delayed history

walter gropius, the founder of bauhaus movement, designed a building to store and exhibit the collection in darmstadt. 

the plan was finished by 1960 but because of the political and local reasons, the archive had to be moved to berlin. 

gropius’s project had lots of changes due to the new location and unexpected delays—except the distinctive roof silhouette.

the museum space holds the full process and elements of the movement, including the education system, furniture, paintings and even toys. 

from a church into a cultural hub

st. agnes, a former church located in kreuzberg-berlin, is one of the few examples of brutalist architecture in germany.

werner düttmann, the director of urban development for west berlin, built the catholic complex in 1967. 

st. agnes is a very successful example of the function change in berlin. in 2011, local art dealer johann könig renovated the structure which was in a terrible condition and turned it into a cultural hub with the architect arno brandlhuber.

this modest look, windowless walls and stark form was designed to mislead since it hides a fascinating, light-filled space inside. 

and now it’s even more surprising since it houses a variety of different tenants: from the könig gallery to the studio of 032c magazine, from an architecture firm to new york university’s berlin office.

unité d’habitation type berlin

the mother of all prefabricated concrete slab-constructions and le corbusier’s vision of modern living: 17 floors with around 550 apartments for 1300 people.

the project was part of the berlin architecture exhibition InterBau 1957. the most prominent modern architects of the time - aalto, eiermann, gropius, jacobsen, niemeyer, a.o. - met to redesign the destroyed hansaviertel in the center of berlin. it was only le corbusier who requested his own piece of land to fit his even greater plans. he succeeded and his unité was built in the outskirts of the city.

as with the preceding unités in marseilles and nantes, le corbusier used his famous “modulor" principles for the design. the ceiling height was restricted to 2,26 meter and thereby so low that it conflicted with german building codes. it was modified to 2,5 meter height.

le corbusier named the inner access corridors “streets" and planned it as a meeting place for the neighbors. conceived without any windows they rather suggest a scenery of the film “brazil". a real nightmare vision with the smell of polyvinyl chloride.

no matter if you admire or despise le corbusiers’ vision: one has to admit that after almost 50 years it didn’t lose much of its radical nature.

this article is a part of our collaboration with acanthus magazine.
for more → acanthusmagazine.com/acanthus-x-urbanbacklog-geisel-library-by-william-pereira

photos: ly dieu dao and alexander stumm
text: alexander stumm

mystery behind the pink pipes

what’s the mystery behind the pink pipes in berlin? an art installation? do they follow the trail of the berlin wall? why are they pink?

if you follow the them till one end, you will always get to a construction site and if you follow it to the other end you will always get to a canal or a drainage. because whenever there is a construction in the center, the foundations reach into the water and these pink pipes just pump them away. 

the reason of their pinky color is the thoughtfulness of the company which provided the tubes. 21 years ago, they asked a psychologist to choose a color that children and younger people would like. 

halfway graffiti

in berlin, the whole city structure is sinking in graffiti, but only till the height of where a person can reach to his maximum. 

there is like a visible line. probably because permissions are necessary to grab a ladder or rent a crane to paint higher. but since most of those works are illegal, the situation created a natural line for the graffiti level of the city. 

despite all, street art which seems to be forbidden, is a big part of city’s identity.

wrinkles of the city by jr

jr worked on over 15 buildings in berlin since 2013 for his project "wrinkles of the city". 

with the portrait series of the older people who have lived through the changes and upheavals of the city, the project emphasizes on the value of this old generation who seem to have lost their social significance. 

if you look around carefully, you will come across at least some of these wheatpastes made onto highly visible façades in berlin streets. 

stadtbad wedding

stadtbad wedding is a good example to function change of buildings.

1907 made swimming complex has changed its function in 2009 and since then it's a gallery, event and party venue. 

the main pool is now used as a gallery space. this picture is from the time when it was hosting a light installation ↓

the small pool is now a concert area and the basement is an underground club ↓

the bathrooms are used as art exhibition spaces while the rooms and the corridors are used as artist working areas ↓

sammlung boros collection

how many times the function of a building can be changed? how unrelated can they be?

sammlung boros was designed by karl bonatz in 1941 and since then it’s been used as an air-raid shelter, a war prison, a textile warehouse, an imported tropical fruits warehouse, a techno music and fetish party club, a theatre stage, an erotic trade fair, a new year’s party place and a corporation building.

today it’s an amazing art gallery that can be visited only by reservation and only with guides—no pictures allowed inside. the top floor is the amazing house of christian boros—the owner of the building and collections.