Berlin Part 2


We started this rainy Thursday at Checkpoint Charlie, studying the façade of a Kaulhaus building, built in 1988. We observed that it resembles a Corbu-esque building with its pulling the lines and ribbon windows. The building acts as a modern symbol of the fallen Wall, facing its former site.

Dean Ott visited us this week from D.C. to share his extensive knowledge of Berlin and much of its architecture.
He explained that they wanted to demolish the whole wall, to forget and move on from the past. They wanted to rebuild for themselves, rather than people that would come to visit for tourism.

We then studied a Peter Eisenman building. Mauricio explained the parti of the building, how the lines follow the design of the windows. This makes the building look like it is floating. Now, the building is a disappointment because the facade was changed and overall, the building did not age well.

Next, we made our way to the Jewish Museum. This was a more classical building, instead of a typical modern building of Berlin. There is a modern addition to the building that represents the scars of the war, with irregular random window slits through the entire building. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind, who was born in Poland to two Polish Jews and Holocaust survivors.

We then sketched in the main courtyard of the Jewish museum and the compared everyone’s unique interpretations. Randy then spoke about the structure, and how it relates to the history illustrated in the museum.

We then walked through the museum, which was extremely moving. Many people became emotional and really experienced the building in a real and inspirational way. The one room with the metal faces was the most powerful, where you felt the true emotion of the space.

Photo credit to Madeline

After lunch, we went down to the famous Brandenburg Gate that was once a main entrance through the Berlin Wall. Randy explained how it is one of the only classical elements in Berlin, which is why people find it so special.

Surrounding the square, Pariser Platz, are many foreign embassies. Sandro created a diagram to explain the development of buildings over time to form inner courtyards.

We then wandered into a contemporary building near the monument, the Academy of Art, to explore the main foyer spaces and study the reasoning behind the different circulation paths. Randy explains to us how the surrounding buildings relate to the glass contemporary facade of this art academy. He then explained the British embassy, and the reasoning behind the buildings odd design.

Next, we went to the Holocaust Memorial. We were told to get lost for 10 minutes within the maze of the memorial. Afterwards we explained how we felt walking in between the looming stone cubes.  We then went below to the "Place of Information" which holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims. It contains recovered letters from Holocaust victims to their families, describing the despair and horrors of this tragedy.


Friday brought a little better weather, which we all are grateful for! We started the day with the crematorium designed by Axel Shultes. Sophia said she liked the actual cemetery better than the building. In the cemetery, one feels at peace because they are beautifully designed, celebrating death instead of mourning it.

Next, we took the metro to a park with residential buildings made by the famous architects of the 1980s. Most of the class did not like any of the buildings, but Randy argued that we need to preserve some of the 80s style so we don't forget what people of that time were designing and thinking about.

After our break, we met again in the afternoon to look at Mies van der Rohe Gallery where Randy explained the complicated the construction of the roof. After a brief dinner we headed to see the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra featuring a world famous flutist. We all ogled at the amazing Philharmonie concert hall where it was held, surprised to learn the modern building was built in the 1960s. The concert was one of the most memorable experiences on this Berlin trip, and a perfect ending to our experience in Berlin.


The last morning, we all walked around to different modern buildings and commented on them as we walked by. We headed towards the embassy row of Berlin, where we went by a few memorials and the. Made our way to the Scandinavian embassy.

This building was beautiful, where we all were assigned to draw a section of the building and study the facade. Then for the afternoon, we were given free time and we explored Berlin until the late afternoon. Around 5, our trip came to an end and a new adventure began back in Rome!

-Delia Kilduff & Matt Kelly