, there’ll be an architecture meetup at Hudson’s on Tuesday May 14th from 7.30pm. All welcome, come along for a beer and some archi/urban – based chat. Also, we’re hoping to show a short film by one of our number, Matt Tempest.
He describes it thus:
“Building Societies” – a short film about architecture, the 1970s and the North.
It’s also about Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, poverty, race relations, and his dad.
8 minutes 10 seconds.
Then some tours: I’ll be running a kind of social history-come-architecture tour of Saturday 25th May, working title “Riots, Ruins & Regeneration” around the Kreuzberg SO36 district. Time tbc, but will be roughly mid-afternoon start, as nice to end up at a pub…). Am doing this in association with Slow Travel Berlin, and need to sort out the price with them, more details to follow shortly.
Then a second tour, by popular demand, of some of the buildings from the International BauAustellung (IBA) of the 1980s (see this very blog for an excess of information about this subject). Friday 31st May, 2pm, meet at corner of Rudi-Dutschke-Straße and Wilhelmstraße, 15€ per person. We’ll begin in the ‘Neubau’ western end of the IBA area, working our way east (probably including a short bus hop) ending in the eastern end of Kreuzberg (nearest U-Bahn will be Schönleinstraße). Please email if you’re interested in joining me: jimhudson40 (at) gmail.com
Sven Eggers is running a tour/trip to Oranienburg to see Rimpl’s Einflughalle and other buildings, next Sunday, 5th May: http://www.buero-schwimmer.de/rimpl.html
I’ll add more detail here, and of course at Facebook: Berlin Architecture Circle shortly.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, Freya Copland has a photography exhibition at our cafe, do drop by for a coffee and have a look.
Update: runs until 11th May, when there’ll be a finissage from 7pm.
Hudson’s, Boppstraße 1, 10967 Berlin. hudsonscakes.com
Sorry, cancelled (due to sickness)
Alex Proyas’ Dark City is clearly indebted to the usual suspects of Metropolis, Bladerunner, various interpretations of Gotham City and maybe even Brazil, as well as overlapping to some degree with the Matrix and Inception. It’s less well known than these, but it’s been recommended to me more than once, so I thought we’d give it a go.
To explain it may give away much of the plot, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that it’s a kind of ‘cyber-noir’, set (seemingly) in a city of permanent night. A good cast includes Rufus Sewell.
Rarely do fictional cities include their own subway maps:
And yes, someonw really has included it in their Phd thesis:
Come along at 7.30, as we’ll start at 8pm. Hudson’s cafe, Boppstr 1, 10967
Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is a series of descriptions, really conversations, told by a fictitious Marco Polo to an invented Kublai Khan. As Marco travels round the world on the Emperor’s business, his job is not to bring back treasure or trade, but to barter in stories – the accumulated wealth of his imagination.
Here are all the cities ever dreamed of; thin cities, cities and desire, cities and the dead, cities and memory, continuous cites, cities and signs. All are named after women – Raissa, Irene, Phyillis, Chloe… ‘In Chloe, a great city, the people who move through the street are all strangers. At each encounter they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no-one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping.’
Calvino was writing about Venice – all the Venice’s collapsed, folded or vanished behind the tourist façade. Anyone who loves Venice, knows that its true life is half-glimpsed or dreamed, that the city reconfigures itself, yielding suddenly as you turn into a deserted square, snapping shut, as you walk past San Marco.
Reading Calvino reading Venice is a reminder of how often the controlled, measured world of knowledge fails us. So much of life resists the facts. Imagining Venice is imagining yourself, as Khan discovers – an unsettling exercise, but necessary, perhaps.
(from a review by Jeanette Winterson)
All welcome, so do read the book and join us for drinks, nibbles and discussion at 7.30pm at
Boppstr. 1, 10967
(corner of Schönleinstr., nearest U-Bahn Schönleinstr).
Recommended by two of our group, Soft City was written in the early 1970s when Raban lived in London, and is “a vivid, often funny portrait of metropolitan life, Soft City is part reportage, part incisive thesis, part intimate autobiography, and a much-quoted classic of the literature of the city and urban culture.”
An interesting (and much later) piece by Raban himself: http://www.jonathanraban.com/article.php?id=29
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!
On Wednesday 14th November, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion entitled “The Triumph of the City?“, a satellite event of the Battle of Ideas event earlier this month in London.
One of the other panelists, Alistair Donald, is co-editor of a recent book of essays - The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs, so I propose to do this as our book club book for the following week, by way of a tie-in.
Book club will be at 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.
Have decided to do this on Tuesday (30th October), to avoid a Wednesday clash with Halloween, but also with an event at the AdK. So a chance to see HouseLife, the documentary about the Rem Koolhaas-designed private house in the south of France.
Unlike most archi docs, HouseLife follows a week in the life of a starchitect design through the eyes of its cleaning lady, as well as a number of other people tasked with cleaning its inaccessible glazing and attempting to fix the never-ending leaks.
As usual, 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.
Sorry for the couple of reschedulings recently, meetups currently as follows:
Wednesday 24th Oct – architecture book club – Jane Jacobs’ “Death & Life of Great American Cities” (see earlier post, below).
Wednesday 31st Oct – architecture film at Hudson’s, hopefully ‘HouseLife‘ – the film about the house in Bordeaux designed by Koolhaas / OMA – RESCHEDULED - SEE LATER BLOG POST
Both events at 7.30pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.
Also, I haven’t been yet, but don’t want to miss the TU’s exhibition about the Berlin IBA of the 1987, marking its 25th anniversary - RE-VISION-IBA ’87 _ Themen für die Stadt als Wohnort
[Rescheduled from 17th Oct, sorry for any inconvenience]
I propose Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities“, which is one of those books I hear endlessly referred to but have never actually read.
I’m a little nervous that it’s now 50 years old, and may seem on the one hand a little dated, on the other a bit ‘obvious’ (although many of the issues she writes about are clearly still major urban problems. Perhaps this should be the theme of our discussion: have Jacobs’ tirade against modernist planning become a new orthodoxy (or at least the lip-service that planners and architects all have to pay)?
And I think we can add some balance by picking more recent books for future meetings. I’ve been invited to join a panel debate in November, entitled “The Triumph of the City?“, and thought we might consider a book co-written by another of the panelists, Alastair Donald – “The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs“.
As ever, all book suggestions welcome, especially for German or Berlin-based writing on architecture and urbanism that would have broad appeal (and isn’t just about the war…). Possible future book suggestions: Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Colin Rowe’s Collage Cities, and more.
7.30 pm at Hudson’s Cafe, Schönleinstr 1.