11 October 2009

Cookie Cutter Gothic


Buildings ∕ Weather

“Cookie Cutter Style” is one of the phrases I use to describe an architectural non-movement which shaped Berlin during the 1990s. By this I mean, largely, a collection of architecturally unambitious structures which all complied faithfully to Hans-Stimman-era building directives which were dubbed “critical reconstruction”. Sandstone cladding, lots of right-angles and a uniform building height of 22 meters has come to define the face of post-reunification Berlin.

Nosferatu, hunched over his tax return? Glinkastraße [ Click to enlarge ]

But late last night, roaming around in the rain in search of a bar with fellow SLAB editor, Mr Miller, the right kind of light and the wrong kind of weather joined forces in casting two unwitting members of the Cookie Cutter Style in a gothic horror movie.

The sandstone horror! Villa Voss – Voßstraße 16 [ Click to enlarge ]

Why are architect’s so obsessed by photographing their work in bright sunlight, when a little cumulonimbus gloom works wonders for the blandest of archievements? Maybe it’s time to reappraise Stimmann-era architecture under the aspect of pending climate change and increased precipitation.