Dusk in Tegel.


Readers of a nervous disposition should look away now; there’s about to be more 1980s postmodernism.

As promised, a post with some images of housing at Tegel, with a selection of buildings forming part of the IBA 1984/1987. These are a long way from the regeneration-needy areas of Kreuzberg in southern Berlin where most of the IBA projects lie; Tegel is a much wealthier spot, and these blocks are set on the harbour opening out into the lake. In this part of the IBA the accent was perhaps more show home than urban regeneration.

The final stage of the original masterplan – buildings on the harbour island – remained on paper. My IBA source book indicates this was to be an Arts, Education and Leisure complex, although there is now new housing going up instead. The Humboldt library building immediately to the east was built though, as well as Gustav Peichl’s phosphate elimination plant across the road. I didn’t get that far mind you, as I was freezing my knackers off, frankly.

Dated po-mo? You bet. But strangely… well, you decide.

I was just struck, by the way, by how ‘American Gothic’ the pair of John Hejduk houses look (see the couple of images at the end).

By the way, it’s generally thought that the best architecture photos are those taken in bright summer sunshine.  These were taken at freezing dusk in the middle of winter. It gives them a melancholy air though, don’t you think? And as an added bonus, the landscaping of much of the site reminded me of the snow-bound topiary in Kubrick’s The Shining. Oh dear.

A much fuller set of images as usual over at Flickr.

Firstly, the mid-rise ‘courtyard’ blocks by Moore, Ruble, Yudell:

The Humboldt Library at Tegel, also by Moore, Ruble, Yudell (same architects who just finished the new American Embassy in Berlin, to much thunderous indifference). Closed that day, but interiors are interesting, from the images in the IBA guide:

Coming to a waterside area near you, soon:

Below – Moore, Ruble, Yudell (left) Poly, Steinebach, Weber (centre) plus Robert Stern (right).  Was quite cold by this point.

Poly, Steinebach, Weber (detail):

Stanley Tigerman. Really very cold by this point:

Paolo Portoghesi:

Residential terrace by Bangert, Jansen, Scholz, Schultes:

Antoine Grumbach (Freezing):

Finally, John Hejduk. See one of his other two IBA projects, widely known as the ‘Kreuzberg Tower‘, here.  Too cold after this to work the camera, so back to the U-Bahn:

Treptow Crematorium


A rather photo-heavy post, but excused by the fact that Axel Schultes’ crematorium is such a very photogenic building, particularly the interior.

Treptow crematorium, interior

Schultes is best known for his masterplan of Berlin’s government district around the Reichstag, and his practice’s designs for the Chancellory (Angela Merkel’s formal residence).  Pictures of the Chancelllory are at the end – nothing wrong with the design, which uses some of the same themes and detailing, but somehow the whole building seems vastly overscaled;  the Treptow crematorium is by far the more impressive piece of work.

Anyway, more images of the crematorium…

Treptow Crematorium, interior #2

The columns are arranged apparently randomly around a large central space, off which are four chapels.  In fact, the columns are carefully placed around a small circular fountain/pool in the centre, and subtly aligned with the features of the walls.  The light from the head of each column is daylight – a clever structural arrangement allows for the column to be attached into the side of a circular hole.  I could have spent the whole day just wandering around the place.

Treptow crematorium, central pool

The pool has an egg almost invisibly suspended just above it.  Permanent, or an Easter connection?  Not sure.  Am guessing the former, as it must be quite an operation to set up such an apparently simple thing.

Treptow Crematorium, chapel

One of the four chapels.


Treptow crematorium, detail

Curiously, gaps in the floor along the outer walls are filled with fine white sand, lit from beneath the floor level.  Any overt meaning is lost on me.

Treptow Crematorium, approach

Treptow Crematorium, rear

Treptow crematorium

Treptow crematorium

The obligatory ‘angled arty image’.

Treptow Crematorium, funerary urns

Another oddity.  Scattered around the perimeter of the building are hundreds of funerary urns and stones, presumably predating the new crematorium building.  It’s as if the whole structure had just landed on its site, scattering everything that was there.  But quite a deliberate detail, I’m guessing.

Finally, as noted at the top, some images of Schultes’ Bundeskanzleramt, taken on an open day last August (many of the government district’s buildings are open to the public once a year).  In retrospect, I have to say that it all looks more effective in the photos than I remember it on the day.  Maybe it’s the ivy?  Anyway, interesting to note (interesting to me at least) that the same blue anodized metal is used for detailing (railings, vent panels etc) throughout, as in the crematorium.  External columns also follow the same design as the crematorium’s internal space.  Although you can’t really make out the heads of these in the image – it’s that ivy.

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, rear elevation

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, view from Spree

Schultes’ master plan creates a ‘long thin’ government district which crosses the Spree twice;  the Chancellery gardens are reached across the pedestrian bridge on the left.

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, column detail

They need to keep that trimmed back…  (you can make out Hugh Stubbins’ Haus der Kulturen der Welt in the background). 

Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, detail

Note the blue metal detailing – not 100% sure that I like the effect.  But the ivy looks good.