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
Update, 26th May. Architectuul.com is now live, and looking for input and feedback. So do go and have a look at the site, and also the blog. Looks pretty good I think (although there was much debate at the launch evening about the ‘voting yes or no’ for a building, which I find a little… binary, but that’s just me).
Just a reminder that Architectuul, a new website about architects and architecture, has a little launch bash this Friday, 21st May, 8.30pm at Bar Babette with a small presentation and drinks. Do join us.
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.
A recent Tweet from Baustelle drew my attention to the fact that demolition has begun on one of the last ‘fabulous industrial ruins’* in central Berlin. (As always with links to the Morgenpost, just Google the headline, and you can sidestep the charging system). Although the ‘Eisfabrik’ (icecream factory) element is to remain, the cold stores and other buildings are to go. Or something. To be honest, I’m not very clear from the article: part is being demolished, part has been demolished/allowed to collapse in the past, part will remain. Senate Building Director Regula Lüscher (my new hero, since her decision on the Hejduk tower) remains optimistic, although I’m unclear why.
Current owner of the site, TLG, asks why anyone should care, suggesting that their new designs for the site could be considered worthy of protection in 300 years time. Discuss.
I climbed through a whole in the fence to take these images, back in April 2008. I was spotted by someone across the river at Radialsystem V (a former pumping station, converted, admittedly with some style, into a venue for contemporary dance). The police came, expecting a chance for some exciting harrassment of the people from the squat across the road, but were disappointed to find only me. I was sent on my way.
And across the river, Radialsystem V – so named because it was the 5th of five pumping stations, and, er, designed as part of a radial system of some sort:
*Or grim reminder of the collapse of east German industry, which led immediately to large-scale structural unemployment that still remains a huge problem twenty years later. And now provides nothing but photo-fodder for idiotic British and American expats with time on their hands.
Post-blog addition: not only did I miss a protest a week or so ago about the demolition, but I missed fire there too. Luckily, everything that occurs everywhere is now captured on video:
Probably not a permanent move, but this Tuesday’s Stammtisch (11th May) is to be at a bar called SIN, Schönleinstraße 6, 10967, nearest U-Bahn Schönleinstraße.
8pm as usual, no particular theme or presentation for this one, just beer and archi-chat.