Destruction at Lützowplatz – Final

2013.03.04

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).

Categories : 1980s   O M Ungers

Hejduk tower, before and after. And then after again.

2010.07.30

A couple of ‘before and after’ shots of the tower, the latter with the reinstated original colour scheme, agreement on which was reached after much (really, much) experimentation and discussion between our campaign group (Robert, Matthias and Florian), contact architect for the original building and the building owner’s architect.

If all this (understandably) means nothing whatsoever to you, a bit of history, in order: here, here, here, here, here, here, here and finally, news of the successful outcome  here.

1

2

Yes, I know the first one looks newer, but eyebrows to be restored soon.

http://www.architectureinberlin.com/?p=1257here
Categories : 1980s   John Hejduk

IBA mini-tour, Saturday 29th May

2010.05.26

UPDATE: Have had a really positive response for this, and only a couple of places left (numbers limited as we’re trooping into people’s apartments). First come first served!

(Not very) advanced notice that this saturday, a few of our group will be meeting up to look at some of the IBA buildings on Kochstrasse, with some access to flats and possibly including John Hejduk’s ‘Kreuzberg Tower’ which is just a block away.  It’s not an ‘official’ tour, since I’m leading it – more a test run to see if it might be worth running ‘proper’ tours of parts of the IBA and other lesser-known Berlin architecture.

For those who don’t know (despite my obsessive blogging on the subject, see right hand column!) the Berlin IBA, an international building exhibition exhibition of the 1980s, produced a huge quantity and variation of buildings, mainly housing, in a swathe running from south Tiergarten to the far end of Kreuzberg. There’s way too much to cover in a day, or a month, but the area around Checkpoint Charlie is particularly interesting, with designs by OMA, Peter Eisenmann, MBM, Aldo Rossi, and on the block to the south, John Hejduk’s now fabled tower.

Meet at 11am on the corner of Kochstrasse and Wilhelmstrasse at 11am. Let me know if you fancy coming: jimhudson40 (at) googlemail.com.  Probably a couple of hours, then maybe a spot of lunch/drinks somewhere.

Our informal architecture group* has been on a few tours now, including the new building on Linienstrasse, the Dutch embassy and the Shellhaus.  I dismally failed to write about the Shellhaus visit, but my fellow archi-groupie has, over at Nicht Winken! In der Großstadt! In fact she’s posting far more than me, and I wouldn’t blame regular readers for migrating over there.  In my favour, I can claim that I was braver (well alright, taller) when leaning out over the staircase shaft. Although, as is often the case, I seem to have put my foot in it.

*the group is informal, not necessarily the architecture

Rem(oved)

2010.05.12

It’s the best title I could come up with, even though someone pointed out in a comment on an earlier post that the building I’m writing about here was designed not by Mr Koolhaas, but by his partner Elia Zengehlis, along with Matthias Sauerbruch and others, as OMA.

Anyway, last week, a new chum (who lives in the MBM-designed block behind it) showed me some ongoing alterations to the block for a new McDonalds.  Residents are apparently concernd that a terrace being constructed to the full width of the Scary Burger Clown’s frontage will place its ‘al fresco diners’ (heavy-petting burger-wielding Italian teenagers) rather close to the windows of first floor residents.  Not in any sense a good thing, but I guess architecturally neutral, as McD’s will replace a line of previous fast food outlets which in turn replaced the open space for vehicle turning that originally occupied the ground level.

This building, as regular readers might guess, was built as part of the IBA housing exhibition of 1987.

But of more concern form an architectural point of view is what seems to be the creation of a separate small commercial unit, formed by cutting a chunk out of the ground floor entrance to the apartments:

The once spacious entrance lobby is now reduced down to a narrow corridor, with the central column facing cut away and a ceiling for the commercial space inserted:

So another little piece of built history from this period eroded, a piece of architecture thoughtlessly screwed.  Did this work get planning consent?  Did anyone care?  We’ll be finding out shortly.

