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Review: 'All Of This Belongs To You' - Civic Urbanism At London's Victoria & Albert Museum

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.

The Ethics of Dust: Trajan’s Column by Jorge Oteros-Pailos. Image © Peter Kelleher / Victoria & Albert Museum ‘AgBags’ installed on the V&A’s stone façade as part of a work by Natalie Jermijenko. Image © Peter Kelleher / Victoria & Albert Museum Spike studs by Kent Stainless Ltd. that are intended 
to discourage people from sitting or sleeping 
in various spaces in the city. Image © Peter Kelleher / Victoria & Albert Museum MacBook Air casing and components from a computer used by journalists to write editorial about the data leaked to The Guardian newspaper by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor. Image © The Guardian/ Victoria & Albert Museum

Reinier de Graaf on Cultural Amnesia and the "Fall" of the Berlin Wall

"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.

Explore Alexander Brodsky's Architectural Fantasy at Berlin's Tchoban Foundation

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.

"Architect", Alexander Brodsky (1984). Image Courtesy of Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing "Untitled", Alexander Brodsky (1993). Image Courtesy of Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing "Untitled", Alexander Brodsky (2014). Image Courtesy of Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing "Vanishing Points", Alexander Brodsky (1997). Image Courtesy of Tchoban Foundation. Museum for Architectural Drawing

Bazar Noir / Hidden Fortress

  • Architects: Hidden Fortress
  • Location: Kreuzbergstraße 78, 10965 Berlin, Germany
  • Area: 85.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Hidden Fortress

Courtesy of Hidden Fortress Courtesy of Hidden Fortress Courtesy of Hidden Fortress Courtesy of Hidden Fortress

R50 – Cohousing / ifau und Jesko Fezer + HEIDE & VON BECKERATH

R50 – cohousing is a joint building venture project in Berlin-Kreuzberg. It was initiated by the architects during the course of a concept-based award procedure for building plots and implemented in close cooperation with the clients. The building proposal is founded on a clear urban design position, robust and precisely detailed architectural design, and both a collective and individual process of occupancy.

Video: ZAO/standardarchitecture's Zhang Ke on "Contemplating Basics"

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.

Gleisdreieck Park / Atelier LOIDL

  • Architects: Atelier LOIDL
  • Location: Yorckstraße, Berlin, Germany
  • Architect in Charge: Felix Schwarz, Andreas Lipp
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Atelier LOIDL

Courtesy of Atelier LOIDL Courtesy of Atelier LOIDL Courtesy of Atelier LOIDL Courtesy of Atelier LOIDL

A space: Lofts in Berlin Mitte / plajer & franz studio

  • Architects: plajer & franz studio
  • Location: Kremmener Straße 9, 10435 Berlin, Germany
  • Project Manager: Sophie Gatzke
  • Area: 400.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Christian Rudat

© Christian Rudat © Christian Rudat © Christian Rudat © Christian Rudat

Coop Housing at River Spreefeld / Carpaneto Architekten + Fatkoehl Architekten + BARarchitekten

  • Architects: Carpaneto Architekten, Fatkoehl Architekten, BARarchitekten
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Collaborators: Die Zusammenarbeiter, Christian Schöning, Angelika Drescher
  • Area: 7400.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Ute Zscharnt, Daka, Michael Matuschka, Andreas Trogisch, Eric Tschernow, Johannes Dumpe

© Daka © Ute Zscharnt © Andreas Trogisch © Andreas Trogisch

Audi Urban Future Award 2014: Team Berlin's "Flywheel" Could Revolutionize Personal Mobility

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.

The "Flywheel" concept proposes a modular personal transport system that would connect with other units to save road space. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Proposal for the "Flyway" on the Siemens Line. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative The Flyway would connect Tegel Airport to Jungfernheide station. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative Audi worked with Team Berlin to create a series of possible designs for the "Flywheel" concept. Image © Audi Urban Future Initiative

Fellows Pavilion - American Academy Berlin / Barkow Leibinger

  • Architects: Barkow Leibinger
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Project Architect: Tobias Wenz
  • Area: 85.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Stefan Müller, Simon Menges

© Stefan Müller © Stefan Müller © Simon Menges © Stefan Müller

"Fragments of Metropolis": An Exploration of Berlin's Expressionist History

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.

Chipperfield On London's "Success-Based Culture"

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."

Six 'Cathedrals of Culture' Tell Their Stories in New 3D Film

If buildings could talk, what would they say about us? Cathedrals of Culture, a six part collection of films recently premiered at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, "offers six startling responses to this question". The project, filmed entirely in 3D, allows "six iconic and very different buildings to speak for themselves, examining human life from the unblinking perspective of a manmade structure". 

Infographic: The Bauhaus Movement and the School that Started it All

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. 

Monohaus / Zanderroth Architekten

  • Architects: Zanderroth Architekten
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Founder: Stefan Karl
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Simon Menges

© Simon Menges © Simon Menges © Simon Menges © Simon Menges

8,000 Illuminated Balloons to Mark 9-Mile Stretch of Berlin Wall

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.