28 April 2011

Point, Understated


Place Making ∕ Public Space ∕ Urban Environment

The Fernsehturm's underwhelming arrivalEverything about this singular point, which partially delivers the structural mega-ness of the Fernsehturm to the platz at Alex, speaks of an architectural moment.

None of its surrounding accoutrements regard it as so:

The stout little soldier trash bin, standing guard like a de-commissioned Stasi agent  serving as art museum security, darting behind columns in hopes of some action.

The steel fence that wags its Berliner finger at you, shallowly planted in a time when punishments were harsher, inviting only the very disobedient, or very tall, to stride up the fluted roof, climb onto an architectural monument, and strut around in Berlin’s famous silhouette.

The shy capitalist bike rental sign, inching away from this vortex-vertex, seeking its own meagre limelight.  The not-so-carefully raked triangle of sand below the roof rejecting its fate as planter for vegetation, in favour of planter for architectural vanishing point, at the same time providing a rather generous urban ash-tray.

In a landscape of whirling signs, ducks (if you’ve ever considered the Fernsehturm to connote the toothpick and olive of the terrible martinis served atop), and the golden hands of well-petted statues Marx and Engels, this architectural point has been undersold.

Perhaps what’s needed is a loud neon sign blinking “Stop! Momentous!” or “Damn Right it’s a Pin Joint!