3 August 2011

A Lesson to the German Architectural Machinery:


Appropriation ∕ Graffiti ∕ Ornament

We are in Berlin, not Spain, and don’t need sun louvers above our windows.

There’s been talk for years within the Slab camp about launching a full-scale investigation of this particular detail, so well loved by frustrated German architects. With this article I hope to formally initiate such an action, prompting my colleagues to dig up their own pictures of this particular architectural absurdity. Inspired by sun-drenched holidays in southern Europe, louvers of this kind have been implemented in a most reckless fashion. Berlin and large parts of Germany are generally overcast, as it indeed is at the time of this writing.

The example presented here is adorns a community sports and recreation center on Winstraße, and the state of its as-built condition should have anyway taught its designers a lesson. The east-facing louvers serve no other function than to provide delinquent youths with a firm scaffolding upon which to stand whilst spraying their degenerate tags. If the quality of the graffiti in Berlin were better, one could perhaps show more understanding for such an architectural vagary. As it is, such louvers are worse than useless. They are an aesthetic and environmental abhorrence that has been desperately applied in order to distract us from the sober truth that is represented by these boxes of architectural boredom.