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Berlin Architexchange

Part 1 Project 2001
Alan Bushby
University of Plymouth, UK
Located within the grounds of the Deutsches Architekten Zentrum, the ArchiTEXchange houses the design debates of young Berlin architects. Accessed primarily through a new bridge over the Spree, its central building is an architectural metaphor for the ever-changing city as well as for the vibrant workshops which address the future of Berlin.
The animated louver screens constitute its most striking element; they help control its environment, reflect its use day and night, and continuously transform its image. The open-space, experimental factory floor, at ground level, can be overlooked from the public viewing platform, at first floor level. The bridge leads directly into the heart of the latter, while an elevated walkway links the ArchiTEXchange with the DAZ.
Other elements of the programme are formed individually and populate the first floor. Each element has a distinct formal identity, but all are recognisable as parts of an original, disjointed whole. Removed from their indoors position and restructured, they inhabit the grounds of the DAZ, the bridge, the nearby road, eventually spreading across the new capital city.
Designed for maximum light and heat efficiency, the ArchiTEXchange has three distinct climatic zones, controlled by users, and offering optimal conditions for the activities they house.

Alan Bushby

The success of Alan's work lies in the rigorous and detailed investigation of his tectonic propositions. Invited to think the multi-layered text of the city of Berlin, he started with Berlin as the stage of intense building activity and constant transformation.

Alan explored ideas primarily through physical models, continuously testing and consistently re-thinking them in material form. His ArchiTEXchange is conceived as a site for continuous experimentation, a design laboratory housed in a building articulated as a lightweight box of precision tools, paying homage to the industrial activity formerly on the site. A bridge across the Spree leads directly to this new forum for Berlin's young architects. The mobility of its louvered screens makes it visible while also reflecting the dynamics of the activity within.

The ground floor design theatre is open to public view; the future of the city is enacted by architects under the scrutinising eyes of the city's inhabitants. Elements or tools of the ArchiTEXchange reappear outside the building's limits; establish a link across the river; inhabit the city annotating its fabric and encountering its dwellers; increase the visibility of the on-going debate which centers on Berlin's spatial practices; and activate interaction between architecture and society.

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