1. It was built to be temporary
2. It was an unmitigated disaster on technical grounds (ceilings too low to stand up, they forgot the foundations/roof/stairs etc)
3. Something unspeakably horrible happened there (and even then demolition is highly debatable)
O M Ungers’ housing on Lützowplatz, completed in 1984 as part of the International Bauasutelling, is none of the above. Apparently well liked by its residents, who fought a legal campaign against demolition, it’s to be replaced by a predictable mix of office space, luxury flats and a hotel. Unger’s trademark rectilinear facade, based as always around squares and cubes, is not to everyone’s taste. But here I think it works well, given the difficult setting of a long frontage against a busy road.
But as is often the case with Berlin’s IBA projects, a strong, defensive facade protects (sorry, protected) inner courtyards and open spaces where the larger froms breakdown into freestanding townhouse blocks and tiers of balconies.
As of today (31st October) the front block is still occupied above the ground floor, but I assume these will be moving shortly. So from the front all still appears well. But round the back…
The individual townhouses are gone, and the two ‘bookend’ blocks onto the side streets at either end of the site are coming down fast.
As far as I’m aware it’s the first demolition of an IBA Neubau project (many of the Altbau projects have been altered, but often this was the plan). Cities have to change to live, but I find this particular example unnecessary and an act of architectural vandalism.