Flussbad Talks

Believe it or not, it does get really hot in Berlin in the summer. And the swimming pools get more than crowded. Wouldn't it be great to have a refreshing quick dip right in the city centre, next to the Museum Island, in the Spree? But how would that be possible whatsoever? The project “Flussbad Berlin,” initially developed by realities:united in 2012, calls for a radical approach towards historical urban spaces and a re-appropriation of public space that goes well off beyond the usual notions of sustainability...

Treasures in Disguise

The Montenegro Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale presents four examples of late-modernist architecture that were built in Montenegro between 1960 and 1986. When these buildings were first constructed, they radiated their builders’ enthusiasm and confidence about the new society they were building. Only a few decades later, these buildings embody the complete opposite: poorly used (if at all) and maintained (if ever completed), they are a testament to the failure of modernism. Nobody seems to be able to recognize any value in them; hence, their fate seems sealed...

Druot, Lacaton & Vassal — Tour Bois le Prêtre

“You don’t really gain anything by demolishing an edifice and rebuilding it in the same place with a contemporary look.” Devoted to that principle, French architects Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal transformed a typical 1960's high-rise in the northern suburbs of Paris into a new residential building in 2001. An exhibition on the project curated by Ilka and Andreas Ruby with Something Fantastic was held in three different venues, and it provided its visitors insight into one the most successful renovation practices of the recent years...

MACHEN! lecture series

Walls cast out of adobe and lightweight concrete; ceilings crafted using bamboo and wood; a reed-based filtration system capable of transforming the River Spree into a swimming pool: the exhibition MACHEN! presented six projects that conceive of sustainability not as a mere technological embellishment, but as a key design principle. The parallel MACHEN! lecture series gave the audience the chance to gain insight of these projects firsthand, as the creators got to present and discuss on their awarded work in three sessions...

MACHEN! exhibition

Initially launched as a positive desideratum for building, the concept of sustainability has over time become increasingly problematic. Few projects today can dispense with the “s” word, or resist the temptation to obscure the dirty little secrets of construction with a halo of ecological benevolence. Thanks to greenwashing, deceptive marketing, and whitewashed statistics, the word sustainability amounts to little more than a PR line, its meaning dissolved like an effervescent tablet in a water glass...

BKULT

BKULT initiiert Debatten zur Gebauten Umwelt. Dazu stellt die Redaktion im Zweiwochenrhythmus eine Frage, die sich mit den Bedingungen unserer gebauten Umwelt auseinandersetzt, zur Diskussion und lädt Gäste ein, zu dieser Frage pro oder contra Stellung zu nehmen. Darunter sind neben Architekten auch Journalisten, Soziologen, Schriftsteller, Philosophen und Personen des öffentlichen Lebens...

min to max

As cost of living increases in Berlin, and in other cities around the world, demand for affordable housing becomes even more pressing. In search of new strategies for housing, Min to Max revisits a crucial development of early Modernism: the Minimum Subsistence Dwelling (Die Wohnung für das Existenzminimum). Formulated at the 2nd CIAM conference, held in Frankfurt in 1929, this doctrine intended to improve living conditions for the working poor by establishing a minimum standard necessary for dignified living...

Not More Not Less

With regard to its immanent powers, architecture today seems to be both under-challenged and over-charged at the same time. This biomorphic paradigm has reduced architecture’s potential to just dealing with issues concerning geometry, form-making, and manufacturing, whilst depriving it of any political impact. On the other hand, there is a programmatic notion of practice which reduces architecture to a predominantly political project, ignoring the fact that a building must eventually embody its contents through its tectonic and formal definition...

Endless Bauhaus

Has the Bauhaus already become a historical entity of the past or does it still have a contemporary presence? Which of its original intentions and ambitions have survived and can be tied in with the present? Which of its ideas seem unrealizable today? Is there anything genuinely owed to the Bauhaus? Has its general claim and aspiration for a unity of the creative forces in the arts and crafts, science and technology become anachronistic today – or do we need such goals more than ever in view of increasingly diversified and specialized societies? ...

Contemporary Architecture

The installation “Contemporary Architecture,” by realities:united at archcouture in Halle, Germany is a piece of subtle transfiguration. Tim and Jan Edler of realities:united, through the manipulation of standard light fixtures, made legible a quality usually invisible in architecture: time...