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Internationale Bauaustellung 1987
28.05 01.06 1987
Berlin & Wolfsburg

In collaboration with:


The confrontation with this Berlin, this part of west island as in East Germany, is a shocking experience. Nowhere are the political contradictions so keenly felt as here. A feeling that each of us must experience to feel the relativity of force, as it is played so great on both sides of the barriers.

This article has been automatic translated for your convenience, the original Dutch text can be viewed by changing the language preference.

  • Berliner erlebnisse – 1 *

Some of your articles on its recent history with its political backgrounds discussed. No other city, anywhere in the world, is, politics gezein, manipulated as Berlin. Berlin, the artificial city. Berlin, schizophrenic city.

Afterwards we talk about its urban approach. On how the urban vizie an instrument as well is in the hands of politicians.
With names of great architects in its blazon Berlin is the only city where so many reputable builders look each other in the eyes. Between October ’63, the year the Philharmonic Hans Sharoun was completed, and now, a series of masters his Berlin which took office to make the mecca of architecture.

The confrontation with this Berlin, this part of west island as in East Germany, is a shocking experience. Nowhere is the political contradictions are as keenly felt as here. An experience that each of us must experience the relativity of the show of force, as it is played so great on both sides of the barriers, to estimate its proper dimension. Berlin is a huge Teater where the fabric has not been dropped. Berlin, das grosse Schauspiel.

For a moment back the clock.
Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben, eight, neun, zehn, wir unsere woolen Führer sehen.
The takeover on Monday, January 30th is a fact. It’s a great day. For the window of the Reichskanzlerei state Adolf Hitler. A little further on, Hinder Burg. Over five years, knows the NSDAP from 2.6 percent to 43.9 percent work on the largest party in Germany.

Its membership rising from 27,000 in ’25 to 3,900,000 in August ’33.
The charisma of this man was so fascinating that he demokratische enabled all institutions which had brought him to power to abolish all political opponents, physical to liquidate not only his country but also across Europe, joining in a devastating war to drag.
The result is well known. Berlin, a city full of holes, with 90 million m3 of debris.

The rule is divided between the Soviet Union, the United States, England and France. First there is free movement between East and West, during which approx. 1.5 million inhabitants will move to East West. On August 13, 1961 Moscow felt that it was enough. In this night put East German soldiers on the border of the Soviet area. In the years the “wall” built afterwards. A terrifying construction, a four-meter high concrete wall and behind a wasteland of sand and anti-tank stockade. In the sit down nearly 300 towers along the concrete border 24 hours on 24, border guards constantly staring off this area and the western part.

The East wanted to protect against Western fascism. The West saw things differently. This “wall” of the shame was preventing the Eastern part emptied. At the beginning of the year ’61 were no fewer than 2,000 people per day across the border.
That same night, however, the separation was complete. Flight Efforts since then, which usually end in bloody confrontations find their testimony in a small museum in one of the border crossings.

Berlin, the once magnificent city on the Spree, was divided into two zones: West Berlin with an area of ​​480 km2 and East Berlin, where the old town is located, with an area of ​​400km2.

Its at the end of the thirties, population of 4.2 million declined since then to 2.1 million in the West and 1.2 million in East Berlin.
Of the 480 km2 wetsektor is built from about 37 percent, from about 20 percent consists of woodland and pasture and one third of its surface is natural.

Despite the fact that West Berlin is a paragon of Western capitalism, she is confronted with a number of problems not bad.
Of its 2 million inhabitants is one of four retired. Partly because of this aging there is a housing shortage, despite the fact that its inhabitants number constantly reduced. The current labor force is from about 10 percent unemployed. A growing number of foreigners present from about 15 percent of the total population, working ghettos in hand. Its island position caused minor outlets, high transport costs and extremely high land prices.

Pizzas, hot sausage, Mercedes, BMW, Warhol, Miro, American soldiers in Mustangs, felt sprayed jaguars, prostitution, human flesh, pimps, speed, light lots of light, hysterical, Kurfürstendamm, West Berlin.

Melancholic monumental calm, serene, majestic, witnessing a glorious past, Unter den Linden, East Berlin.

Few reminds us of the masterly novel by Alfred Döblin: Berlin, Alexander Plats.

