In a cultural capital like Berlin, where ‘pop-up’ stores appear in abandoned warehouses, local brands emerge from stores over-run with squatters, and nightclubs rave in power plants, it is only appropriate that an art gallery would find its home in a nearly indestructible concrete vessel. Such is the case with the “Berlin Bunker” in the heart of the fashionable “Mitte” district.
Monolithic and symmetrical, decorated only by thin strips of vertical windows on its four identical facades, this former Nazi air-raid shelter stands as a relic of Germany’s past. Yet a closer look beyond its sharp-edged cornice reveals something unexpected: luscious green gardens and a luxurious penthouse, completed in 2007. This is the home of Christian Boros, the art collector whose private collection is stored and exhibited in the depths of the fortified bunker below.
The Museum for Architectural Drawing presents Lebbeus Woods, ON-line, an exhibition of the finest works of architectural theorist, draftsman, educator and architect, Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012). Curated by his longtime friend and partner Christoph a. Kumpusch, the exhibition brings together a collection of Woods’ visionary works that have never been exhibited before. The intensely rendered architectural and urban environments produced early on in Woods’ career are exhibited together for the first time. These ink and pencil drawings cover a wide range of Woods’ research and re-imagination of cities both real and fictive and support Woods’ longstanding desire to show the capacity of architecture as a transformative and eloquent force.
After winning the design competition for Germany‘s tallest apartment tower in January, Frank Gehry‘s project for the building on Alexanderplatz has already run into problems over fears that the 150-metre building could be too heavy for its site. The German edition of the Local is reporting that Berlin‘s Senate has placed the plans on hold because of the building’s proximity to the U5 branch of the U-Bahn tunnel, which it fears could be crushed under the weight.
More on the story after the break
With no casualties, last week’s fire at the Glasgow School of Art, which caused significant damage to parts of the building and gutted Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s canonical library room, will be remembered as a tragic event that robbed us of one of the best examples of Art Nouveau of its time. The intention of the Glasgow School of Art is to restore the building in the hope that in generations to come, the fire will be all but forgotten, a strategy which has been largely well received by the profession.
However, in the case of other fires things have not gone so smoothly: for millennia, fire has played a big role in determining the course of architectural history - by destroying precious artifacts, but often also by allowing something new to rise from the ashes. Read on after the break as we count down the top 10 fires that changed the course of architectural history.
A plan to build 4,700 homes on the site of Berlin‘s Tempelhof Airport was blocked by voters this weekend. The airport, which was built in the 1920s and has a long history as a key site during World War Two and the Cold War, was closed in 2008 and there has since been a debate over what to with the vast site, including a 2011 competition to transform it into a park and other facilities, and an outlandish unofficial plan in 2009 to create a 1km high mountain on the site.
However perhaps the the most popular idea has also been the simplest: in 2010, the airport was opened to the public without any changes, and become an impromptu urban park popular with kite-flyers and roller-bladers who circle the site’s runways.
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GRAFT and Kleihues+Kleihues has teamed up with Genossenschaft für urbane Kreativität (Cooperative for urban Creativity) to realize a complex of five towers centered around working and living in Berlin, Germany. Titled “Eckwerk,” the new complex is set to rise within the confines of an existing viaduct, whose shape and materiality served as the project’s main source of inspiration.
J. Mayer H. has won an invited competition to design “Volt Berlin,” a new “shopping and urban experience” center near Berlin’s Alexanderplatz. The winning scheme offers a variety of experiential offerings, including multi-brand shopping, an indoor skydiving and event space, and a 7,500 square meter hotel, all within a single cubed complex whose organization is based off an uneven grid.
The winners of the international competition to design Berlin’s new Natural Science Museum have been announced. The brief, which called for a large scale iconic building in the heart of the German capital, offered the opportunity for architects and students to design in a city founded in the 13th century.
Understanding that natural science museums are often simply seen as places for public spectacle, the organization behind the competition wanted to ensure that the “importance of the museum’s specimen collections for documenting historical and present-day patterns of biological diversity cannot be overstated.”
See the winning entry, along with the runners up, after the break…
Only 5 more days on the exhibition 2D:3D, an installation by Barkow Leibinger at the BDA Berlin Gallery. Covering the wall surfaces of the small gallery space with “tapete” or wallpaper the façade of the storefront gallery frames what Leon Battista Alberti described as a fenestra aperta. In this configuration the space of the gallery is a projection/ extension of the streetscape in the bourgeois residential historical Mommsenstrasse neighborhood.
Playing with the concept directive 2D 3D, the wall paper on one side of the gallery is a two dimensional pattern: an organic looping structure which repeats and mirrors itself that is both ornamental and geometrically structural in its architectural implication. On axis with the street front façade at the back of the gallery is a wallpaper “portrait” of this system in black and white but now projected as a one-point perspective optically extending the perspective of the gallery itself.
A new series of international architecture competitions are characterizing a clear change in the current urban planning strategy of Moscow. The initiator of these developments is the incumbent chief architect of the Russian capital, Sergey Kuznetsov. Together with his team, he has breathed new life into Moscow’s urban development since taking office in mid 2012. The exhibition New Moscow – Новая Москва presents two international competitions – from the fields of landscape planning (1st prize Diller Scofidio + Renfro, New York) and cultural building (1st prize Heneghan Peng, Dublin) – and through these demonstrates the great gains for the city’s urban planning that are being drawn from this open, global approach.
Both of the competitions presented in the exhibition demonstrate the great potential for development and innovation in Moscow to meet the growing demands of the city residents for cultural and leisure facilities. A further important topic is the extension of the traffic infrastructure of this growing city, which is initiating a radical change in the building policy of the Russian capital.
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After deliberating over the stellar proposals of three renowned firms, BIG, Büro Ole Scheeren, and OMA, Berlin-based media company AXEL SPRINGER SE has just announced that Rem Koolhaas’ design is the winning proposal for their new office building.
The task of the competition was to create additional space for the media company, particularly its digital offers, and thus design a workplace fit for the future of online media. Koolhaas’ design, which features a large 30-meter high atrium or “open valley” with interconnected terraces and public workspaces for both individual, collaborative, and mobile work, won favor with the jury for its forward-thinking concept. As Dr. Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer of Axel Springer SE, commented: “[Koolhaas] presented the conceptually and esthetically most radical model. The fundamental innovation of working environments will support the cultural transformation towards a digital publishing house.”
For his part, Koolhaas had this to say: “It is a wonderful occasion to build in Berlin again, on this historical site of all places, for a client who has mobilized architecture to help perform a radical change…a workplace in all its dimensions.”
See more of OMA’s winning proposal, after the break…
Architects: Huber Staudt Architekten
Location: Abbestraße 2, Berlin, Germany
Design Team: Julian Arons , Alexandra Barre, Magdalena Falska , António Henriques , Christian Huber, Sebastian Kroeker , Leander Moons , Anna Naumann, Natalia Novoa Vidal, Jördis Petzold, Tobias Shepherd , the Wolfgang Staudt, Joachim Staudt, Jörg weighting
Area: 1,759 sqm
Photographs: Werner Hutmacher
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this autumn, Germany planned two memorials, one in Berlin and one in Leipzig. However, as Der Spiegel reports, not only are they almost certainly not going to be complete in time for the anniversary, they have both proven highly controversial with the local people. Will these designs turn out to be monuments to German reunification, or just monumental failures? Read the article on Der Spiegel to find out more.