Finalists’ UK Holocaust Memorial Design Proposals

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M20 – Museum of 20th Century Extension Competition

 

This is not what we fought for!

 

by Wilfried Wang*

 


Winning design: ©Herzog & de Meuron

 

Wilfried Wang’s commentary on the competition results for the extension of Mies’s Museum of the 20th Century (M20) was published in the German journal, Bauwelt (40.2016). The author is the founder of the Berlin architectural practice Hoidn Wang Partner with Barbara Hoidn and has been the O’Neil Ford Centennial Professor in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin since 2002. The text, translated by the Editor, is a slightly modified version (by the author) that appeared in Bauwelt.

 

Both in architectural and urbanistic terms, the jury’s misguided selection of the Herzog de Meuron entry as the winner of the M20 competition is another missed opportunity for Berlin.


By extending the form of this introverted structure to cover the entire competition site, little or no value is added to the immediate environs. To the contrary, that and the immense surfaces of the facades, right up to the edge of the pedestrian walkways, only serve to diminish the importance of the surrounding buildings. All the trees to the south of the site will disappear, and 90% of the outer walls of the building, regardless of the suggested use of porous brick detailing, are completely closed off. Only the eastern entrance of the Herzog de Meuron plan faces the main entrance of Scharoun’s State Library; the other two main entrances lack any such connection with the urban context. Thus, the Cultural Forum gains nothing in urban quality, but rather the sense of desolation will increase.

 

The corridors stacked over one another, labeled “Boulevards” by the architects, are connected in the quadrants by smaller corridors and stairs. The metaphor, “Boulevard,” is as misleading as was Le Corbusier’s “rue intérieur.” Boulevards are accessible 24 hours a day as open public spaces. In the evenings these corridors will be closed to the public.

 

Rectangular exhibit areas are placed on three levels—not easily accessible to the visitor as a result of the labyrinth-like circulation plan. What is so innovative about this? The Goetz Pavilion was innovative.

 

Viewed from an artistic- and architecture-historic point of view, the selection of this design was an egregious mistake. First of all, a gable roof design is not appropriate for this Cultural Forum, and, secondly, it does not express the modern spirit; actually it is quite the opposite. Originally, the Cultural Forum was not only West Berlin’s gesture to the East, but also an attempt to replace the Nazi north-south axis with a modern alternative.

 

The lack of sensitivity, unnecessary haste followed by yearlong inaction and a desire for label-architecture have strangely culminated in a provincial selection. The shortlisted designs from the initial open competition were more modern, sensitive, and led one to assume that a different solution would be in store.

 

If this design were actually to be built, this unfortunate selection process would result in a catastrophe. This reminds me of the competition for the City of Culture for Santiago de Compostela. In that instance I was the sole juror to vote against the Eisenman scheme. Then my arguments fell on deaf ears. I was not a juror in the M20 competition. For this reason, I’m thankful that I can air my concerns about this result; however, I believe that my concerns will once again suffer the same fate. -WW

 


*The following should be pointed out: For his Master’s degree in 1981, the author researched six cultural centers—amongst others, London’s South Bank Centre, Paris’ Centre Beaubourg and Berlin’s Kulturforum. In 1992 the author published a monograph on the work of HdM. The author was a member of the jury for the limited competition for the extension of the Basel Kunstmuseum, which was unanimously awarded to Gigon & Guyer; HdM was one of the five invited architects. In 2013 the author published a monograph on Scharoun’s Philharmonie, therein his essay on “The Lightness of Democracy.” As part of his activities in the Architecture Section of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, the author was co-organizer of a number of public discussions on the development of the Kulturforum, in which politicians and representatives of the Prussian Cultural Foundation (the users of M20) participated. In 2014 and 2015 the author set the design of M20 as a test for advanced design studios. Finally, the competition entry for the first phase of the M20 selection process by the author’s office was eliminated in the first round: www.hoidnwang.de/04projekte_53_de.html.

 

 


View of site from Mies van der Rohe’s Museum of the 20th Century to Hans Sharoun’s Berlin Philharmonic
Photo: Stanley Collyer

 

The above photo of the M20 site makes abundantly clear the difficult challenges facing the architects who tried to produce an acceptable solution for the extension of the Mies museum. One might normally assume that a grand plaza would have been an appropriate answer. However, an extension of the M20 came into the conversation when a major art collector offered the collection to the museum in its enirety—necessitating more exhibit space.So the solution to this expansion had to lie in a design competition.

 

First of all, the very presence of two easily recognized architectural icons facing each other across the site would normally be enough to intimidate anyone. So the initial question in the back of everyone’s mind would have been: should this addition simply constitute a link between the two buildings; or should it be something more?


