The scaffold recently came down on BundschuhBaumhauer’s new apartment block on Linienstrasse, on the northwest corner of Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Our group got a sneak preview, courtesy of its architect Roger Bundschuh, so a few snaps included below.
The building was co-designed with artist Cosima von Bonin, and actually started as a project for a public sculpture nearby; when this didn’t work out, architect and artist decided to try for something on a bigger scale…
I was a bit rude about the design for this a while back, and was taken to task by Roger, who offered to better inform me with a site visit. Obviously, rude not to take the offer up, and I have to admit that my concerns about tapering angular staircases were unfounded (I didn’t fall down/up them, and didn’t leave with a headache).
What’s most surprising, when you first turn the corner and see the building, is how incredibly like the architect’s early renderings the real-life building appears. Much thought was given to how to make the building look as massive and dense as possible (’massive’ in the sense of ‘full of mass’, rather than ‘very big’). The structure is insitu cast concrete, with a colour additive to make it as dark as possible. Its texture is deliberately rough cast, which is hard to make out from my (typically poor) images. The overall impression from the outside of a vast immoveable object, slightly alien. The interior, with the windows closed, is eerily quiet despite the busy Torstrasse below; a result, apparently, of the building’s foundations not being directly connected to the ground, being poured onto a raft of insulation material.
Actually, I think the windows ‘as built’ are much better. The rendering looks awkwardly proportioned when you compare the two.
Anyway, what I like most about the building is its total lack of compromise, its ‘modern’ modernism in the face of Berlin’s current architectural conservatism. It took four years to get through planning, in the face of opposition from the local conservation society, responsible for the Platz where it’s located. Hans Poelzig masterplanned the Platz and designed many of its buildings, including the Babylon Kino – the society felt the new building to be out of keeping, preferring a recreation of the missing Poelzig block – an argument I’m finding increasingly tedious.
More images, as ever, on Flickr, and below.
Do stay tuned to the blog for future building visits – I have a plan for late May to do a ‘mini-IBA’ tour around Kochstrasse, as I now have some contacts who live in two of the blocks there, plus of course the much talked about Hejduk Tower nearby. We have a Facebook group, if you’re down with that sort of thing.