Posts tagged with "Berlin":

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Herzog & de Meuron win commission to design Berlin's Museum of the 20th Century

Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron, working with German landscape architects Vogt, has seen off competition from 41 other practices to design the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin. New York studios SO-IL, Snøhetta, and REX were in the running for the $218.8 million project, along with British firms Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects. Danish firm Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter was announced as runner-up, while German practice Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten was awarded third prize. Back in November 2014, Germany’s parliament put aside 200 million euros for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and a new, much-needed building to show 20th-century art at the Cultural Forum (a collection of cultural institutions located at the edge of West Berlin). In September 2015, a competition was launched for a design strategy that would include the site layout, architecture, and landscaping of the museum. The Swiss firm's winning proposal depicts the museum extensively clad in brick, with a pitched roof spanning its entire length. Inside, the space will be divided into four parts with a sycamore tree being placed in the northeast quarter amid a restaurant area. With this space set among the galleries and art storage, the museum will become a place for art, meeting, and archival storage. Circulatory devices inside aim for crossovers between groups of visitors that wouldn't usually meet. Herzog and de Meuron explained: "The museum is the place where different paths cross, where different mentalities and worlds allow an encounter. It has several entrances, as it is oriented in all directions. It draws attention to the local collection of art." “Internationally significant art collections” will be on display, including the National Gallery’s Marx and Pietzsch collections, parts of the Marzona collection, and works from the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings). The museum will also connect to the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie through an underground tunnel. Speaking in a press release, Culture Minister Monika Grütters spoke of the jury process: “The great interest [in] the project shows that it is an attractive challenge for any renowned agency to build in this neighborhood."
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Olson Kundig Owner/Principal Alan Maskin wins Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation competition

Today it was announced Olson Kundig Owner/Principal Alan Maskin would design the Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation’s new Kindermuseum. Aimed at five- to twelve-year-olds, the Kindermuseum will sit within an old wholesale flower market, which is itself located between the Daniel Libeskind-designed Academy of the Jewish Museum and the museum's administrative offices. According to a recent release, the museum has a €3.44 million budget, with an additional €2.11 million going toward creating the exhibition. Maskin's proposal was chosen from twelve invitees after two rounds of jury selections, the first of which took place in late April. His design will focus on the story of Noah's Ark: “The design by Olson Kundig has the potential to unpack the biblical story in all its relevance, as well as building connections with the present day―rescuing people and animals, the relationship between nature and civilization, and the chance to make new beginnings,” said Peter Schäfer, director of the Jewish Museum, in a press release. The jury added that, in Maskin's proposal, “The scenography is extremely attractive and professional in terms of museum pedagogy. Its use of the Noah’s Ark motif playfully picks up on topical and relevant themes such as diversity, migration, creation, second chances, and new beginnings. The visitor is Noah, and can experience the multiple facets of these topics―on their own or in interaction and role-play.” This is the second win for Olson Kundig in an international competition this year: the firm took first place in Blank Space's  “Fairy Tales 2016" back in April.
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Star-studded list of international architects compete for new Berlin museum

