Posts tagged with "Berlin":

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German architecture firm crafts multi-sensory, inflatable projects

The Templehof Airport in South Berlin has a history of giving. In 1948, Operation Vittles, also known as the "Berlin Airlift," saw American aircraft carry 80 tons of food into Tempelhof. Shortly after, the famed Operation Little Vittles saw renowned "Candy BomberGail Halvorsen drop candy via parachute to children living nearby. Many pilots soon followed in his footsteps. The airport is now no longer in service, though more recently, it was used as one of Europe's largest refugee camps. This inspired local architecture firm Plastique Fantastique to install an over-sized inflatable dinghy, reminiscent of those many refugees had been using to get to the continent, at the airport. Called LIVEBOAT, the firm, who are well known for their inflatable installations, said that dingy offers space for dialogue surrounding the refugee crisis. The boat serves as a visual pun of being a dinghy at an airport is big enough for people to walk inside. Visitors can walk through the boat and on their way discover multi-lingual sound bites of Homer's Odyssey as well as "fragments of refugee experiences." https://vimeo.com/133220577 Started in 1999, Plastique Fantastique comprises two architects, a set designer, a sound artist, a sculptor, and an intern. As their name suggests, plastic is the material of choice, selected due to its low cost and only needing a fan to form a space. "The fact that we used plastic, was just usually the fact that we had no money," said co-founder Marco Canevacci. Initially, in their first works, they sought to create warm places to stay through the use of a hot-air blower. Since their founding though, their work has, in many ways, continued to expand. Drawing on the pneumatic and inflatable volumes found in Ant Farm's Inflatocookbook, they rely on their diverse knowledge base of sound artistry, set design, and sculpture to integrate contemporary mediums into their work. https://vimeo.com/164302567 One project, SOUND of LIGHT is a notable example of this. The synesthetic sculpture analyses and interprets sunlight, "dynamically" transforming it into audio frequencies. Situated in the former music pavilion in Hamm, Germany, a high-end digital camera placed on top of the structure films the sky above, dividing it into red, green, blue and cyan, magenta, yellow. Commonly known as "RGB" and "CMY" this selection is derived from how colors are formed on-screen and in print (with black the only color missing). Subsequently, the two groups of three colors "receive different frequencies and convert them from visible to audible sensory input." To produce the sound, woofers placed at the bottom of each color column turn the space into a "giant vibrating loudspeaker." "Visitors can also discover their own concert by changing their point of view—an individual spectrum," the firm says on their website. https://vimeo.com/110137909 Sound is once again a key component of one of the latest works, BREATHING VOLUME. Breathing walls constantly swell and retract, giving the impression of being inside a living, breathing organism. Subwoofers at the back "transform the pulsing bass frequencies into the soul of the organism," while four synchronized ventilators work alongside to induce the movement of the walls and sense of breathing. https://vimeo.com/142884817 Another project, installed in 2011 in Neukölln, not far from Templhof, aims to "embrace the Passage’s "waistline" and façade". Called RINGdeLUXE, the inflatable golden ring wraps an archway as part of the "48 hours Neukölln" art festival. https://vimeo.com/25395420 RETTUNGSRING (lifesaver) is a ring that, instead of clinging to a building, floats on the river river Spree in Berlin's Treptow district. "Once inside of the structure, the visitor enjoyed the full experience of walking, sitting and relaxing on the water." https://vimeo.com/14102419 Those interested can further explore their diverse body of work here.
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This artist uses LEGO to create Brutalist buildings