West Berlin, the gilded cage, this showcase of “the good life” is a city that never sleeps. The Kurfürstendamm is never empty. This infamous boulevard which deeners skateboarding, where green-haired punks in metal coated jackets try to discover the emptiness of existence, where businessmen in perfectly pressed suits make the big ornamental, where heavy hitters human flesh recommend that boulevard is a showcase of excessionele contrasts.
Besides the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, centrally located on the Kurfürstendamm, does nothing here to remind us that day 40 years ago, which Berlin made a big mess.

The largest city in West Germany, with its own parliament and its billion annual budget, fed from Bonn, may the example of western decadence would be, were it not that a big part of this budget was also pumped into the cultural life. This year alone already 10 billion francs to culture siphoned.
With its 52 museums, 20 Teaters, 117 art galleries, three symphonies and two universities, this city at the forefront of the cultural and artistic event. Grandeur and quality go hand in hand.
No trip to Berlin is completely successful if they are not experiencing at least one concert in the world famous Philharmonie. A rewarding spiritual experience where music and architecture become one. Who has ever experienced this will never nor to a concert without the memory of this unforgettable gebeurtenis.Vlakbij the Philharmonie is a first museumkomplex with in the center the Neue Narionalgalerie of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Further, the Berlin Bauhaus Archive, a model should have been the synthesis between art and architecture.
A second museumkomplex located at the Charlottenburg Castle. One can there remnants visit of the former National Museum of Berlin and several archaeological departments, including in a separate building on the opposite side of the park housed Egyptian Museum, where they constantly bring a stream pilgrim’s parade paying tribute come to the touching beauty Nefertiti.
The third museumkomplex West is far outside the city center, in Dahlem. Dahlem is an experience of the Order of the National Gallery in Washington and the Metropolitan in New York. There is a print room where they organize exhibitions. There is a sculpture department. There is a museum of ethnology and there are three museums dedicated to Indian, Islamic and East Asian art.

Besides this multiplicity of cultural and artistic events can also just wander into the great parks, parks where you can sunbathe and swim topless (Halensee) or Adam (Grunewaldsee). Grunewald seems no longer to belong to the town, with beautiful villas of the century in spacious gardens. And in the small complexes of farm and farmer courts gently immerse yourself in a village.

Or you can just stroll around in what one or another part of town to one suddenly, around the corner, face to face with the “wall”. “Why are you this way, you have never seen the wall?” “Thoughts and feelings go through concrete.” “There is no wall in the sky.” Graffiti in a style that reminds us of the Pop Art cover the entire wall. Behind the wall a minefield in which rolls of barbed wire, electric barriers and anti-tankstaketsels been made.
Behind the wasteland a second wall of concrete slabs without graffiti. In this no man’s land, every 200 to 300 meters a watchtower from where you are constantly watched beaten by anonymous men in uniform with binoculars. They look at the curious that the many wooden platform little car that came up along the wall. The curious photograph to turn the tower guards. The wall exudes a strange atmosphere. An atmosphere of corruption. Who from east to west flight is shot down. At the border crossing Checkpoint Charlie is a little horror museum designed to provide an overview of the horrors born of the wall, and that there are a lot.
Who flight from West to East is confronted with a big sign “You are leaving the American sector.” Even though I’m already gone eight times by the wall, I never received any confirmation of the stories that circulate about this border crossing. Everything runs smoothly if you feel but to keep some welvoeglijkheidsregels know.

The confrontation with the wall does not help the question as to its reasons for existence. To then find an answer must renounce their own prejudices against the Eastern Bloc, especially when one sees the lack of lighting, lack of consumer goods and the lack of fashionable clothing.

