The Typology of the Berlin Block: History, Continuity and Spatial PerformanceJournal: Athens Journal of Architecture (Vol.2, No. 1)
Publication Date: 2016-01-01
Authors : Katharina Borsi; Nicole Porter; Megan Nottingham;
Page : 45-64
Keywords : ;
The Berlin block of the nineteenth century is currently undergoing a renaissance. In a modified form the perimeter block appears in a number of current master plans, such as Bercy, Paris, Barcelona as well as in Berlin. Since the International Building Exhibition of 1984/87 (IBA), Berlin’s urban strategy has embraced the formal qualities of the block. Its vibrant street life, dynamic mix of uses and functions are as well as its spatiality of defining urban space are the qualities sought in the regeneration of the existing fabric as well as in new developments. This paper draws a comparison between Rob Krier’s winning competition project of 1979 and the nineteenth century Berlin block; it argues that the debate surrounding the formal premise of the IBA, with its explicit focus on history as a mode of analysis, classification and re-interpretation, renders a static taxonomy of form and thereby underemphasizes architecture’s contribution to the city in its formal and organizational capacity.
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