LEGO is quickly becoming an increasingly popular medium among the artisan community, with the likes of Adam Reed Tucker, Tom Alphin and others using LEGO blocks to form landmark works of architecture. Now, Arndt Schlaudraff has entered the fray with a selection of Brutalist LEGO buildings set make Modernists drool. Surprisingly, there are only 11 official LEGO Certified Professionals in the world but that hasn't stopped Berlin-based "MOC" (a popular phrase in the LEGO lexicon meaning "my own creation") artist, Arndt Schlaudraff (who hails from advertising, not architecture) from building. Schlaudraff, it seems, has a taste for Brutalist-style blocks as he has created numerous replicas of Modernist masterpieces, most notably Louis Kahn's Salk Institute (above). Using only white bricks (unlike fellow creator Tom Alphin) and aided by their orthogonal nature, Schlaudraff is able to perfect the clean finishes, crisp lines, and massing often found in Brutalist architecture. While his work (or rather, hobby) is predominantly LEGO-based, other slightly more realistic elements do enter the fray. This can be seen in the form of model motorcars and scale people being included in the photographs; however, few LEGO aficionados are likely to approve of this. That said, it could also be argued that the models intentionally detract from the LEGO-style and at times it can be very easy to forget you are looking at a LEGO building because of this. If you fancy getting your hands on a copy, think again. The shelf-life of Schlaudraff's creations is virtually non-existent as he only takes the time to photograph the models before dismantling them and starting from scratch on a new design. Despite not having an architectural background, the Berlin resident commented on how his city was once used as a playground for Modernists, something which has fed his imagination. "Someone once said that Berlin is the city where the best architects of the world build their worst buildings, which I think is really funny and also a bit true," he said in a recent interview. Speaking of architecture, Schlaudraff went on to say how Mies van der Rohe's rejuvenated National Gallery in Berlin was one of his favorite buildings. "I recently followed Bjarke Ingels on Instagram. I think his projects are super interesting," he said, adding, that Herzog and de Meuron were his "all-time favorites." Speaking of his admiration of Brutalism, Schlaudraff said he enjoyed the "sculptural aspect of Brutalist architecture." "If it’s a good Brutalist building it’s like a piece of art, a big sculpture. You can walk around and always see new views and sights which look like art. Many people just see an ugly piece of rotten concrete, but it’s so much more," he continued. "As for Modernist architecture, I like that it’s so clean. The ideas of Modernist architecture are over 80 years old, but still look recent." More examples of Schlaudraff's work can be found on his Instagram feed at @lego_tonic.
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Lunch at a Landmark: Norman Foster explains the creative process behind his iconic structures

On October 7, the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation hosted its annual “Lunch at a Landmark” at the top of the Hearst Tower. Guests, New York’s elite architectural, design, and preservation cognoscenti, were offered a rare insight into the building—one from Norman Foster himself. To best explain his old-meets-new approach to the Hearst Tower, Foster revisited five of his past projects: the Reichstag in Berlin; the Millennium Bridge over the Thames; the Millau Viaduct in Millau, France; La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France; and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux. The original Art Deco Hearst building by Joseph Urban was always intended to have a tower rising from its base. However, due to complications like the Great Depression, it was nearly 80 years before that tower came to fruition. To build the 46-story-tall skyscraper, Foster scooped out the building’s interior to introduce light and create a kind of “town-square.” This move was initially contested on the grounds of “facadism” but Foster persisted. “When someone says I can’t do something, that is when I get really excited about it,” he said. Now, the dynamic lobby with its dramatic entrance that takes pedestrians over an indoor waterfall to enter is one of the building’s most iconic design moments. Of course, Foster could make an educated guess that this would be the case. He took a similar approach to Berlin’s Reichstag in 1999. In that instance, the hollowed-out core was a historically sensitive move that visually helped to give the building back to the people. Even as he preserved the Russian graffiti and other emblems of the building’s past, the clear dome in the tower physically placed the people above the government as a bright symbol of democracy. Although bridges are markedly different from buildings, Foster also connected past and present with the Millennium Bridge and the Millau Viaduct, quite literally. Taking cues from St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London, the Millennium Bridge’s thin, steel profile frames picturesque views of the city for the approximately 4 million people per year who walk across it. While France’s Millau Viaduct didn’t have to contend with any historic buildings, it presented a similar challenge in that its location, the Massif Central Region, is a National Heritage Site. Using tall piers to support the slender bridge, Foster and Michel Virlogeux (the lead engineer at Eiffage, the same company responsible for the Eiffel Tower), created a structure that only lightly touches the land and enhances the landscape for everyone driving across it. These three projects illustrate Foster’s concept of a design “marriage,” a relationship that he likens to a family, where there is a new generation that may have a distinct style, but it has very strong ties to the older generation. In two other projects he discussed, La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France, and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux, Foster opted for a different approach. For La Voile, Foster ran up against a well-intentioned law in the South of France that protected the coastline. Unfortunately, this meant that a nondescript house on his client’s property was also protected. But, by hollowing out an old stone tower from the center, Foster created a new “skin,” a design that totally swallows the original home—perfectly preserving it without compromising the new design. In fact, the fit was so perfect, that the local police raided the house once to make sure the original one was accessible underneath (it was). Along similar lines, but less dramatically, Foster integrated a new structure for making white wine at the Château Margaux winery with an 1815 building by Louis Combes. Pulling inspiration from trees and farm structures, the resulting building appears to grow both organically from the site and from its 19th Century counterpart. These five projects offer a survey of Foster’s innovative and varying approaches to melding old and new architecture in ways both familiar and unique to each site. It will be exciting to see how these approaches unfold as he turns to more radical projects such as the drone port in Rwanda and beyond.
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Snøhetta’s exhibit at Berlin’s Aedes explores natural light and human habitat in Norway