  • Architektuurreis Berlin – Part 2 *

If you walk through the border crossing Checkpoint Charlie and you come into Friedrichstrasse in East Berlin territory, then engulfs you a sense of beneficent calm.
No street violence, no garish lichtreklames and no distinctive shops. Dowdy Trabants chug past you, a smell of burning oil behind. We follow a semi-derelict land and half-built; Also on this side of the barrier, the “wall” traces are left.
And yet attempts to force the East German government to improve living conditions in this part of Berlin and eliminate the image of, in every way, chasing limping city. You notice when you arrive at the most beautiful boulevard in the city. Unter den Linden boulevard is an alluring and with a perfect scale. In the shop you will be confronted both with the famous Meissen porcelain as with priceless antiques. Façade it turns out, because you put your visit to who can buy it here.
The nostalgia overwhelms you when you’re under the old lime ndoorloop and calmly strolling toward the Brandenburg Gate. Until you are confronted again with urge fences and in the further the image of the “wall”. Then rather the other way, past stately buildings that are still here and bear the traces of the war.
East Berlin has the advantage that it can dispose of the old town. Only here you can feel that everything belongs together. Nightlife knows this part of the city barely, especially when one would compare it with the glitter of Western sector. The comparison of the other Germany late here however feel strong. Illegal T.V. watch West German sparkling programs, including with the konsumptieve capabilities of the West, many do take the final, but often fatal step. Many are willing to put their lives on the line, then come up with a lot of luck in the Western chaos and can not go back. Others wait until they have reached retirement age, age at which they illegally crossed the border to be able to go shopping in the West. Gradually, however, they are less and less inclined and prepared to be dragged into the so alluring intoxication in which West seems to cherish themselves. Especially when they are self-conscious approach to their own economy (growth curve in ’85: + 9%), with a gradual improvement of living standards, to personally experience. Especially when they realize that West Berlin, with nearly 10% unemployment rate base, now again is not a paradise as it does occur.
Besides the monumental grandeur of the old Berlin heart, this city has in terms of contemporary architecture to offer little or nothing. Few inspirational high-rise blocks for us turn the clock back twenty years, even stabbing the East Berliners their pride in this regard does not hide. Karl-Marckx-Alee, so praised in the literature on East Berlin, is undoubtedly the most well-known component of the national reconstruction program. She is directly influenced by the Russian example, particularly by the applied building system, the location of some monumental buildings on vital points and the design of the entire urban sector as a mpnumentale unit waardoo we KUNEN assume that urban planning in East virtually total submission to the politically exposed. In the center is the classic separation of functions are implemented in earnest. The green construction is a kind of imitation from those of the Western cities, concrete flower boxes, washed with violets or geraniums, in no way harmonize with the environment. One must “limit” to the stately historic structures that still have the monumental expression of this center.
Despite the very serious damage done during the last war, the last twenty years many unbeatable and masterfully called restorations. Other monuments are still under construction or awaiting restoration.
Many buildings that seemed lost in the beginning, or were to be rebuilt, the Staatsoper, the Humboldt University, the Palais Unter the Linden, the representative building of the Berlin Museums für Deutsche Geschichte. Indeed, as regards East Berlin museum must certainly not inferior to the western part. A must see for example the Pergamon and Bode Museum on Museum Island, or the restored Old Museum of Friedrich Schindel.

East Berlin has a modesty that is not found in Western cities. This nation, which once stood at the edge of the abyss, it becomes trauma that so many deeply seared into the soul, gradually lost. Every day they are still confronted with the fossilized evidence of a past that the post-war generations only as “fascist aggression of the West” is inculcated.
In the cemetery Friedrichsfelde is a memorial, “The toten mahnen uns” – für die Opfer des Faschismus und Militarismus.
So let the darkness shrouded in East Berlin behind us. Back through “the wall”, to our familiar image of the excessionele contrasts.

  • Berliner erlebnisse – 4 *

If we consider the 70s as a time period in which a final and necessary stop was halted at the expressionless residential areas of late-modernist movement, then the 80s, specifically for what West Berlin, time period become rich eksperimenten both in urban and architectonic area. The highlight of these is undoubtedly the year 1987 – the year in which one places an endpoint behind an ambitious program undertaken – International Bauaustelling Berlin.

The development this program certainly can not be separated from their historical context in which it is the direct result.
Up to half of the 19th century, Berlin was a medium-sized city with about 200,000 inhabitants. It is only in the second half of last century which Berlin has become a huge metropolis, by the end of the century, more than 1 million inhabitants.
Only since the early years of the 20th century urban programs are developed to meet the massage rush due to the industrial ekspansie to cope. The first contest is organized “Gross Berlin 1910”, which stated for the first time, the demand for urban fringe areas with its morphological structure. Ambitious projects were anyway, and Berlin would probably have completely different form were it not for the First World War had put an abrupt end to this.

