Friday, June 18, 2010

Just can't get enough

Thursday we visited the Konrad-Adenaur Haus, the Mexican and Nordic embassies, Bauhaus Archives and Museum, and the Berlin Dome in Museum Island. I really enjoyed the day because we got to explore the new and old Berlin. Our first stop was the Konrad-Adenaur Haus which housed the German conservative party. It was a contemporary modern glass building that encased a wooden structure within. The wooden structure occupied their office spaces with a central atrium and winter garden around the perimeters. This is was not your traditional governmental party headquarters. The conceptual design of a solid objects for program within a light transparent glass structure was similar to Richard Roger's Bordeaux Law Courts. Down the street from the Konrad-Adenaur Haus was the Mexican Embassy. This exterior façade of this embassy illustrated how a heavy material like concrete can transform from solid to translucent depending on the perspective. The façade was composed of concrete vertical strips that gradually pivoted open in the direction of the entrance to draw the user in. It's permeable façade can be compared to fish gills, metaphorically allowing the building breath in light.
Then we headed to the Nordic Embassies. I was most excited about visiting Norway’s Embassy because it was designed by a well known architecture firm, Snohetta, that lectured at our University this past year. The most stunning feature about this building was the large massive stone that was carved out of a mountain from Norway. It is a symbol of strength and longevity to the Norwegian culture. The granite stone stands 14 meters tall and weighs 120 tons, holding the title as ‘the largest rock in Germany’. I also enjoyed their use of local materials; limestone from Sweeden, black marble from Finland, granite from Norway, and maple wood Denmark. The master plan of these Embassies are oriented in relation to their geographical position. All of these contemporary governmental buildings oppose the traditional by maintaining an open and exposed governmental system.
I enjoyed the Bauhaus Archives and Museum because we were able to see some of the most influential works of professors and students of the Bauhaus. In our tour, we learned the fundamentals behind their designs and saw how these ideas started the modern movement in architecture. The lobby featured many unique lamps designed made of various materials (broken china, forks, spoons, and knives, comic books, tangled tubular rubber rope) that preserved a value in hand craftsmanship. One of the revolutionary designs in the exhibit that we learned about was the comfort of a chair explored through new materials. There was a material study that compared the flexibility of form and production methods in both steel vs. wood and man vs. machinery. The chair designs were based upon the human anatomy to achieve maximum comfort. Most of these designs were made of a tubular steel framework with a stretched fabric, introducing mobile furniture for easy rearrangements. We also learned about the conceptual design behind the Walter Gropius's Bauhaus (School of Crafts and Fine Arts) and saw the original models. Unfortunately we were unable to take photographs inside, but the experience of was very beneficial. Learning of Gropius's thoughts and ideas behind the Bauhaus served as recap from our architectural history class since we will be visiting the real thing tomorrow. We learned and saw many great works of both industrial and architectural design from the Bauhaus.
We ended the day with the Berlin Dome, which is a protestant cathedral from Fredrick William II in 1905. The cathedral is known for being 'over the top' because of it's excessive ornamentation. Fredrick William II wanted this cathedral to help symbolize and establish a powerful nation. There was a bomb dropped on the domb of the cathedral after WWII and its restoration that took 30 years was recently completed. The cathedral was rather impressive, but definitely excessive, as you can see in the photographs. We also got to go walk around the top of the dome where we were able to see a beautiful panoramic shots of the city. Tomorrow we are heading to Dessau to begin our 6 day excursion in south Germany where we will be visiting the Walter Gropius's Bauhaus and Zaha Hadid's BMW Plant.

1 comment:

  1. OooOOoo Good picture on this post! Hope y'all are having fun!
    -Gail (Trey's wife)