Put on Eis.


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:

Categories : Industrial

A Career in Ruins


Given that this is a Berlin architecture blog, it seems a shame to say nothing about the Neues Museum, whose doors were opened to the public a couple of weeks ago for a quick glimpse of the completed reconstruction, prior to being filled with all the things that museums are full of.  I do of course take an increasingly perverse joy in steering away from the well known towards the arcane, and I’m sure you’ve read loads about it everywhere else.

I did go along though, along with the other zillion people who visited in those three crowded days, and have dutifully put my photos on Flickr.

I would just say that if you do somehow get a chance to see inside before the official October opening, take it.  The (apparently controversial) reconstruction of Stüler’s building by David Chipperfield Architects and Julian Harrap is an entirely more complex affair than the ‘this bit is old, this bit is lovely new high tech’ approach typified by Foster* and such.  It’s all the more fascinating for the fact that the building was a real ruin for over sixty years, despite being in the middle of a major city.

*Not that I have anything against Stormin’ Norman’s approach, but I found myself at his rebuilt Hauptbahnhof in Dresden a while ago, and couldn’t help thinking I’d seen it something similar by him somewhere before…

Round the back of the Bahnhof.


I haven’t blogged for a while, as I’ve been a bit busy doing an intensive language course, going to Berlinale stuff, making new chums and helping out with some projects, you know how it is. Too many excuses already, so here’s a short post.

It’s slightly Berlinale related in fact, as I was on my way to see a film at the Hamburger Bahnhof, and a curious thing caught my eye as I walked across from the still-desolate area immediately to the east.

I must apologise for the photo quality by the way.  The fact that I only had my phone on me is not such a good excuse these days, as phones can have half decent cameras, but there it is; I’m a cheapskate.  Ironically, someone left a message on my previous post admiring the image quality and asking what camera I used.  The images below demonstrate perhaps that I use an old cardboard box with a pinhole in it.

It’s good, isn’t it? (The construction, not the image, obviously.)  I think basically it’s a corridor for transferring items from the main gallery spaces to the storage shed across the road.  But what a cool way of achieving a mundane task; it’s just so… suspended.

Here’s a much better image, beautiful in fact, by someone else (A. Zerche – take a stroll round his/her collection, there’s some good stuff).

This me again below, can you tell?

Anyway, behind it, or underneath it, you can just make out a second interesting thing.  It looks at first glance like a small ruined building (not a rarity in Berlin, although ruined buildings here tend to be on the larger side).  On closer inspection you realise that it never was a building, but something part built then semi-demolished to give the impression of a ruined building.  It’s an installation.

You would probably not have walked past the sign as I did.  It says this:

…an ironic dialogue with the surrounding area.  And I do like a spot of architectonic sculpture.  A closer look:

All for now, although worth mentioning that a have a whole backlog of images and stuff that I will get on the blog sooner or later, including lots more arcane buildings from the IBA, for those IBA junkies out there.  Weirdos.