Success! And more…

2010.04.24

It’s like a sort of IBA-related Christmas, Easter and birthday come at once. Early last week, a Senate Baukollegium was held, where our ‘campaign team’ was able to put its case to Senate Building Director Frau Regula Lüscher, the Mayor of Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain and others.  Robert Slinger, Florian Köhl and Matthias Reese represented the campaign.

The result, officially announced via an interview with Frau Lüscher in today’s Morgenpost, is that the building is to be restored to its original design, including its distinctive colour scheme, which is fantastic news in itself.  But in addition, the borough of Kreuzberg is keen to see the area in front of the tower properly landscaped, and even to see Hejduk’s designs for two small pavilions, Studio for the painter, and Studio for the musician, built on the site.  Both formed part of the original design, and were intended to flank the entrance route to the tower – they were actually constructed for the 1987 IBA exhibition in the Martin Gropius Bau, but are assumed not to have survived.  Images of all this to be added here shortly, in the meantime, a glimpse of the Musician from beneath the Painter (I think) at the exhibition:

Frau Lüscher goes on to say in the interview that although Denkmalschutz (statutory heritage protection) is not the right tool for protecting IBA buildings, a formal procedure is to be established for building owners proposing alterations.

Finally, links to a couple of previous Morgenpost pieces, one on the future of the IBA buildings, the other an interview with Renata Hejduk.  If you have problems reading the full articles, you can usually just google the complete headline, which allows you to bypass the charging system. Oddly.

And finally finally, I notice someone has picked out the Kreuzberg Tower complex on one of the Google-earth-bird’s-eye-view-type things, here.  Interestingly, the building immediately to the west, with a semicircular rear facade, is another IBA building, by Raimund Abraham, who sadly died just a few weeks ago.

Categories : 1980s   IBA 87   John Hejduk
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Stopped! Hejduk campaign gets results.

2010.04.12

Having tried (and failed) to link to our latest press release as a Pdf located elsewhere, it seems clearer to simply include it here as a post; it gives a useful update of what’s been going on.  I must admit that I’m just a helper now – the campaign has been picked up from its humble beginnings and rocketed forward by Robert Slinger and Claire Karsenty at Kapok Architects, Ian Warner at SLAB, Florian Köhl at FAT KOEHL ARCHITEKTEN, and Matthias Reese at Reese Architekten, along with many others.

Do keep spreading the word, both about John Hejduk’s building in particular, and about the gradual chipping away at the buildings of the IBA programme in general.

Press release runs as follows:

The campaign to save John Hejduk’s Kreuzberg Tower and Wings in Berlin from defacement has galvanised the international architectural community in the last ten days, and appears to be working and effecting change.

The campaign to save the buildings was set in motion a few weeks ago by Dr. Renata Hejduk, daughter of the architect and professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University. It was taken up by a group of concerned Berlin architecture activists, who have worked flat out in support of Dr. Hejduk’s efforts to convince the owners to adopt a refurbishment strategy that his faithful to Hejduk’s original intentions.

An online petition was set up to try and save the buildings from the planned alterations after unsuccessful attempts by Dr. Hejduk to have a meaningful discussion with the building’s owners. Two Berlin architecture blogs, “SLAB-mag” and “Architecture in Berlin” have provided a running commentary of ongoing developments. Now the public pressure generated by the campaign and its supporters appears to be paying off.

The building’s managers, BerlinHaus GmbH have replaced images of the purple and white proposals with a written statement to the overwhelming reaction. In it they indicate a willingness to engage in discussions to arrive at broader consent. Their statement is quoted in full below.

