Sunday, 17 May 2015

Modernism in Berlin - space for living...

Modernist movement was massively popular and very strong especially after Second World War. Destroyed cities, housing problems and poverty… a good solution was needed to resolve all these issues. 
And here came creators, 'designers of a better world' - architects and their modern ideas. 
Have a look please at this brilliant short article. It’s explains very clearly what was it all about: 'The rise and fall of modernist architecture'  ...and how it ended up.

Buildings with the widest representation among all modernist structures are buildings related to everyday life, objects built for living. This is what I will show it this article. 


Unité d'Habitation of Berlin designed by Le Corbusier called also Corbusier house /1957/.
Le Corbusier was the one who came up with idea of using reinforced concrete as a structural frame for affordable prefabricated housing. Open space floor plans, simple structure with  support poles, free facade, horizontal windows and roof gardens - this is what he was implementing in most of his projects. All linear, practical and functional design.
Corbusier built 5 mentioned above buildings. Four of them in France and one exactly in Berlin. German version was slightly different due to local building regulations. It forced to abandon the proportions given by the Modulor and increase one meter in height between the floors comparing to the famous Marseille version. 

It is important to mention that Unité d'Habitation of Berlin is a part of International Building Exhibition 'Interbau'. Its intention was to show the modernization and reconstruction of Germany and also implementing a new build techniques. 
The main exhibition was located in Hansaviertel, east of the city of Berlin. 
Site beside the Olympic Stadium on the edge of Grunewald Forest however was selected for Corbusier building due to its size.

Unité d'Habitation of Berlin ©Artur Sikora

Building consist of 530 apartments on 17 floors. Each apartment with between one and five rooms. 
On the ground floor, there is large store and washhouse, which serves as a cinema and the club apartment, which is used to hold exhibitions.

Unité d'Habitation of Berlin ©Artur Sikora

I would like to come back now to mentioned Hansaviertel. After war Berlin was almost completely destroyed. One of the most dev­ast­ated places was Hansavier­tel. 
It gave the planers opportunity to built all area from scratch. 
In 1953 was arranged an inter­na­tional com­pet­i­tion  - The Inter­bau 57 as a part of a series of archi­tec­tural exhib­i­tions. Some of the most important architects were invited to design and built new homes/apartments according to modern architecture standards. 
Just to mention Wal­ter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Arne Jac­ob­sen or Oscar Niemeyer.
Perfectly located Hansaviertel is a beautiful area full of trees and green spaces. 
Very hard to photograph of course which I already said before ;)

Being there a few times already I stayed with only one building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Incredibly beautiful. All block called Niemeyer House contains 78 apartments. Its structure is lifted off the ground floor in Le Corbusier style to open up the outside public area. Also one entire floor is dedicated to community activities.

Hansaviertel ©Artur Sikora
Hansaviertel ©Artur Sikora
Hansaviertel ©Artur Sikora

The last very interesting place I would like to show in this article it is Pallasseum, designed and built by Jürgen Sawade in 1977. Pallasseum called until 2001 Sozialpalast is located close to Potsdamer Straße and area with buildings described in my previous blog post /click HERE please/.

Pallasseum ©Artur Sikora

It is a massive complex consist of 514 apartments. Truly impressive size and amount of concrete. All internal area wasn't possible to access at least on the day I was there which obviously allowed me to leave with only one photograph. 

There is another article on the way. This time it will be related to some public buildings. It will be also the last one about Berlin. I will try show some other photographs I took during those few days which will be presented on my FB website.

Thank you!