I know what I did last summer.


I may have mentioned previously (at least twelve times) how I’m not getting out much lately to look at architecty things.  So in order to have something to blog about, I thought I’d employ some nostalgia.   Moments from the tale end of this summer in fact, when I was working at the Art Forum Berlin up at the Messehalle.  It’s part of that site which also includes the immense 1970s bulk of the ICC (International Conference Centre) as well as the almost-certainly-doomed Deutschlandhalle.

La la la, I’m putting  a line in here as the site design won’t allow me to space out the images to avoid visual confusion.  So no need need to read this bit.

Not knowing the building, I’d imagined that I’d be stuck manning a stand in some dismal artificially lit exhibition cavern, and have a rubbish time.  It turned out not; although the front of the ICC is all imposing overblown fascism, although you can’t help being grudgingly impressed by the entrance hall as the sunlight floods from high above – but carry on through to the back section (the restaurant area, usually my first port of call at any trade fair) and you suddenly find yourself in endearing postwar light-touch modernism.  To me it had the feel of London’s South Bank during the Festival of Britain (I hadn’t been born at the time – it was 1951 – but I’ve looked at lots of pictures, and my dad used to bore regularly on the subject when I was a teenager).  Anyway, it’s nice isn’t it?

I haven’t tried very hard, but haven’t found any information about the back of the building.  1950s?  1960s?  Let me know if you know!

Also, straight across the road, if you’re out and about in that direction, is Hans Poelzig’s Haus des Rundfunks* (House of Radio).  Not to be missed, although I only had time for a jog round during a quick lunch break, hence not many photos of it on my Flickr.

*It’s Rundfunks with an ’s’ by the way, because it’s in the Genitiv (Possessive) case.  Every second building in Berlin is a grammar test…

And finally, (from that particular jaunt), as you come out of the nearest U-Bahn up at Kaiserdamm, you can see a Hans Scharoun housing block across the road.  I recognised it as probably Scharoun, but guessed it as 1950s, maybe 1960s.  Actually, it’s 1928-1929.  Amazing really.

Was just browsing through my photos from ‘09, and have tonnes of this sort of stuff to blog, so won’t actually have to go outside again until spring.  Luckily, thanks to the gift of Christmas, I have a supply of chocolate that will last until May.  Happy New Year!

I took all the above photos by the way, and license them under a Creative Commons license, so you’re welcome to use them for non-commercial purposes (unlikely they’d be good enough for anything else…) but do credit me/my blog if you do use them on your own blogs/dissertations/Wikipedia etc (you know who you are!).


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by leahcim, open source. open source said: architectureinberlin | I know what I did last summer.: I took all the above photos by the way, and license them under a http://url4.eu/zIc1 [...]

  2. Absolutely beautiful photos, Jim. May I ask what kind of camera you’re shooting with?

    As to the CC license, you will definitely have these picked up by someone if for nothing more than the color (pink red) or “bar” (which I am sure I could have a use for myself.

    And, hey, happy holidays!

    Tammi L. Coles, December 27, 2009
  3. Hi tammi, thanks for the thoughts!

    It’s just a little Lumix compact that K bought me earlier in the year, I just point and press, then tidy the images up on the laptop (am no photographer!).

    Have a great NY, hope to catch up soon.

    admin, December 28, 2009
  4. The lovely building at the Messe is from 1950 and is by Bruno Grimeck, more about it here


    Helen Ferguson, January 2, 2010
  5. whereas the high hall with the great light is by Richard Ermisch and is from 1935 – but his plan for the whole trade fair area was never completed due to the war.

    Helen Ferguson, January 2, 2010
  6. Thanks a lot for the picture of the Rundfunkhaus staircase. Had forgotten my camera when I was there last summer and have been kicking myself ever since. They do free guided tours in there, where you get a nice litte rbb- fridge magnet notepad, and can also to sit in on a radio show. If that’s the sort of thing that makes your day.

    Katja, January 10, 2010
  7. “Für die Propagandaaustellung Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit, die 1937 in Berlin zu sehen war, gestaltete Eiermann die Haupthalle der Ausstellungshalle am Funkturm unter anderem mit einem 18 Meter hohen Hitlerportrait und einer ausgeklügelten Licht- und Tonregie.”

    From Wikipedia. That’s Egon Eiermann. Just read that he was working with Fritz Jaenecke in the thirties, who later moved to Sweden, and paired up with a younger fellow called Sten Samuelsson. Went on to become one of sweden’s more employed duo, but now quite forgotten. Built a house for he Interbau in tiergarten.

    The fifties building above is amazing, and a great place to be during the art fair. It feels so… zeitgeist. Like the bar in Akademie der Künste. Berlin has the luxury of many of those places being left intact. Sweden does not.

    Erik, March 5, 2011

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