Interview: Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton (Spring 2008)

images  S-H Firestation
GSW Competition, Berlin Winner          Police and Fire Station, Berlin (competiiton 2002, completion 2004)


COMPETITIONS: Many architecture firms today have a multinational composition, and Sauerbruch Hutton is no exception. You started out in London, but moved to Berlin in 1993. Can I assume that was because you won a big competition here, then decided to stay?

MATTHIAS SAUERBRUCH: We started the office in London because Louisa and I met and got our BA in London. We then worked in offices in London, and basically through a number of circumstances decided to set up our own office.  During that time we did a number of competitions on the continent, because in Britain there were hardly any competitions, whereas in Germany there were all of these big building projects which were competitions.  One of the first competitions we entered, we won (GSE Headquarters Building, Berlin). We discovered fairly soon that there was no chance of actually realizing this project unless we were there. The other reason was that Berlin was really the most interesting place in Europe at that time. It just seemed it would be a missed opportunity not to be part of that. Once we started to set up an office,  with all the infrastructure, and all the people attached, it becomes slightly less mobile. The irony is that for some years now we have not had any work in Berlin; it’s all elsewhere. But it is a nice place to be.



Photonic Centre, Adlershof Research Park, Berlin (Competition, First Prize, 1995; Completion, 1998)

COMPETITIONS: In this day and age, with communications as they are, you can be almost anyplace


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