A total of 42 firms have been selected in the most recent round of a design competition for the Museum of the 20th Century. The museum will be located in the heart of the Berlin Cultural Forum. New York practices SO-IL, Snøhetta and REX are on the list, along with British firms Zaha Hadid Architects and David Chipperfield Architects. Back in November 2014, Germany’s parliament put aside 200 million euros for the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and a new, much-needed building to show 20th century art at the Cultural Forum. In September 2015, a competition was launched for a design strategy that would include the site layout, architecture, and landscaping of the museum. The new building is set to display "internationally significant art collections" including the National Gallery's Marx and Pietzsch collections, parts of the Marzona collection, and works from the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings). Now whittled down to a pool of 42, of which 13 were invited agencies, the selected firms will submit more detailed proposals mid-September of this year. A jury is due to meet the following month to decide where to go from there. Culture Minister Monika Grütters explained: "The great interest [in] the project shows that it is an attractive challenge for any renowned agency to build in this neighborhood. We expect exciting and bold designs [that] dare the restructuring of the Cultural Forum, without challenging the existing ensemble," which includes the nearby Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie. President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation Hermann Parzinger said: "It must be possible to combine outstanding architectural and urban design with the requirements of a museum in the 21st century. I want a building that sets a new mark at this location, but it brings the necessary openness." The finalists include the following offices:
  • 3XN Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark with Henrik Jorgenson Landskab, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Aires Mateus e Associados, Lisbon, Portugal with PROAP Lda, Lisbon
  • Beatriz Elena Alés + Zaera, Castelló, Spain
  • Arga16, Berlin, Germany with Anne Wex Berlin, Germany
  • Barkow Leibinger GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Professor Gabriele Kiefer, Berlin, Germany
  • BAROZZI / VEIGA GmbH, Barcelona, Spain with antón & Ghiggi landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten, Berlin, Germany with Capatti staubach Landscape Architects, Berlin, Germany
  • David Chipperfield Architects, Berlin, Germany with Wirtz International NV, Schoten
  • CHOE Hackh / CUTE ARCHITECTS, Frankfurt am Main, Germany with Park Design, Kejoo Park, Seoul, South Korea
  • Christ & Gantenbein Architects, Basel, Switzerland with Fontana Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Basel
  • Cukrowicz nachbaur ARCHITEKTEN ZT GMBH, Bregenz, Austria with Studio Volcano, Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH, Zurich
  • Pedro Domingos arquitectos unip. Ida + Pedro Matos Gameiro arquitecto Ida Lisbon, Portugal with Baldios arquitectos paisagistas, Ida Lisbon, Portugal
  • Dost architecture Schaffhausen, Switzerland with Boesch landscape architecture Schaffhausen, Switzerland
  • Max Dudler architect, Berlin, Germany with Planorama Landscape Architecture, Berlin
  • Sou Fujimoto Architects, Tokyo, Japan with Latz + Partner, Kranzberg, Germany
  • Gmp International GmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • Grüntuch Ernst planning GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Sinai Society of Landscape Architects mbH, Berlin, Germany
  • Zaha Hadid Limited (Zaha Hadid Architects), London, United Kingdom with GREAT.MAX. Ltd., Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • HASCHER JEHLE architecture, design and consulting Hascher Jehle GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Weidinger Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin, Germany
  • Heinle, Wischer und Partner, Freie Architekten Berlin, Germany with Prof. Heinz W. Hallmann Landscape Architect Aachen, Germany
  • Herzog & De Meuron, Basel, Switzerland with Vogt Landscape architects, Zurich / Berlin
  • Florian Hoogen Architect BDA Mönchengladbach, Germany with hermanns landscape architecture / environmental planning Schwalmtal, Germany
  • Lacaton & VASSAL ARCHITECTS, Paris, France with CYRILLE MARLIN, Pau, France
  • Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter A / S, Copenhagen, Denmark with SCHØNHERR A / S, Copenhagen
  • Mangado Y ASOCIADOS SL, Pamplona, Spain with TOWNSHEND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS LIMITED, London, United Kingdom
  • Josep Lluis Mateo - MAP Arquitectos, Barcelona, Spain with D'ici là paysages & territoires, Paris, France
  • Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA); Rotterdam, Netherlands with Inside Outside, Amsterdam
  • Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris, France with Agence Louis Benech, Paris, France
  • REX Architecture PC, New York, USA with Marti-Baron + Miething, Paris, France
  • Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Berlin, Germany with Gustafson Porter, London
  • Schulz and Schulz Architekten GmbH, Leipzig, Petra and Paul Kahlfeldt Architekten, Berlin with POLA Landscape Architects, Berlin, Germany
  • Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA, Tokyo, Japan with Bureau Bas Smets, Brussels, Belgium
  • Shenzhen Huahui Design Co., Ltd. Nanshan (Shenzhen), China with Beijing Chuangyi Best Landscape Design Co. Ltd. Beijing, China
  • Snøhetta architects, Oslo, Norway
  • SO - IL Ltd, New York, USA with Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston, USA
  • Staab Architekten GmbH, Berlin, Germany with Levin Monsigny, Berlin
  • TOPOTEK 1, Berlin, Germany and Pordenone, Italy with TOPOTEK 1 Berlin, Germany
  • Emilio Tuñón Arquitectos, Madrid, Spain, Tunon & Ruckstuhl GmbH Architects SIA, Rüschlikon, Switzerland with Benavides Laperche, Madrid, Spain
  • UNStudio, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wenzel + Wenzel Freie Architekten, Berlin, Germany with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl GmbH, Ueberlingen, Germany
  • ARGE Weyell Zipse architect / architect horns Basel, Switzerland with James Melsom landscape architect BSLA, Basel, Switzerland
  • Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Co., Ltd., Yokohama, Japan, Holzer Kobler Architects Berlin GmbH, Berlin, Germany, Holzer Kobler Architects GmbH, Zurich,
  • Switzerland with vetschpartner Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland
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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.”