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Diestadt inderstadt : the guther bahnof grunewald case study

Erica Giusta

Diestadt inderstadt : the guther bahnof grunewald case study.

Rel. Paolo Mellano, Thibaut Deruyter. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, 2014


A space in excess of demolitions and abandonments, conversions and requalification, a world in transition, unsettled, miles and miles of nothing. The second most populous city in Europe with almost 4 million inhabitants, which offers over 40 square meters of public spaces each. A city rich of paradoxes, a city condemned forever to becoming and never to being, as Scheffler famously wrote in 1910. This is the main theme of the final project, the city of Berlin. In fact, “the exceptional years” in Berlin has just been completed, leaving a legacy of urban and socio-cultural condition that continues to give life to circumstances and phenomena somewhere else impossible, unrepeatable, in a sort of controlled chaos, also in a urbanistic and architectural point of view.

The divergent and sometimes asynchronous development of Berlin’s urban body, due to exceptional historical and political situations, has produced a very complex polycentric metropolis in which every district, like a “mini-city”, follows its own rules. In a similar but contemporary very different manner, the berliner scenario is close to Rem Koolhaas’ description of Manhattan, in which “the city becomes a mosaic of episodes, each with its own particular life span, that contest each other through the medium of the Grid”1. The first and most important difference is actually the absence of an ancient regular grid in Berlin; here the only urban historic feature is fragmentation, as Oswald Mathias Ungers noticed, affirming that “the city is in a continuous dialectical process in which each statement is contradicted by a counterstatement. Berlin today has no underlying uniformity but represents a collection of distinctive fragments”.

Berlin, better than other contemporary metropolis, brings together the contradictions of history, exalting and contrasting them in its wholeness. Urban fragmentation is a feature that starts from its foundation and comes to our days amplified by recent events. This has allowed us to maintain a freedom of choice between the poles that have been developed specifically and without compromise. Each situation is different from the other while maintaining a mixité of elements inside.

Its foundation and comes to our days amplified by recent events. This has allowed a mainteinance of freedom that created a mixité of elements inside different areas and among them.

The most interesting effect of this development are the so-called “in-between areas”, the most frequent and suitable for architectural and urbanistic sperimentations. This kind of places are usually between two different districts or inside one single. There a lot of good and bad examples of rehabilitated berliner voids: Raw Area (in the South East of Berlin, from railway workshop to art centre and nightclub popular zone), Tacheles (huge fin-du-siècle building born as a department store in the heart of the city, turned into occupied Kunsthaus but now evicted with big controversy), Pfefferberg (ancient brewery site at North East, now cultural and entertainment centre), Tempelhof (abandoned airport in South Berlin, now park and exhibition centre), the Berliner Stadtschloss area (in the turi-stic centre of Mitte, occcupied from 1443 to 1950 by the Prussian castle, then demolished after World War bombings and replaced by the Palast Der Republik of DDR, demolished at its turn in 2008 for the historical reconstruction of the original Schinkel’s castle as Humboldt University Forum with a lot of-reasonable- protests).

After the fall of the Wall in 1989, with the new rise of Berlin as the political and cultural capital of Germany, all the empty lands and the so-called “second hand spaces”1 became crucial to satisfy the requests of investors, political needs and -someti-mes- also inhabitants’ necessities.

These are briefly the main reasons why the rease-arch project chooses to focuse on a “in-between area”, precisely in the South-West of the city, at the beginning of the Grünewald forest, between the village of Eichkamp and Halensee, the Guter-bahnof Grünewald island.

Relators: Paolo Mellano, Thibaut Deruyter
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AO Design
SS Scienze Sociali ed economiche > SSA Antropologia culturale
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3783


Analysing the city

Berlin Urban History

The Guterbahnof Grünewald

Case Study Analysis

The Guterbahnof Island

The Adopted Approach

Project Report

Italian Text

Bibliography and Webgraphy



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