The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), named after the Queen and Her Consort, has its foundations in the Great Exhibition of 1851 amidst the wealth, innovation and squalor of the Industrial Revolution. Britain was flooded by prosperity which allowed for the development of major new institutions to collect and exhibit objects of cultural significance or artistic value. The institute’s first director, Henry Cole, declared that it should be “a schoolroom for everyone,” and a democratic approach to its relationship with public life has remained the cornerstone of the V&A. Not only has it always been free of charge but it was also the first to open late hours (made possible by gas lighting), allowing a more comprehensive demographic of visitor.
Their latest exhibition, which opens today, seeks to realign the museum’s vast collection and palatial exhibition spaces in South Kensington with these founding concepts. The interventions of All of This Belongs to You attempt to push the V&A’s position as an extension of London’s civic and cultural built environment to the fore, testing the museum’s ability to act as a 21st century public institution. To do this in London, a city where the notion of public and private is increasingly blurred, has resulted in a sequence of compelling installations which are tied together through their relevance either in subject matter, technique, or topicality.
“Twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall’s demise, it is as though a large part of the twentieth century never happened,” writes OMA principle Reinier de Graaf in his article for Metropolis Magazine “The Other Truth”. “An entire period has been erased from public consciousness, almost like a blank frame in a film.” Through the course of the article, de Graaf outlines how the West has rewritten the history of the cold war, erasing the “other truth” that existed for nearly half a century in East Berlin, the USSR, and other soviet-aligned states – a truth that we forget to our peril. It may not be immediately architectural, but the essay provides an interesting look into the political thoughts of de Graaf who, as the principle of one of architecture’s most prominent research organizations in AMO, has an important influence on the profession’s understanding of the wider world. Read the article in full here.
From March 13, Berlin’s Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing will showcase the work of acclaimed Russian artist and architect Alexander Brodsky in the eponymous exhibition “Alexander Brodsky. Works.”
Curated by Daria Paramonova, architect and co-curator of the Russian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale, the exhibition will feature a collection of Brodsky’s new and old work and run until June 5.
Learn more about the exhibition and view selected works on display after the break.
In conjunction with “Contemplating Basics,” the 35th Aedes Architecture Forum’s exhibition of work by Beijing-based ZAO/standardarchitecture, Reframe presents an interview the firm’s founder, Zhang Ke, and Dr Eduard Kögel, an Urban Planner and critic from Berlin.
Since its establishment in 2001, ZAO/standardarchitecture has produced a diverse portfolio of projects responding to the specific nature and local culture of their sites, and mediating between traditional values and contemporary means of production. Keenly engaged with social issues, Ke recognises the importance of designing in a manner that is cognisant of broader context and bridges the gap between tradition and modernity.
“Every generation of course needs to go back to the original questions… ‘Okay, what architecture can grow out of this place in our time, and with our interaction with the local people and local techniques?’” he asks, “The results could be striking but the departure point is basic.”
ZAO/standardarchitecture has been responsible for large urban museums and small scale rural interventions alike, adopting in all cases this democratic approach to design.
“I learnt neither to look up nor to look down,” Ke said, “But to look straight in the eye, which means that you truly respect the culture.”
Architects: Carpaneto Architekten, Fatkoehl Architekten, BARarchitekten
Location: Berlin, Germany
Collaborators: Die Zusammenarbeiter, Christian Schöning, Angelika Drescher
Area: 7400.0 sqm
Photographs: Ute Zscharnt, Daka, Michael Matuschka, Andreas Trogisch, Eric Tschernow, Johannes Dumpe
One of three runners-up in the 2014 Audi Urban Future Award, the Berlin Team of Max Schwitalla, Paul Friedli and Arndt Pechstein proposed a futuristic and innovative concept for an entirely new type of personal transport. Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as elevator technology and biomimicry, their designs offer a thought-provoking alternative to our existing transportation systems that could revolutionize the city as we know it.
Though their proposal ultimately lost out to Jose Castillo’s Team Mexico City, the work of the Berlin team correlates closely with the aims of Audi’s Urban Future Initiative, offering a compromise between the convenience and status of personal transport and the civic benefits of public transport. Read on to find out how this was achieved.
Despite being born in the same era, Expressionism embodies an entirely different architectural sensibility to other proto-modernist movements like the Bauhaus. Its complex forms marked the creation of what we know as the modern metropolis and became one of the iconic architectural styles of the Roaring Twenties. Throughout Europe, over 1,000 expressionist buildings remain standing, yet many are forgotten and not properly preserved.
For the past four years, Niels Lehmann and Christoph Rauhut have been working to document these surviving expressionist landmarks, following their previous book “Modernism London Style.” Their new book, “Fragments of Metropolis – Berlin” presents 135 remaining expressionist buildings in Berlin and the surrounding area, and with your help this incredible collection documenting the landmarks of expressionism will be published, with colorful photography and detailed maps revealing their exact locations. Follow this link to become a supporter and learn more, or continue after the break to see a selection of images from the book.
Speaking to The Guardian, David Chipperfield has stated that he regards the hold of private investment over new architecture in London as an ”absolutely terrible” means of building a city. He argues that Berlin – where he spends considerable amounts of time and runs a large office – “is a much more reflective society than ours” because the UK has sunk into ”a success-based culture.”
[In Berlin] there is still an idea of the public realm. We have given that up in London. We have declared the public realm dead; the question is how to get stuff out of the private sector. We are unbelievably sophisticated at that.
Bauhaus, the school of design established by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, has arguably been the most influential of any institution in shaping the trajectory of modern architecture. Out of this single school came an entire movement that would have lasting effects on architectural pedagogy and the design of everything from buildings to road signs. Born out of a larger cultural movement following Germany’s defeat in World War I which left the country ripe for regrowth without the previous constraints imposed by censorship, the core of Bauhaus philosophy were the principles of craftsmanship and mass production, which allowed for the movement’s rapid proliferation and a production model that would later inform contemporary design companies such as Ikea. Check out the infographic from Aram below to learn more about the movement, tracking the school from its origins in Weimar, via its canonical Gropius-designed home in Dessau, to its continuing legacy today.
25 years ago on November 9, East German protesters torn down the Berlin Wall. To commemorate this moment, the German capital plans to line the wall’s original 9-mile stretch with 8,000 illuminated, white balloons. The installation, named lichtgrenze or “light frontier,” will be open November 7. On the 9th, the balloons will be simultaneously released into the air to music provided by the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra.