25 March 2010

Hejduk – Early Results


Activism ∕ Sick Buildings


There have been a handful of positive developments in the continuing campaign against the blandification of John Hejduk’s tower:

Firstly, BerlinHaus has updated its news page with an open letter* acknowledging the demand for a public discussion on the fate of the building.

Secondly, and more recently, word has reached us that renovation work has been halted following discussions between Matthias Peckskamp, director of Town Planning at the Senate Department for Urban Development, and Mr Lomb, architect in charge of the changes.

Thirdly, Petra Vellinga, director of the Berlin State Association of German Architects, has informed us that she has urged members to show their support via the petition. Both are very welcome signs, as it means that the city is really getting involved.

The petition, which has only been online for a week, has been growing at a staggering rate (nearly 400 signatures per day), and now reads like a Who’s Who list. Alongside some of the biggest names in contemporary international architecture, it has been particularly pleasing to observe growing support coming out of Berlin itself over the last 48 hours.

On the press front, city listings magazine Tip seem to be poised for an article, and net coverage has grown to include Blueprint, Design Observer (in the “Observed” sidebar), Baunetz, MoNa, Exportabel, B-like-Berlin.

Between posting campaign updates and attending to my day job, there has been little time to reflect more on the reasons why I think this is a cause worth supporting. I intend on coming back to this soon.

The Petition

* English translation:

Project development Charlottenstraße 96-97

As new owners of the building ensemble Charlottenstraße 96-97 in Berlin – Kreuzberg we are planning urgently necessary facade repairs.

After the completion of some initial works, we have received repeated requests to engage in a broader public discussion in respect to the design of the facades, and to consider the special characteristics of the building and its architecture.

We see ourselves as a responsible company, which does not only undertake refurbishment for the preservation and increase in property values, but acknowledge the interaction which takes place between such measures and their surroundings and site specific conditions.

Therefore we are glad to face up to the challenge of finding a broad design consent.

First discussions into how a promising inclusion of different interests groups of can be achieved, are currently taking place.

We are glad to continuously keep you informed about the current state of this process.