The current focus on research in architectural practice normally means thinking out the design and materials of an upcoming project or a prototype for a hoped-for commission. But when Norwegian and American firm Snøhetta was given the chance to do a research project by the Zumtobel Group they created Living The Nordic Light, and it became an exhibition at Berlin’s Aedes Architecture Forum. Snøhetta joined with artists, writers, and research institutions to investigate 
the relationship between natural light, people, and habitat in the northern region of Norway. By interviewing four centenarians living their entire lives above the Arctic Circle, they explored the irrevocable and inherent relationships of light and darkness, lived time, and individual perceptions of these relationships. It’s not the sort of research that has a direct relationship to building practice but will surely influence the intelligence with which the firm conceptualizes architectural projects and issues. A catalogue which is part of Zumtobel's annual report—a model which we wish was picked up by American companies—is available at Aedes. The exhibition is open at Aedes until October 1, 2015.
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Aluminum Organic by J. MAYER H. Architects

Ribbons of laser-cut metal lamellas envelop a glass curtain wall.

J. MAYER H. Architects designed the sculptural anodized aluminum facade of JOH3, a Berlin apartment building located near both the Friedrichstrasße and Museum Island, as a contemporary echo of its historic neighbors. “The project is located in an old part of Berlin, where there are lots of facades with stucco detail,” said project architect Hans Schneider. “We tried to do something as rich with a new design, something like Jugendstil [the German Art Deco movement] but in a modern translation.” The architects settled on floor-to-ceiling glass wrapped in undulating ribbons of laser-cut aluminum lamellas. They explored the general shape using a physical model, but completed the bulk of the design work in Rhino. Early on, said Schneider, the aluminum tubes that give the envelope its texture “were a bit thicker, a different shape,” but had to be adjusted to trim down the cost of materials. From these basic components, J. MAYER H. Architects made strategic subtractions to deliver a three-dimensional effect. “In the beginning there are tubes, and then we cut out the shapes of the lamellas always different,” explained Schneider. “There are nice interferences when you cut it.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Rupert App GmbH+Co., WICONA
  • Architects J. MAYER H. Architects
  • Facade Installer Rupert App GmbH+Co.
  • Location Berlin
  • Date of Completion Spring 2012
  • System Laser-cut anodized aluminum lamellas over glass curtain wall
  • Products anodized aluminum tubes, glass by Saint-Gobain Glass
In addition to providing aesthetic interest, said Schneider, “these lamellas protect the interior from the outside without really closing it up.” From straight on, the facade is transparent. From other angles, the overlapping aluminum blades produce varying degrees of opacity. Thus the apartment’s occupants benefit from daylighting without sacrificing privacy. “It’s still quite light, that was the idea,” said Schneider, “to have a really light building in the city but still have [protection].” As well as responding to the stucco detail on the older buildings nearby, JOH3’s organic facade, which was manufactured by Rupert App GmbH+Co. (app) and WICONA and installed by app, draws on the idea of incorporating landscape into the city. This theme amplified in the building’s interior courtyard, where the metal ribbons move in and out of plane to accommodate balconies overlooking a grassy circle. It is also present in the interior. “The floor plans don’t have these rectangular rooms, it’s all more organic,” said Schneider. The balconies and folding windows by Saint-Gobain Glass providing seamless transitions from inside to outside, while each apartment’s lounge is below grade, “so you have different levels, types [of spaces] to make it more like landscape.” The dropped floor from the apartment above is visible in the ceiling below. “That’s also very interesting,” said Schneider, “because you can feel how the different stories merge together.” JOH3’s facade initially drew skepticism from some Berliners, who pressed for a more traditional stucco design. “We had to discuss [it] several times with the city, of course, and especially with the preservation people. There were quite a lot of discussions about color, shape, and material,” said Schneider. But the lamellas, which enact historic and natural references in modern materials, eventually won over the naysayers. “They liked the design totally in the end.”
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Blue Plate Special: Bjarke Ingles Reinterprets Walter Gropius With “Big Cities” Dinnerware

