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.
Berlin’s Barkow Leibinger has won an invited competition to design a new hotel tower and conference centre as part of Berlin’s largest hotel complex, the Estrel. Establishing a new gateway to the center of Berlin from Schönefeld International Airport, the tower will stand at 175 meters (578 feet) making it the tallest high-rise in Berlin to date. Located on the Sonnenalle at the intersection of the Ship Canal, S-Bahn and Autobahn, the site acts as a threshold between the heterogeneous industrial and residential periphery of the city and the historical neighborhoods of Neukölln.
GRAFT Architects have won an invited competition to restore and extend one of Germany’s oldest youth hostels in central Munich, Germany. Their proposal, which was judged alongside designs by haascookzemmrich (Stuttgart), Snøhetta (Oslo), and YES Architecture (Munich), centers around the idea of “experiencing community.” Their proposal enables exchange and communication whilst also alluding to the “established traditions of simple traveling, youthful curiosity and the thirst for encounter.” Connecting the historic quality of the building with the challenges of modern habits and traveling practices, their design “builds a bridge between origins and departure.”
Robert Slinger, a founding partner of Berlin based practice Kapok, narrates the story of a building “too radical to implement and too relevant to ignore.” Having lived in John Hejduk’s Kreuzberg Tower for eight years, Slinger “came to understand how Hejduk’s architecture both flexibly accommodates and yet asserts a presence which resists any attempts to co-opt it. Whilst impressed by its powerful exterior presence, its austerity and frontal directness left a strangely cold impression upon me.”
J. Mayer H. has been crowned as winner of an invited competition to design a 19-story medical services and residential high-rise in the center of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. The “sculptural” tower, which is defined by the horizontal “cloud-shaped” aluminum strips that cloak its facade, is designed to “provide a natural atmosphere” enhanced by planted terraces and balconies overlooking the adjacent landscape of the Rheinaue and views of Duesseldorf.
In a competition that ultimately crowned Frank Gehry as winner, Berlin’s Barkow Leibinger placed third with their 150-meter “faceted stacked building” proposal clad in glass. Aimed to be Berlin’s tallest building, the apartment and hotel tower is planned to be the city’s first high-rise residential development since the 1970s.
Raimund Abraham’s last project, a “stunning” design for a building atop an unused NATO missile base in Hombroich, has been realized four years after the architect’s death. At the time of his passing, Abraham was working on this project as part of a unique outdoor art complex close to Düsseldorf, Germany. A competition has now been announced to determine the future for the space which has become an “an integral part of Hombroich’s cultural sphere.”