Landscape improvement strategy // Berlin, DE // Competitive Tender // February 2014
  • Postblock: A site of diversity
    The Postblock was one of the largest perimeter blocks of the baroque Friedrichstadt.
    Historically, the site was characterised by a spatial integrity and a programmatic diversity typical of the Berlin block, housing diverse institutions such as a market hall, the General Post Office, a substation and many publishers and production companies in the newspaper and book industries at the edge and in its depth. Completely destroyed during World War II, the area remained undeveloped until today, and the open space has taken on its own hybrid identity occupied by many different users.
  • The hybrid identity of the block
    The 3 streets that surround the area, Leipzigerstrasse, Wilhelmstrasse and Zimmerstrasse define the nature of this diversity, establishing 3 contextual narratives to which the block reacts:
    Leipziger Straße - the axis of representation
    Wilhelmstrasse - the axis of the visible and invisible history
    Zimmerstraße - A nexus of urban discovery
    Our approach has been to work with these different identities and the hybrid character of the area and amplify them through the reorganization of the respective edge conditions.
  • Aerial photo of the existing situation and site plan of the project
  • Zimmerstrasse / Wilhelmstrasse – View of the current situation
  • Zimmerstrasse – View over the 'Square of Urban Discovery'
  • Zimmerstrasse/ Wilhelmstrasse: 'Square of Urban Discovery'
    We propose to move the existing containers to pavement edge to create a real street frontage. In the corner, a new public space which foregrounds the drama of the “High-Flyer” greater visibility. In the northern area of the new square, catering units are provided in additional containers to create an edge to Wilhelmstrasse and energis the new square.
  • Zimmerstrasse: Isometric projection of the new street frontage
    On the surface of the new square, a matrix of local relationships is painted, along their direction from the site. Through this, a new spatial relationship is established between the surrounding city , and the balloon as it rises into the sky and returns to the ground. This relational matrix is also an organizational grid for simple timber seating elements.
  • Wilhelmstrasse – View of the current situation
  • Wilhelmstrasse – View of the new edge condition
    As a result of the massive destruction during the Second World War no trace of the historical buildingsof the block along the Wilhelmstrasse remained. On the road edge history is made visible again by revisiting the historical site division.
    At the sites of the former courtyard entrances, stones with a discrete markings delineate the historical house numbers. The stones acts as a supplement to the existing History Mile along Wilhelmstrasse, which the particular history of the post block is set in relationship with the rest of the axis.
  • Wilhelmstrasse - Aerial Perspective of the new edge
    Through precise, punctual displacement of existing fencing a clear road edge is defined with a uniform strip of about 1.5 m between pavement edge and fence, integrating the existing grass verge and the entrances into the post block into the new edge.
  • Wilhelmstrasse - Isometric projection around Buchhändlerweg
    At Buchhändlerweg and the entrance to E-Werk an information structure about the history of the area is proposed with integrated seating.
  • Leipzigerstrasse / Wilhelmstrasse - View of the current situation
  • Leipzigerstrasse – View over 'Speakers’ Corner'
    Inspired by the idea of ‘Social Sculpture’ of Joseph Beuys, and Speakers' Corner in London, we propose a place dedicated to the principles of free speech at the corner of Leipziger Strasse / Wilhelmstrasse, one of the most prominent places of the city. The green area on the road east of the corner is also integrated into the idea as a spill-over space, an open-air ‘Dabating Salon’, served one side by the activities on the corner and on the other by the Café Cahoona. It provides a safe haven for informal meeting and debate.
  • Leipzigerstrasse – Aerial Perspective of the new edge condition
  • Leipzigerstrasse - Isometric of the new ‘Speakers’ Corner’
    Our new Speakers’ Corner is made up of the following built elements:
    - A robustly surfaced open space for crowds to gather;
    - A number of blackboards aligned as a continuation of the façade of the Federal Ministry of Finance. In addition to the standing panels, further slate blackboards are lying on the ground two slates are used in the ground. The blackboards invite public communication and appropriation;
    - A wooden bench along the over the length of the perimeter fence, punctuated by small railing elements, each with an integrated chalk dispenser;
    - A lighting post with cameras and lamps to illuminate the zone and to record the activity;
    The interplay of these elements deliberately is designed to create a politically charged tension between the right to freedom of expression and the duties of public responsibility.
  • Leipzigerstrasse: Process- dissemination, collection, curation, archiving

Client: Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt Berlin // Site Area: 2,4 Hectares // Budget: 200,000 €