11 July 2013

“Based on Found Imagery”


Buildings ∕ Interiors ∕ Nature ∕ Paranoia

In 2001 Berlin’s Senate Department for Town Planning and the Berlin State Museums created the foundation Verein Internationale Bauakademie with the aim of rebuilding Schinkel’s famous academy and installing a center of excellence for architecture.

Between 1999 and 2002 part of the façade – the north-east corner – was faithfully reconstructed by apprentices of the Structural Engineering Association. In 2004 it was integrated into a printed-canvas scaffold simulation of the entire building.

Within the scaffold an exhibition and event space was created, a nested simulation of the “Red Hall”, originally located on the 1st upper floor of the Bauakademie. Parts of the outer façade were sold as advertising space for Hugo Boss, Mercedes and other international brands.

In 2008 the private real-estate company Liegenschaftsfonds Berlin, charged with selling off state property (the State of Berlin is its sole shareholder), started a bidding process to seek finances for the rebuilding. One condition was that the majority of the building would be handed over free of charge to an as yet founded Academy for Architecture and Urban Planning.

The conditions proved too hard to meet, the bidding process stalled and was eventually cancelled in 2010.

Whilst the Senate still expresses an interest in the rebuilding project and the founding of a new Academy, the canvas façades have faded, and undergrowth has been allowed to flourish within the scaffold.

Last week the textile exterior was stripped away, revealing deep structural absurdities and a burgeoning forest within.

Click on any image to open an annotated slideshow.

The Bauakademie simulation, viewed from the north-west. Remnants of the canvas-print façade left hanging in the wind.

Wood-chip boards served as an internal perimeter wall.

A rare and beautiful thing: insightful graffiti.

A glimpse of the interior

One of the six real windows.

Inside out

The view through the window reveals a complex mesh of off-the-shelf fencing, scaffold walkways and loose polyethylene sheets.

Barbed wire has been used to secure the interior against trespass.

The dense latticework has served to inadvertently trap airborne seeds over a period of nine years.

Whilst the work of stone masons is considered to be an invaluable cultural treasure worthy of subsidization, anonymous scaffolders are diligently stitching together much of Berlin.

Absurd fantasies of permanence butting up against the reality of provisionality: the Berlin condition in a nutshell.