In the 20s, realizing a major program in social housing, some of which are worth a visit over. We mention “Grossiedlung Britz (1924) by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner; Waldsiedlung “Onkel Toms Hütte” (1926) From Sharoun Gropius, Haring, Forbat, Henning and Bartning, all restored.

In ’33 by National Socialism to this eksperimenten in public housing brutally put an end. And in ’37 takes Albert Speer, director of Public Works, the urban vision of Haussmann in Paris over. However, little of this was realized Hans Sharoun, in 1946, a “collective plan” designs in the idea that Berlin would remain an undivided city. This konsept Gross Berlin also remains hypothetical.

The first International Bauaustellung takes place in ’57 in the Hansaviertel. “Interbau” is one of the postwar alternatives to certain ideas formulated in the Chartreuse Athens, to concretely realizable. Prestigious names be drawn: Aalto, Van den Broek and Bakema, Niemeyer, etc …

Until the end of the 60s orients the urban politics solely to projects concerning the smooth flow of the mechanical movement – the big ring around Berlin is still not quite finished – and the creation of satellite towns such as Gropiusstadt and the Märkisches Viertel . Here we already find names back as Josef Paul Kleihues and Oswald Mathias Ungers.
It is only in this period, which is known in Berlin as “destruktiever than the bombing”, the IBA (International Bauaustellung funded by the West Berlin Senate and chaired by Josef Paul Kleihues) rediscovered that some older city needed to be investigated qualitatively or had to be rescued.

The destruction in the last war, the destructive interventions of the late modernism and the attention that was focused exclusively on the conception of satellite towns, made the large residential areas, mainly in the old town areas, quality so deteriorated that urgent interventions more than necessary bleaching. It was mainly from the thought that a prestigious program was set up to which big names were attached which, as you might say, merely from propagandistic considerations through competitions concluded his – at least if you believe in the use of objective criteria on such a scale can be handled would. Anyway, one thing is certain, who today still believes in architecture as a medium to ensure quality in the urban residential happen, in my view, a number of important projects realized in Berlin go out of your way.
All these projects put on a list is impossible. Of the more than 160 completed designs there are about 140 renovations and some 20 new buildings. The newly realized projects are located mainly in the housing sector. The most famous names are worth mentioning:
Rob Krier, Hans Hollein, Giorgio Grassi, Vittorio Gregotti, Aldo Rossi, Oswald Mathias Ungers, Gottfried Böhm, Gustav Peichl, Alvaro Siza, Rem Koolhaas, P. Eisenman, Arata Isozaki, Herman Hertzberger, Stanley Tigerman, Robert Stern, John Hejduk. Further, a water treatment plant of Gustav Peichl, the Italian Embassy of Paolo Portoghesi, a cultural center of Charles Moore, a scientific center of James Stirling and Japanese-German Cultural Center of Kisho Kurokawa.