Organized in two stages, the first, anonymous stage was open internationally and resulted in eight finalist entries advancing to a second stage (http://competitions.org/2016/02/berlins-20th-century-art-museum-competition/?preview_id=18468&preview_nonce=20af7e537d&_thumbnail_id=-1&preview=true). From the 480 competition entries, one would have assumed that at least one entry would have been convincing enough to gain favor not only from the jury, but also the community. The addition of this second stage was to accommodate short-listed name firms, so there could be no complaints that high-profile, established architects were not part of the mix. Based on the final rankings from the second stage, none of the premiated designs really solved this challenge satisfactorily. Most tried to recognize the importance of a sightline between the two icons by going at least partially underground.

 


Site diagram

 

 

The two firms that took this most to heart were both from Japan—SANAA and, no surprise, Sou Fujimoto, with the latter covering the entire partially submerged structure with vegetation. The second-place winner from Denmark found favor from the main client with what looked to be very commercially looking solution, what one might imagine as an outdoor shopping center. The most extreme anti-urbanistic example honored by the jury with a merit award was OMA’s pyramid-like scheme, completely blocking any relationship between Mies and Sharoun by inserting their own icon in between the two.

 

When Herzog & de Meuron’s design was declared the winner, it had to come as somewhat of a surprise. Structurally no more than a shed in appearance, it seemed to be completely out of character with all of its neighbors—almost thumbing its nose at them. The abundant use of brick, its blank facade facing the street, and the claim by the authors that the corridor cut through the middle as a “boulevard” would serve as a symbolic link between the Museum and Philharmonie, was hardly convincing. This is especially true when one realizes that it would be closed off evenings to all comers. As an urbanistic solution and example of architectural expression, the winner unfortunately fell flat on its face. -Ed

 

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A Symbol of Gratitude: The Tri An Monument Competition

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Not Just a Coming Attraction: ZNE is Already Here!

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The Lamborghini Road Monument Competition

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Toronto Ferry Terminal Competition

 

Winning entry courtesy: KPMB Architects + West 8 + Greenberg Consultants

 

Access from downtown Toronto to its waterfront has been an ongoing issue for the city fathers for the past decades. One of the major visual barriers to Lake Ontario is the Gardiner Expressway, just a few blocks from the waterfront

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Reichstag Visitors Center – Berlin/Tiergarten

 

rendering-markus-bonauer_-michael-bi%cc%82lling_rw-gesellschaft-von-architekten-mbh-mit-capattistaubach-landschaftsarchitekten
©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten


rendering-lageplan-markus-schietsch-architekten-gmbh-mit-lorenz-engster-landschaftsarchitektur-stn%cc%83dtebau-gmbh
©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

After two rounds of judging, beginning with 187 entries from around the world, the jury reduced the number of competitors to 28 in the first round, then finally settled on two first-place finalists in the second stage, one of which will be commissioned to design the Center. (One may assume that the limited number of entries in such an important competition was limited by the fact that the competition language was held in German.) The building itself is not the only project element, as a tunnel linking the Visitors Center in the Tiergarten to the Reichstag also is an essential part of the plan. The total cost of the project to the government is to be limited to 150€M.

 

Winners (2)
Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten
Markus Schietsch, Zürich with Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

lageplan-markus-schietsch-architekten-gmbh-mit-lorenz-engster-landschaftsarchitektur-stn%cc%83dtebau-gmbh
Site plan ©Markus Bonauer/Michael Bölling, Berlin with capattistaubach Landschaftsarchitekten

 

 

lageplan-markus-bonauer_-michael-bi%cc%82lling_rw-gesellschaft-von-architekten-mbh-mit-capattistaubach-landschaftsarchitekten
Site Plan ©Markus Schietsch Architekten GmbH mit Lorenz Engster Landschaftsarchitektur & Städtebau GmbH

 

Honorable Mentions (5)
• BGAA + FRPO Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos Asociados + FRPO Rodriguez & Oriol Arquitectos, Madrid (Spain) with VWA + UBERLAND, Vevey (Switzerland)
• bob-architektur BDA, Köln with FSWLA GmbH, Düsseldorf
• Henn GmbH, Berlin with Ingenieurgesellschaft BBP Bauconsulting mbH, Berlin
• Allmann Sattler Wappner Architekten GmbH, Munich with Schüller Landschaftsarchitekten, Munich
• ARGE KIM NALLEWEG Architekten und César Trujillo Moya, Berlin with TDB Landschaftsarchitektur Thomanek Duquesnoy Boemans Partnerschaft, Berlin

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Forest Green Rovers Stadium and Eco Park: Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

Images © Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects has won an invited international competition to design the Forest Green Rovers Stadium, part of an eco-friendly complex in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The competition was actually staged in three phases, with almost 50 firms from around the world participating in the first stage. After a jury shortlisted

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Berlin Kulturforum Competition (Museum of 20th Century)

Winner Herzog & de Meuron Basel, Switzerland

2nd Place Lundgaard & Tranberg Copenhagen, Denmark

3rd Place Bruno Fioretti Marquez Berlin

Honorable Mentions Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) Rotterdam

Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/SANAA Tokyo, Japan

Volker Staab Berlin

Aires Mateus & Associados Lisbon, Portugal

 

An Exhibition of the winning entries for the 20th

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