Chaotic Berlin: a city simultaneously burying history and memorializing guilt, in which the best of its past is obscured by the global anonymity of the present. The disintegration of the city and its culture was anticipated and contextualized by Hermann Broch in his trilogy The Sleepwalkers (1936). The book describes the fragmentation of the universal belief in one law and one morality, which was reflected in the civic order. Retracing Broch’s steps backwards, the proposed Kunsthochschule project reclaims Berlin’s specific spatial and building typologies. Every urban space enjoys a dual identity: from the building that addresses it and as a part of the spatial armature which embraces the city. Civic homogeneity is derived from the Berlin “double block” and its ability to accommodate spatial diversity—residential, office, department store, school, and factory. The block can be reinterpreted with improvised inhabitation, which side-steps conventional functional demarcations.
The proposed new building was informed by these two typologies, which reinforce spatial identity and operational adaptability. Spatially, it redefines the southern perimeter of the Lustgarten and Unter den Linden—the primary route between east and west Berlin. The building creates and contains a garden that links the park extending to Alexanderplatz, Schinkel’s Bauakademie to the west and Breite Straße, to the south.