IMD _Institute of Media and Design

copyright _IMD

ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | Master Thesis Project | In.Form the Void | Berlin

In close proximity to the former Main Train Station of the GDR, the now called “Ostbahnhof” in Friedrichshain, there is one of the few remaining voids in the pattern of Berlin’s urban fabric. The site is bordered by a 200m Plattenbau to its North and train tracks to its South. Here, the collaged pattern of Berlin’s city genesis is visible and perceptible.
The GDR’s urban development with its well-known Plattenbau housing projects and the ideological motivated architectural layout of the Karl-Marx-Allee (former Stalin Allee) defines the northern area. To the west, the money-driven transformation of the area with the “Media Spree” development plans that now are under construction are going to house many global and world-famous companies’ headquarters. Next to them, the touristy Eastside-Gallery, the longest kept section of the Berlin wall that was transformed into an open air mural art gallery borders the Spree river. South of the site, across the Spree river, Kreuzberg with its squatted houses, rich history of anarchistic, artistic cultural and sub-cultural projects and experiments pushes different ideas about urban development and concepts of life.

Within this intersection of different stakeholders, motives, ideas, ideologies and forces the master theses deal with the challenge of not having a defined program or brief, but to develop a vision for an architectural project.
Through extensive research a personal concept and strategy lead to two very different approaches.

Daniel Kemna deals with the housing crisis in dense urban situations and the struggle for affordable individualised and user curated domestic projects. By introducing a plinth that hosts a factory to produce walls, modules and parts that can be used to develop one’s own house in low- mid- and high-tech on-site production is possible and encouraged. On top of the plinth a load-bearing framework that hosts basic infrastructure like elevators, staircases as well as pipes or electricity organises the space of possibilities. Within the framework community lead democratic processes by the cooperative decide and built their individual projects. The whole project is defined by an ever-changing process of building, tearing down and complementation as a visionary counterpoint to today’s building reality.

Jörn Hilker develops his project based on ideas of recycling and up-cycling as an alternative draft to reminiscences of industrial products and waste management. He uses the typical Berlin S-Bahn arches to extend the site to the other side of the train tracks. Here people can bring their old, broken or disused goods. The main building, a huge free spanning industrial hall, deals with the disassembly and reassembly of the different products and materials. Different industrial manufacturing lines break the delivered objects fully automated with the latest technologies, but also manually for processes that can’t be done by machines, yet. In the other half of the factory, creative workers use the stored deconstructed parts to rebuilt or up-cycle them into new machines, works of art or experimental ideas. Then, a market place that extends through the S-Bahn arches functions as a showroom and shopping area. The roof of the building is open to the public and 24/7 accessible for anyone – which on the one hand is an attractor to pique visitor’s curiosity and on the other hand adds a new unique public space with open-air cinema, stages, swimming-pools, sports courts and areas to gather or stroll to the urban fabric.

Coaching by: Prof. Matthias Karch & Nicolai Schlapps
Examiner: Prof. Matthias Karch
Co-examiner: Dr. Martin Peschken (GTAS TU-BS)
Student work by: Daniel Kemna, Jörn Hilker
Photography © Nicolai Schlapps