In 1969, Walter Gropius designed a collection of china for Rosenthal. Named after his atelier in Cambridge, The Architects Collaborative, TAC's elegant and curious forms are pristine in white porcelain. Embellishing Gropius' design would naturally be heresy to some purists. To others, it would reflect his belief in the collaborative process. In their update of the tableware, called TAC Big Cities, architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Danish industrial design studio Kilo teamed up to create an urban motif for the collection. The skylines of Paris, New York, Berlin, London, and Copenhagen have been delineated in dark blue with a sure hand (My guess it was wielding a 7B pencil). Not meandering doodles, not too-crisp or CAD-like. This is a friendly, confident line. When wrapping around serving vessels, pitchers, and bowls, the cities' silhouettes are easily recognizable, punctuated with unmistakable architectural icons as the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate. But when projected onto the borders of plates and platters—comparatively flat surfaces—the lines distort, and read more like seismic activity graphs. It's a pleasantly unruly ornament. Dining on the town of your choice will cost about $50 for a 11-inch plate.
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Daniel Libeskind designs metallic apartment building for Berlin

Daniel Libeskind has unveiled his plans for a new apartment complex in the emerging Berlin suburb of Chausseestrasse. Set for completion in 2015, the 8-story building called Chausseestrasse 43,  will accommodate retail functions on street level and 73 individual apartments on the upper levels. The striking, metallic facade is said to contain sustainable properties which allow for self-cleaning and  air purification of the building. Libeskind's design consists of asymmetric windows and a double-height penthouse to maximize natural light. The penthouse suite also boasts a floating stairway that leads into an open-plan living area , and an outdoor patio with sweeping views of the Berlin skyline. The building is very much in the spirit of Libeskind's signature style which use sharp, angular forms to create a somewhat dramatic aesthetic. The complex occupies a rectangular parcel of land less than half an acre, and is situated directly opposite the headquarters of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service. Libeskind, who is usually engaged in institutional projects says, "Even as my studio is often called upon to design skyscrapers these days, I continue to love to build homes, the basic unit of human life."
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Top Names Shortlisted for Berlin Media Campus

Axel Springer AG Site, Berlin (Google Earth) Seeking ideas for a new 645,800 square foot media campus in Berlin, Axel Springer AG revealed its design contest by inviting twenty international firms to propose innovative schemes. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the company, specified “the building should not be overwhelmingly beautiful, but also address the question: what does material mean in a dematerialized media company, what does an office mean in a mobile working environment, in which offices are no longer really required?” The five shortlisted firms are Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Kuehn Malvezzi, Ole Scheeren, Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and SANAA. The winner will be announced in December. (Photo: Google Earth)
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The Twisting Tour Total

Barkow Leibinger designs a precast folded facade that puts a gentle spin on surrounding traditional architecture.