In addition, as a result of the campaign, Matthias Peckskamp, Head of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg urban planning department has approached the owners via their architect, in the hope of seeking a more sympathetic approach. BerlinHaus informed him that the site work has been halted until agreement can be reached. In addition, the Berlin Senate has become involved, with Senate Building Director Regula Lüscher set to act as a mediating party between the owners, the city and representatives of the Hejduk estate in a meeting set for 19th April. Mr. Peckskamp hopes a resolution here could set a positive precedent for other threatened IBA schemes in the future.

In just two weeks, the online petition garnered almost 3,000 signatories from all over the world. The impressive list of supporters includes prominent architects such as:

Peter Eisenman

Steven Holl

Bernard Tschumi

Daniel and Nina Libeskind

Shigeru Ban

Henning Larsen

Michael Rotondi

Thom Mayne of Morphosis

Sir Peter Cook

Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, and Charles Renfro of D S+R in New York

Jean Philippe Vassal of Lacaton & Vassal in Paris

Raoul Bunschoten of Chora in London

Donald Bates of LAB in Melbourne

Gunter Zamp Kelp, Berlin

Jan Kleihues of Kleihues+Kleihues in Berlin

Michael Sorkin, New York

Lebbeus Woods

Matthias Sauerbruch and Louise Hutton of sauerbruch + hutton

Julia Bolles and Peter Wilson

as well as a host academics and historians including:

Joseph Rykwert of the University of Pennsylvania

Anthony Vidler, Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Cooper Union in New York

K. Michael Hays of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Stan Allen, Dean of the School of Architecture at Princeton University

Prof. Alberto Perez-Gomez ,Professor at McGill University in Montreal

Prof. Wim van den Bergh, Professor at RWTH, Maastricht and Aachen University

Christine Hawley of UCL, London

Peter Carl of LMU, London

Ben Nicholson, Associate Professor at the Institute of Chicago

As well as signing the petition many supporters have also voiced support for the effort as well as the importance of John Hejduk’s work and legacy.

Steven Holl said:

Considering the last half of the 20th century, only three architects lifted the culture of architecture into the realm of poetry: Louis Kahn, Louis Barragan and certainly John Hejduk.”

Shigeru Ban said:

‘‘John Hejduk was one of the most influential educators and architects of our time. John’s IBA tower in Berlin embodies a message of selflessness in a world so often dominated by greed.”

Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Harvard University Graduate School of Design, said:

John Hejduk’s Berlin Tower is a rare example of architecture from one of the 20th century’s most poetic architects. We should do all we can to preserve and celebrate it.”

Michel Sorkin said:

The good news of the renovation of John Hejduk’s wonderful Berlin Tower is betrayed by the whimsical vandalism of its “restorers.”  What next?  Perhaps the Blue Mosque would be more satisfying in pink.”

John Hejduk is best known as one of the ‘New York Five’, as Dean of the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York, and for his many published projects and writings which influenced a generation of architects. The Kreuzberg Tower is one of only a handful of built works by this influential architect. Berlin has three examples, all social housing schemes built as part of the IBA 1987 international building exhibition.

Managers Berlinhaus: (http://www.berlinhaus.de/)

Statement regarding the works:

Images of their proposals can be seen here: http://fantasticjournal.blogspot.com/2010/03/disturbance-at-hejduk-house.html.

English translation of statement from BerlinHaus (from their website):

Project development Charlottenstraße 96-97

As new owners of the building ensemble Charlottenstraße 96-97 in Berlin – Kreuzberg we are planning urgently necessary facade repairs.

After the completion of some initial works, we have received repeated requests to engage in a broader public discussion in respect to the design of the facades, and to consider the special characteristics of the building and its architecture.

We see ourselves as a responsible company, which does not only undertake refurbishment for the preservation and increase in property values, but acknowledges the interaction which takes place between such measures and their surroundings and site specific conditions.

Therefore we are glad to face up to the challenge of finding broad design consent.

First discussions are currently taking place into how a promising inclusion of different interest groups can be achieved.

We are glad to continuously keep you informed about the current state of this process.

Categories : 1980s   IBA 87   John Hejduk
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