AD Classics: The Kreuzberg Tower / John Hejduk

Photo by Jim Hudson - http://www.architectureinberlin.com/

In April of 2010 the architecture community gathered to protect one of the many at risk postmodern buildings of the 1980s. The new owners of the Kreuzberg Tower by drew negative attention from notable architects when they began altering the building’s façade. The Kreuzberg Tower’s façade has now been restored, and the attention it received reflects on its postmodern history, and the prominence of its important designer.

Photo by Jim Hudson - http://www.architectureinberlin.com/

Hejduk began his career at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art where he later served as dean from 1972 to 2000. The revered architect and artist built very few buildings, and is most recognized for his written, academic, and theoretical contributions to architecture. He was a member of both the New York Five and The Texas Rangers, and wrote poetry as well as theory. The Kreuzberg Tower is a rare example of his built work.

Photo by Jim Hudson - http://www.architectureinberlin.com/

The Kreuzberg Tower was part of the 1987 International BauAufstellung (IBA) Program. The German program continues to support innovative architecture and design through built and unbuilt projects. In 1987 the IBA invited noted architects and designers to envision new low and middle income housing for West .

Photo by seier+seier - http://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/

Hejduk’s project is composed of a 14 story tower with two separate 5 story wings. The neutral colored tower and wings feature green geometric shapes attached to the facades. These extrusions serve as balconies and sun shades for the low income housing units.

Photo by World-3 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/world3/

Proposed refurbishment by the owners had included changes such as removal of the sun shades and expanding the balconies. The negative attention produced by the architecture community halted the changes and encouraged a reconsideration of the importance of the building. Instead of the initial changes, a full renovation is planned for the Kreuzberg Tower, including the surrounding gardens, which were designed but never realized.

Photo by seier+seier - http://www.flickr.com/photos/seier/

Today the Kreuzberg Tower is protected by the government with a clause stating that plans to alter it must be considered by the city’s building department and appropriate historians, as well as all of the 1987 IBA buildings. This total reversal is thanks to the outspoken architecture community, and the recognition and response by the city for a unique building and its influential pedagogue designer.

Architect: John Hejduk
Location: Berlin, Germany
Project Year: 1988
References: architectureinberlin, The Architect’s Newspaper, A|N Blog
Photographs: Flickr, seier + seier, World-3Jim Hudson

Cite: Balters, Sofia. "AD Classics: The Kreuzberg Tower / John Hejduk" 11 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=164259>
  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    Last constructivist breath of soviet architecture…

  • MAD*arx

    I guess I saw an angry bird there somewhere

  • Marco Theseider Duprè

    theorist

  • Marco Theseider Duprè

    this is the proof that big theorists of architecture can’t build good architecture…

    • loos

      this wasn’t in bad shape when it was built. it is social housing (so it had very little budget) and if you know the site, it has other buildings by siza, eisenman, and compare to those, this one is rather good. Hejduk’s architecture is very complex and personal, and usually intended not to be build. It has, however, became course material for the education of younger architects and some of his former students now have become the most famous architects in the world..elizabeth diller, daniel liebeskind, shigeru ban, etc..

  • http://blog.naver.com/pimpyboy pimpyboy

    Sorry that the article contains no interior photo. If only this building was allowed to public… Utmost feature of Hejduk’s architecture may be on the interior I guess

  • simon

    Apart from being a phenomonal educator, Hejduk had the strength to put his ego out there and design building as symbol, in an age when everything was headed in the other direction, towards form; eventually to dumbed down CG.

    There is a form language here which few architects can ever hope to achieve; and yes,
    a bit of Constructivism, derived from totems and meaning.

    Very few designers have this capacity to invent formal language.