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John Hejduk Tower : Development in Berlin, Germany
Kreuzberg Tower, Berlin : Architecture Information
12 Apr 2010
John Hejduk Tower News
English text (scroll down for German):
STOPPED!! INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO SAVE HEJDUK TOWER FROM DEFACEMENT GETS RESULTS
The campaign to save John Hejduk’s Kreuzberg Tower and Wings in Berlin from defacement has galvanised the international architectural community in the last ten days, and appears to be working and effecting change.
The campaign to save the buildings was set in motion a few weeks ago by Dr. Renata Hejduk, daughter of the architect and professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Arizona State University. It was taken up by a group of concerned Berlin architecture activists, who have worked flat out in support of Dr. Hejduk’s efforts to convince the owners to adopt a refurbishment strategy that his faithful to Hejduk’s original intentions.
An online petition was set up to try and save the buildings from the planned alterations after unsuccessful attempts by Dr. Hejduk to have a meaningful discussion with the building’s owners. Two Berlin architecture blogs, “SLAB-mag” and “Architecture in Berlin” have provided a running commentary of ongoing developments. Now the public pressure generated by the campaign and its supporters appears to be paying off.
The building’s managers, BerlinHaus GmbH have replaced images of the purple and white proposals with a written statement to the overwhelming reaction. In it they indicate a willingness to engage in discussions to arrive at broader consent. Their statement is quoted in full below.
In addition, as a result of the campaign, Matthias Peckskamp, Head of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg urban planning department has approached the owners via their architect, in the hope of seeking a more sympathetic approach. BerlinHaus informed him that the site work has been halted until agreement can be reached. In addition, the Berlin Senate has become involved, with Senate Building Director Regula Lüscher set to act as a mediating party between the owners, the city and representatives of the Hejduk estate in a meeting set for 19th April. Mr. Peckskamp hopes a resolution here could set a positive precedent for other threatened IBA schemes in the future.
In just two weeks, the online petition garnered almost 3,000 signatories from all over the world. The impressive list of supporters includes prominent architects such as:
– Peter Eisenman
– Steven Holl
– Bernard Tschumi
– Daniel and Nina Libeskind
– Shigeru Ban
– Henning Larsen
– Michael Rotondi
– Thom Mayne, Morphosis
– Sir Peter Cook
– Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio und Charles Renfro, D S+R, New York
– Jean Philippe Vassal, Lacaton & Vassal, Paris
– Raoul Bunschoten, Chora, London
– Donald Bates, LAB, Melbourne
– Gunter Zamp Kelp, Berlin
– Jan Kleihues, Kleihues+Kleihues, Berlin
– Michael Sorkin, New York
– Lebbeus Woods
– Matthias Sauerbruch und Louise Hutton, sauerbruch + hutton, Berlin
– Julia Bolles und Peter Wilson
as well as a host academics and historians including:
– Joseph Rykwert, University of Pennsylvania
– Anthony Vidler, Dekan, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture Cooper Union, New York
– K. Michael Hays, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
– Stan Allen, Dekan, School of Architecture, Princeton University
– Prof. Alberto Perez-Gomez ,Professor, McGill University, Montreal
– Prof. Wim van den Bergh, Professor, RWTH Universität Aachen und Maastricht
– Christine Hawley, UCL, London
– Peter Carl, LMU, London
– Ben Nicholson, Associate Professor, Institute of Chicago
As well as signing the petition many supporters have also voiced support for the effort as well as the importance of John Hejduk’s work and legacy.
Steven Holl said:
“Considering the last half of the 20th century, only three architects lifted the culture of architecture into the realm of poetry: Louis Kahn, Louis Barragan and certainly John Hejduk.”
Shigeru Ban said:
‘‘John Hejduk was one of the most influential educators and architects of our time. John’s IBA tower in Berlin embodies a message of selflessness in a world so often dominated by greed.”
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of Harvard University Graduate School of Design, said:
“John Hejduk’s Berlin Tower is a rare example of architecture from one of the 20th century’s most poetic architects. We should do all we can to preserve and celebrate it.”
Michel Sorkin said:
“The good news of the renovation of John Hejduk’s wonderful Berlin Tower is betrayed by the whimsical vandalism of its “restorers.” What next? Perhaps the Blue Mosque would be more satisfying in pink.”
John Hejduk is best known as one of the ‘New York Five’, as Dean of the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York, and for his many published projects and writings which influenced a generation of architects. The Kreuzberg Tower is one of only a handful of built works by this influential architect. Berlin has three examples, all social housing schemes built as part of the IBA 1987 international building exhibition.
The text above (12 Apr 2010) in German at John Hejduk Tower Berlin
John HejdukTower – further information
Contacts re John Hejduk Tower Berlin
Professor Renata Hejduk, PhD – Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Contact Renata.Hejduk@asu.edu
Robert Slinger tel: +49 30 695 33 860 email@example.com
External Link to the John Hejduk Tower Petition
Kreuzberg Tower Petition
English translation of statement from BerlinHaus (from their website):
Project development Charlottenstraße 96-97
As new owners of the building ensemble Charlottenstraße 96-97 in Berlin – Kreuzberg we are planning urgently necessary facade repairs.
After the completion of some initial works, we have received repeated requests to engage in a broader public discussion in respect to the design of the facades, and to consider the special characteristics of the building and its architecture.
We see ourselves as a responsible company, which does not only undertake refurbishment for the preservation and increase in property values, but acknowledges the interaction which takes place between such measures and their surroundings and site specific conditions.
Therefore we are glad to face up to the challenge of finding broad design consent.
First discussions are currently taking place into how a promising inclusion of different interest groups can be achieved.
We are glad to continuously keep you informed about the current state of this process.
Kreuzberg Tower Berlin Refrubishment information from Robert Slinger
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photo © Adrian Welch
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