IS THAT ALLOWED? In our project in Berlin, a 6-storey single family terraced house in a newly built „developer ensemble“, whose construction had almost brought down the Friedrichwerdersche Kirche by Karl Friedrich Schinkel – we ourselves experienced that our ideal and romantic design clashed the technical standards of today, which the developer wanted to use unconditionally. After initial disappointment, we didn´t only accept this condition but started to love the restriction and to see it as enormously enriching for the design process. The examination of standard profile systems by Schueco had a significant influence on the proportioning of the façades. We have adjusted the details of the cornices and guardrails according to coarsening of the façade profiles. In our opinion we made them more precise, refined and filled them with the present. The choice of neutral color for the window profiles also stands for what we would call „sensual neutrality“. On the other hand, we were also able to assert ourselves on one point: namely on the 50 degree kinks (bents; the standard kink is normally either 45/ 135 degrees). Although our minimum purchase quantity was far too little, we achieved to build in rounded special profiles. We then adapted the façade geometry so that this one profile could be used for both the inner and outer kinks; as well as for the courtyard and street façade. Nevertheless, we have to admit that the profile was produced in excess. Behind this, is a kind of critical affirmation towards the standards of our time, which we try to meet with increased precision on a primary design level. We therefore like to refer to the concept of technology and to the conditions of production. Like Hermann Czech we believe that design is not limited to the search of artificial atmospheres, feelings and images. In Czech´s words, architecture should not be thought of from consumption, but from the point of view of making (in the sense of creating) – so among other things, (also) from the technical conditions. We would like to say that architecture should not be based on too clearly achievable effects.
And yet at the end of the day the question remains: Is it still appropriate to build luxury homes? Whether with artistic intentions or not.
Of course not!
Let’s say no, no and no again.
Another aspect that is currently being discussed with regard to the overall ensemble Kronprinzengärten is the connection to the topic of the so-called „Rechte Räume / Right Spaces“. Even if we personally may not feel addressed by this, we must admit that our contribution to this ensemble – even if involuntarily or unconsciously or at least naively – represents a collaboration that we would no longer enter into today. But just a few years ago we were not aware of these connections, which we also see today.
And why don’t you delete this project from your website?
Good question, but of course, like so many other architects, we somehow still like the result of our work. Of course, it’s a question of vanity or maybe transparency about what we’ve done.
But the dilemma exists, of course.
Programme Single family house
Gross floor area 635 m2
Service Lph 2-4 HOAI, including design details façade
Team Florian Fischer, Noemi Orth, Antonia Sivjakov, Adrian Pigat
Photography Simon Burko, Burko Jaeger / Sebastian Schels, Pk Odessa