This project by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and artist Remy Zaugg was designed for an exhibition entitled “Contribution to Berlin Morgen. Ideen für das Herz einer Grossstadt – Berlin Zentrum” (Ideas for the heart of a big city – Berlin Center), held at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt a. M., Germany between 26 January – 24 March 1991.
The particular method of representation, similar to the one employed by A.Monestiroli to illustrate his competition entry for the 1979 Les Halles competition, reproduces buildings deprived of any visual characteristics, vacant solids “left blank for work expressing modern feeling” as Le Corbusier described a similar image he produced for “The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning“(1937). Modern adopters of this technique are Belgian architects Dogma (Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara) and Office KGDVS, that would often cut-out architecture from their renderings in a manner conceptually similar to the work of Sol Lewitt with his excised cartography. An interesting compilation of “Non Figurative Representation” has been made by Robert Gorny and Golnar Abbasi from the Berlage Institute in their post “Tracing Genealogies“.
From H&DeM description of the project:
Four large buildings, that almost call to mind mountains, were proposed to stand on vacant or unused sites next to Berlin’s Tiergarten. The buildings were to be understood as condensed centres of their respective adjacent city quarters and, as such, received a visible urban expression. The Tiergarten would thus become a defined urban location, a central park of a future capital.
The projected buildings clearly distinguish themselves from the surrounding fabric in terms of dimension, proportion and their architectural appearance. Related conceptions on the theme of communicating building envelopes with electronic information can be found for the project for the cultural centre in Blois, for the SUVA building or in the laboratory projects for Sandoz and Flowtec.
The exhibition consisted of a video installation with four monitors playing the same tape (Video: Enrique Fontanilles) in shifted sequence.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1995
(The images – © H&DeM. were originally ublished on Architectural Design v.61 n.92 1991: pg. 54)