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Remember Berlin - Kunsthochschule Archipelago

Part 1 Project 2012
Paddi Alice Benson
University of Cambridge | UK
Chaotic Berlin: a city simultaneously burying history and memorialising guilt, in which the best of its past is obscured by the global anonymity of the present. The disintegration of the city and its culture was anticipated and contextualised by Hermann Broch in his trilogy The Sleepwalkers (1936). This describes the fragmentation of the universal belief in one law and one morality, which was reflected in the civic order. Retracing Broch’s steps backwards the proposed Kunsthochschule project reclaims Berlin’s specific spatial and building typologies. Every urban space enjoys a dual identity: from the building which addresses it and as a part of the spatial armature which embraces the city. Civic homogeneity is derived from the Berlin ‘double block’ and its ability to accommodate spatial diversity - residential, office, department store, school and factory. The block can be reinterpreted with improvised inhabitation which side-steps conventional functional demarcations.

The proposed new building was informed by these two typologies, which reinforce spatial identity and operational adaptability. Spatially, it redefines the southern perimeter of the Lustgarten and Unter den Linden - the primary route between east and west Berlin. The building creates and contains a garden which links the park extending to Alexanderplatz, Schinkel’s Bauakademie to the west and Breite Straße, to the south.

The non-hierarchic departmental archipelago within the Kunsthochschule (Art School) articulates individual and collective identity, and mirrors the cultural ensemble of museums and galleries to the north of the site. Conceptually, the building is porous and carved from a single solid by light, similar to its Renaissance ancestor, the Villa Guilia, which also negotiates a series of levels within its walls. Directly accessible from the social, display and performance spaces, the garden would be used for theatre, film and sculpture. On entering, the building’s solidity dissolves and the visitor is mysteriously connected to the garden. South-lit from above, the three-dimensional cloister visually unites the departments and becomes the heart of the school. This is surrounded by the four islands; fine art (north), project galleries (east), display and sculpture (south/garden), and library-communal resource (addressing Schinkel to the west).

Paddi Alice Benson

Ingrid Schröder
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