Recommendations for further reading Urban Architecture

 Cityview Berlin
Cityview Berlin | Photo (detail): Design Windmill / colourbox.de

Goethe.de discusses from a wide variety of perspectives the themes of residing and living, art and culture in urban space. We have put together a selection of current articles for you. 

The Elbphilharmonie shines in all its new splendour. But what happens when icons of modern architecture get on in years? Repurpose them? Restore them in line with historic preservation principles? Or is the wrecking-ball the only solution? The article “The architectural legacy of the 1960’s” discusses precisely this issue and shows how differently it was and is approached in individual cases.

Falk Jaeger, architectural historian and critic, describes how remediation can be an outstanding success. His examples are completely different buildings of the early German Federal Republic that even today are still groundbreaking: the Bikini-Haus at Bahnhof Zoo, Berlino and the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Federal Court building) in Karlsruhe.

But sometimes less is more: for many Berliners, the charm of the Tempelhofer Feld lies in precisely the absence of any construction whatsoever.

Urban life on the upswing

For a long time, many German cities suffered from outflow, their centres atrophied. In some cities this trend has now reversed itself: residing and living in the city are once again popular, and city administrations are encouraging this new migration with corresponding housing construction programmes. In view of rising rents in con-urban centres and as a movement against living in isolation in flats sealed off from their surroundings, building cooperatives are enjoying growing popularity.

The city as space of work and adventure for creatives and users of culture is also used to stage events and guest performances in unconventional spaces.

Gentrification changes the cityscape and also affects the structure of individual neighbourhoods.

Participation as living alternative model

Urban planners, architectural planners and artists – for instance in Hamburg’s Gängeviertel  (i.e. alleyway quarter) – actively oppose these processes of change. In Munich, subversive actions by the artists’ collective “Goldgrund Immobilien” have gained considerable attention – Alex Rühle, editor of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, joined in and is convinced: “A good city is a city for all.”

Building vacancy is inspiring new ideas: any number of forms of temporary occupancy of residential and working space is now emerging. This interim use is sometimes even brokered by agencies expressly founded for the purpose.

Spaces of sustainability and creativity

For some city dwellers, residential quality is not enough. As “urban explorers” with at times anarchic impulses, they seek adventure and clamber among industrial ruins and large-scale construction sites.

On Melbourne’s high-rises, two ex-IT experts are proving that city roofs are not just for climbing, but are also suitable for beekeeping,  even though this is usually more at home in the countryside.

Sustainability projects such as the revival of the Lybid River that flows through Kiev are a comparatively new phenomenon of appropriation in urban space. For far longer, street art and graffiti art  have been shaping the urban environment in colourful, political, innovative and mostly conspicuous ways– best seen in Berlin, the popular goal of international graffiti artists. 
 

Film Portraits: ARCH-lab

Drawing „The Eye“ Amsterdam, Delugan Meissl Drawing „The Eye“ Amsterdam, Delugan Meissl | © ARCHlab/Weblab Any city or environment makes specific demands on a building and its planners. We will be presenting one building in each of our 30 film portraits and hearing from its architects. The roughly three-minute clips offer a multifaceted view of contemporary international architecture.

Series: Arch-Lab 1-5 (goethe.de)
Series: Arch-Lab 6–10 (goethe.de)
Series: Arch-Lab 16–20 (goethe.de)
Series: Arch-Lab 21–25 (goethe.de)
Series: Arch-Lab 26-30 (goethe.de)