ARCH+ features 5: Florian Heilmeyer
Is it possible to bring current architectural development in Berlin down to a single common denominator? Does a Berlin-specific style of architecture really exist and if so, what distinguishes it? Nikolaus Kuhnert and Anh-Linh Ngo from ARCH+ and architecture critic Florian Heilmeyer debate this issue with architects from ten bureaus.
The starting point of the discussion was Heilmeyer's hypothesis that an architectural strategy has evolved in Berlin out of the practice of appropriation: "From this perspective we could really be looking at the prototypes of a style of architecture which no longer has to come "ready made" and which from the typological point of view can no longer be neatly assigned to a familiar category. A type of architecture which does not seek to reconstruct provisional spaces as an empty backdrop handed down from the 1990s, but instead creates specific, enduring spaces for today and tomorrow." (Article "Raumrohlinge", ARCH+ 201/202 about Berlin)

Fig.: Florian Heilmeyer
The architectural bureaus featured in the Berlin issue of ARCH+ took part in the discussion: Anderhalten Architekten, Oda Pälmke PE-P, Wenk und Wiese Architekten, Martin Heberle & Christof Mayer, Robertneun™, realarchitektur, augustin und frank architekten, Sauerbruch Hutton, brandlhuber+, raumlaborberlin.

Fig.: Anh-Linh Ngo, ARCH+, talking to Siedle CEO Hansgeorg Derks
The discussion surrounding Heilmeyer's hypotheses took a highly controversial turn. However, there was agreement on two points: firstly in criticism of the lack of social housing construction in Germany's capital – and in a radical rejection of the concept of a new "Berlin style". The architects present saw no occasion to romanticize Berlin's building culture, as many of the building examples presented had been created as a result of budgetary and architectural constraints.

Fig.: From left to right: Georg Augustin (augustin und frank architekten), Christof Mayer (Martin Heberle & Christof Mayer), Arno Brandlhuber (brandlhuber+).
(Photos: David von Becker)
© 2020 S. Siedle & Söhne OHG