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Berlin Architecture: Norm, Pete and Dan

November 13, 2010

I wasn’t quite sure how much I was going sink back into my love for architecture while traveling. Well thanks to three architects, Berlin has been the first city to make me say wow.



Norman Foster and the Riechstag: As one of the most talked about buildings in my Passive Systems class, this was a must for me. The glass cupola of the building is masterpiece of environmental design by combining natural daylighting, sun shading and passive heating and cooling. Now if a student in CAP had attempted this many techniques into one space it would have pulled so much attention away from the cultural significance of the building that you would have thought you were looking at a sewage plant complete with living machine. But Norman Foster was knighted for a reason. The man is good.

Peter Eisenmehn and the Holocaust Memorial: Just across the street from the Riechstag is the Holocast Memorial for Murdered Jews. Peter has said that he wanted to get people thinking with the memorial and that is exactly what it does. With no direct symbolic gestures, you find your self in the middle of a steel gray forest of cement blocks. Standing there it reminded me of a cemetery if you you were to flip it upside down and cover it in gray. But that’s just me.


Daniel Liebskin and the Jewish Museum: I had never had a building truly move me before I walked into the Jewish Museum in Berlin. The addition by Daniel Liebskin can only be entered by going underground from the original museum. After walking down a flight of stairs you enter into a long hallway with a series of intersection cutting through it. As you explore the corridors on the slanting floor, you can’t help but to feel uneasy. You find the peak of your emotional journey behind a black swinging door that takes two hands to open. Inside is a two story concrete cell that is only lit by the sliver of daylight that glows up in a high corner. The sense of loneliness and fear consumes you. Oooo…. I am getting chills just thinking about it. Go experience it. Please.

These three spaces have found a beautiful way to highlight historical importance through contemporary design. Keep up the great work Berlin. I have fallen back in love.

*CAP students, feel free to cut and paste any of the BS found above in your next paper or presentation. It will save you some energy and allow you some much needed time to go get yourself a drink.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maki Lane permalink
    November 13, 2010 8:17 am

    Love the architecture segment! I’ve been looking forward to this from you during your trip! Keep having the time of your life!

  2. November 13, 2010 10:25 am

    Greg, glad to see you reconnect with your love for architecture.

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