On one of the last urban tracts of available land in Berlin, Germany, local architecture firm Barkow Leibinger recently completed an 18-story tower, Tour Total. Highly visible from a neighboring train station, and the first completed project in the site’s 40-acre master plan, the tower has a raster facade with precast concrete panels that were geometrically computed in Rhino to create twisting inflections, conveying a sense of movement around the building’s four sides. As a load-bearing facade, 40 percent of the surface is closed, and 60 percent is triple-glazed, with every other window operable. In addition to integrated energy management strategies—the first building tenant is French energy company Total—partner Frank Barkow said the firm’s extensive background in digital fabrication and research allowed the efficient development of the dynamic facade. Drawing from the surrounding, traditionally quadrilinear brick facades of the 1920s and 30s, the tower’s lines are imbued with an engrained depth that twists optically to read differently in direct sun or cloudy weather, without actually moving.
  • Fabricator Dressler
  • Designers Barkow Leibinger
  • Location Berlin
  • Date of Completion October 2012
  • Material Precast concrete, site-cast concrete floor slabs, triple glazing, Isokorb connections, operable aluminum window frames, retractable sun louvers
  • Process Rhino, AutoCAD, CNC milling, concrete pouring, acid washing
The design team drew a series of T-shaped elements to create the exterior components, and K-modules for structural stability. “The folding K modules produce an in-and-out for continual diagonals that wrap around the corners,” Barkow told AN. Interior and exterior concrete components sandwich around glazing, windows, and insulation. To test the design, 3D models were fabricated on a CNC router. Many of the profiles in the facade assembly are repeated many times, though 160 are unique. Each cast could be used at least half a dozen times before another had to be fabricated. German fabricator Dressler milled plywood molds and white concrete was poured over an affixed release surface. Once solidified, each section was finished with an acid wash to expose the aggregate and transported to the building site. Steel pins, embedded within the structure’s poured concrete floors, connect the layers of the facade sandwich. Barkow and the concrete contractor had several discussions about eliminating an interior precast layer in combination with an Isokorb thermal break to mitigate expansion but, in the end, opted for the original design. “It’s the next technological step, for the facade to work like an exoskeleton, but we’re a few years away from that,” Barkow said. Despite budgetary and time restrictions, the LEED Gold-equivalent Tour Total was realized successfully, in part, through parametric design and advanced fabrication methods. “We’re taking advantage of northern Germany’s extremely proficient building culture and working with our fabricators here and in Switzerland as early as possible in the design process,” said Barkow. “There’s a lot of back and forth where we push them away from conservancy and they push us towards efficiency.”
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New iPad App Explores the Architecture and Urban Design of Berlin, Beirut & Venice

archipeligo_01 Architecture and urban design apps are appearing so fast its hard to keep up with the latest new site to investigate city history and growth. But a new one—Archipelago Town-lines—is the result of a 3 year-long research on three key places: Berlin, Beirut, and Venice. It uses original photo galleries, video, and audio content and interactive data visualization features, as a guide for new urban geography, history, and lifestyle of these three very different cities. These places are then place holders for the analysis of contemporary urban trends, in order to propose a new possibility for growth. A second app second section puts forwards a new model for urban growth based on 9th century Venice and the figure of the archipelago whose archetype is to be found in a place built in the impossible like Venice, namely a place in which un-built areas have the same importance as built ones. The third section of the app features video interviews of prominent architects, urban planners, and academicians, specifically produced for it, that suggest imaginary path and different reading of the urban phenomenon stimulated by the app itself. Archipelago Town-lines has been released in English as an app for the iPad. In April, it will be available for Amazon Kindle Fire and all tablets operating on an Android platform. It's worth a download!
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Daniel Libeskind Adds Three Intersecting Cubes to the Jewish Museum Berlin

Daniel Libeskind’s second contribution to the Jewish Museum Berlin since 2001, the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, will open this Saturday, November 17. The 25,000 square foot Academy is located just across from the original museum and now houses the museum library, a growing archive, and will also house lectures, workshops, and seminars. The design is named “In-Between Spaces,” alluding to the voids between three cubes that make up the Academy. The cubes mirror Libeskind’s original museum design with sharp angular forms combined with dramatic intersections. Entry into the Academy is gained through a large slash in the first cube, which leads to a middle space between the other two cubes. With large skylights and front and rear access the Academy is connected with its outside spaces. Libeskind is proud to celebrate Jewish history in his design with windows shaped like the Hebrew letters Alef and Bet, and with a quotation from the famous Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides printed across the façade: “Hear the truth, whoever speaks it,” written in English, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and the Judeo-Arabic of medieval Spain.
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Video> The Sound and Light of Berlin’s Trees

Even as Berlin loses green space, the city remains Europe’s greenest with more than 400,000 trees. One of the grandest, a 100-year-old chestnut tree towering over Montbijoupark, was the center of Tree Concert, a public art project that took place in September to bring light, literally, to the city’s diminishing greenery with a glowing LED sculpture circling the trees trunk. The project was a combination of audio and visual elements. As chestnuts fell one after the other onto a series of internally lit shapes covered with polymer membranes placed around the tree, ambient sounds emanated from hidden speakers creating a symphony for park goers. Tree Concert was put on by the ad agency Proximity BBDO Berlin and the environmental organization BUND for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany, inspired by recent years when more trees have been cut than planted. The groups also wanted to draw awareness that trees are not being properly maintained because of a lack of funding. Thus they created an easy way to donate through text messages from passing visitors. The design was executed by Gang of Berlin with music from Ketchum Pleon PR.