‘Unité d’habitation Berlin’ by Le Corbusier 1959 @ Flatowallee 16, Berlin-Westend, February 27th, 2012

Posted on Updated on

Le Corbusier’s visionary 1922 city plan, known as Ville Contemporaine envisioned massive residential blocks set in open green areas—towers in parks, bringing light and air to the residents of urban housing. Like most grand modernist visions, the Ville Contemporaine was never built in its entirety. Its influence on subsequent developments in city planning, however, is clear – notably on post-war reconstruction in Europe and public housing in the United States.

The unité d’habitation type was most notable for its creation of internal streets (essentially elaborate hallway) and accommodation of social and communal functions: kindergartens, medical facilities, recreational spaces, within the housing block. Le Corbusier designed several variations of the unité d’habitation, the most famous of which is in Marseille, Francein 1952. All were derived from this. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nowadays the Berlin unité, built between 1956-1959, lacks most of the amenities (save a shop and a post office on the ground floor), but is considered unique for its more generously sized apartments. It accommodates 530 units on 17 floors. The internal streets here are oppressive, windowless corridors. Still, the building is in quite good condition. Its hilltop setting, iconic formal qualities, and polychromatic facades are very striking. Apparently there is a community of intelectuals, architects, fotographers, writers, designers etc… that take good care of the building ’cause they may find very attractive living in a Le Corbusier house, far for the original purpose of the building: accomodating a low class people and trying to do their lives easier.

In the slideshow, pics from the time the building was built (1959), located in the building hall. Text source and my own

‘Cloud Cities’ from Tomás Saraceno @ Hamburger Bahnhof, November 26th 2011

Posted on Updated on

Tomás Saraceno’s installations shatter traditional concepts relating to place, time, gravity and traditional ideas as to what constitutes architecture. His works are utopian and invite the viewer to play a part in their impact on a particular space, as they reach up to the sky and down to the ground.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The artist creates gardens that hang in the air and allow visitors to float in space, fulfilling a dream shared by all humankind. Saraceno draws inspiration from soap bubbles and the incredible strength and flexibility of spider webs.

The interests of the artist are broad and he moves with confidence from place to place throughout the world. With his studio in Frankfurt, it is unsurprising that the city’s international airport plays an important role in his work. Everything he does appears to develop from a certain degree of boundlessness, motivated by an interest in the changes taking place in the world in which we live.

Each of his objects invites the viewer to consider alternative forms of knowledge, feelings and our interaction with others.

The exhibition will give visitors the chance to see for themselves how the hanging settlements interact with each other and the space, not merely by observing them from afar, but by actually entering them.