  • Berliner erlebnisse – 5 *

The origin of the IBA design manages to mainly situated on five levels
Firstly, there are still many urban residential areas which since the last war still nothing was done. Numerous blocks still carry the heavy traces of the war. Uninhabitable and totally been eroded, until recently, the silent witnesses of human aggression and assertiveness.
Secondly, there is the deforestation caused by the traffic breakthroughs in the 60s. Entire residential areas were sacrificed so that the quality of life and living conditions deteriorated rapidly and streets redesigned to mere thoroughfares. Good for the car driver, because the traffic is going to be easy.
Thirdly, there is the island position, konkurrentie East Berlin. Grand restorations, renovations systematic and rigorous rehabilitation program in which the Communist Party intends presenting “the hauptstadt as politisches, wirtschaftliches und Geistes-kulturelles Zentrum der DDR”. The lack of a real center is thereby aggravating factor. Which city has no historical development center? Does not every attempt to implement such a brutal confrontation with their own traumatic notion that such an artificial heart designed no real center can be? Even though it was deliberately with the cultural forum, which situate the Philharmonie, the State Biblioteek and the National Gallery, selected to be, because of its location near the Old Town, and after a possible reunification of East and West also would be part of the true center. It is remarkable that this very choice of visible and palpable, a confirmation of this trauma.
Fourth, there are near actions of the last 10 years ,. Neighborhood Actions for small scale and mixing function, quality and viability. Back to “Stadtbaukunst” instead of in the 50s propagated “Stadtlandschaft”. Focus on the formal qualities of the historic kontinuïteit and the value of the public spaces.
Finally, there was the need to breathe new life into the city. Its looming aging made her ripe for fresh impetus /.
All these facets do, under the social democrats, in ’79 IBA emerged. Over five years, an ambitious program would be designed to weather a livable city should make Berlin … In the end it turns out that, on the one hand by the formal status of the IBA and by the political constellation of Berlin, this large-scale initiative only in some aspects can be called successful. I have already clarified that West Berlin senate and parliament private property. In addition, however, West Berlin split into 12 Bezirken. These peri-urban areas, formerly autonomous suburbs and after the war Bross Berlin merged, still have their own mayor and their own administrative structure. Not only were the projects slow malfunctioning bureaucracy to pass all levels, on the sale have increased the urban laws in such a chaotic structure and maintain such komplekse procedures that act has become almost a totally impossible.
Immobility was then exacerbated by the legal structure of the IBA office itself. An office without any power, it appears. Land they could not buy, do not attract project developers.
With the change of power in the early 80s, from social democrats to Christian democrats, they were almost completely ousted. A program supporting the social democrats?
Fortunately did squatters riots IBA initiative revive back, however shifting the time limit: ’84 was ’87, coinciding with the 750th anniversary of Berlin. “Wir argumentieren uns nor kaput” said someone at the IBA office, a desk with in the beginning still 80 people. Of immobilism spoken!
Onerous was the fact that large urban areas still were covered with old plans. Because of its extremely slow malfunctioning bureaucracy was a change almost impossible.
Also, it was IBA strongly dependent on the private enterprise. There was not only the fear of a re-nationalization as had happened shortly before the war, but there is also the shadow of the socialist East that make expropriate became an insurmountable issue. All this makes the private enterprise is not so keen to expropriation and construction.
And finally there was heavy protest from the squatters. Reduction in government subsidies, curtailing participation and strengthens the increase in rents, which from 1990 were left entirely to chance, that made the IBA with a mountain of confusing issues were confronted.
Inter Buro sought a representation of the ideal modern city, the city of tomorrow. It turned out that the city of tomorrow but the city today turned out to be. IBA will also give an idea of ​​just what is possible today.
Sometimes doing the design of Krier’s Rauchstrasse reminds me of Le Corbusier’s “Une ville contemporaneousness” of 1922. Krier’s idea of ​​the “Villa urbane” late courtyards create what rather create new ghettos than something essential to change the street with its social dimension, as a connecting element between various inter-urban residential areas.
However, on the one hand the komplexititeit of issues, which IBA stood on his right really value, and one on the other is to see the results on the ground, one can safely say that her intent, partly thanks to its forum position, anyway managed to named be, even if it is only in its facets. Connecting big names of world-renowned designers to new construction projects is perhaps for many pure propaganda. However, it does not detract from the fact that we are here to experience architecture that carries great qualities in themselves.

Dirk Manesse



Ost Berlin
Altes Museum – Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1824


West Berlin – Kulturforum
Staatsbibliothek – Hans Scharoun, 1978
Philharmonie – Hans Scharoun, 1964
Neue nationalgalerie – Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe, 1968
IBA-projekten – Hans Hollein, Grassi, Robert Krier, Aldo Rossi, Ungers…


Siedlung – Bruno Taut
Siedlung – Walter Gropius
Siedlung – Hugo Häring
Siedlung – Ahrends
Ägyptisches Museum – Friedrich August Stüler, 1855
Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz – Erich Mendelsohn, 1928


IBA-projekten – Robert Krier, Herman Hertzberger, Bangert-Schotz, Hans Kolhoff, Owaska, Braun e.a.


Heilig-Geist-Kirche und Gemeindezentrum – Alvar Aalto, 1962
Kulturzentrum – Alvar Aalto, 1962
Theater Wolfsburg – Hans Scharoun, 1973