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Literature Faculty, Berlin

Part 2 Project 1998
Cari-Jane Wallet
University of Cambridge Cambridge UK
The way in which this project has been approached is documented thoroughly in the 'project report' that accompanies this submission.

The portion of the institution that I have been responsible for encompasses the Lecture/Theatre, with its outdoor performance area, and the Literature Faculty (rehtorics, poetry, theatre studies, choreography, drama, opera). The thematic intentions for the project are grounded within the specifics of this brief and deal with issue of performance and education - in particular the progression from the written to the spoken word (see section entitled 'Brief' in the project report). It is these thematic intentions that structure the disposition of the various territories within the faculty and the spaces in-between. In this way each territory is connected to much wider conversation, indeed the experience of a single space was seen to expand beyond its physical limits and into the surrounding topography. In addition to this the thematic intentions for the project provided the impetus behind the spatial investigations.

The spatial studies allowed me to examine how an activity within a room is intimately connected to the immediate architectural context, which includes not only the primary spatial architectural moves but also the way in which the room is made and how through a detailed consideration of light and material a territory and setting are created. It is this that contributes to the appropriateness of the room for a particular setting and allows for a particular habitation to ensue. The work submitted here is therefore characterised by an increasing level of specificity concerning such aspects as light and material. It is this attention to detail (see detail study 1: seminar room, leather wall, floor... in project report) that informs the final representations of the spaces.

In addition to this the project also allowed considerable attention to be focused on the structural and environmental challenges presented by a glasshouse. The structural solution was arrived at following a detailed study of seminal examples of glass and through consultation with various engineers. Following heliodon and wind tunnel/smoke tests a comprehensive environmental strategy was drawn up (see detail study 2 - project report).
Cari-Jane Wallet

The submitted project is situated in Berlin. Among the reasons for this choice was the fact that Berlin is presently in the process of a radical transformation, becoming the place where most of the recent architectural and urban ideas are questioned, re-examined and to a great extent turned into visible results. The Berlin situation extends the limited confines of local understanding and debate and thus provided an ideal opportunity to articulate and justify our own approach to design.

The brief of the project was initiated by the current debate in German academic and government circles about the need to create somewhere in Germany, and preferably in Berlin, a place for the study of German culture where foreign students and academics could stay and work for a limited period of time.

The chosen site, now empty and available for such a purpose, is situated in the vicinity of the Technical University and the Hochschule der Kunste, close to the acknowledged urban centre of West Berlin.

The intention of the brief was to establish a series of specialised departments for the study of German history and geography, linguistics and literature, philosophy and politics, anthropology and archaeology. The site accommodates a main library for the Technical University and the Hochschule der Kunste, planned originally by the city of Berlin and situated in the centre of the site. We have re-planned and re-situated the library in such a way that it can contribute, apart from its primary purpose, to the topography and life of the new centre.

The main idea behind the project was to demonstrate how conventional large-scale structures and isolated buildings can be incorporated into the city and what spatial arrangements are necessary to make this possible.

The goal of the project can be best summarised as an attempt to reconcile the critical realism of the initial stage with the poetics of urban space in the final stage. The concrete nature of the attempt can be best illustrated and discussed in the light of the project submitted by Cari-Jane Wallet.

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