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Defining An Architecture of Routine And Ritual - A Bath House For Kreuzberg, Berlin

Part 2 Project 2003
Bethan Rayner
Gregory Murrell
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
A strategy for intervention into the once no-man's land between east and west Berlin is born out of the nature of the site and its exploration as autonomous realities. The architecture alludes to the diversity of these imagined realities to establish relationships with the fragments that remain. In this way, the site is able to evolve without wiping the slate clean, in order that the layering of urban histiry be made manifest rather than supressed. The bath house complex, situated in and around a disused canal basin, creates a place for ritual and everyday activities that draw people and water across the site, enabling them to to engage with their environment creating their own place within the space they inhabit. This establishes a landscape that acknowledges history and intertwines it in the everyday and ritualistic lives of the surrounding communities. The troubled history is not separated into a detatched memorial, but a part of life. The void becomes a positive space that is used and preserved as a different yet connecting element within the city.
Bethan Rayner
Gregory Murrell


Bethan’s project for a bath house and swimming pool establishes a subtle but compelling relationship with the desolate urban topography of an area to the north of the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Formed within a ‘turning pool’ that was part of the former canal network of the city, the architecture cuts across the grain of the derelict urban morphology, forming an enigmatic series of spaces linked by ‘minor’, everyday, architectural elements - the wall, the stepladder, the gutter, etc. - which are made disconcertingly monumental by their careful placing and aura of ritual. Her work, framed around the question of architecture in the ‘Age of Anxieties’, was consistently and characteristically sensitive, nuanced and carefully poised throughout the year. Neither forgetful of nor absorbed into the traumatic history of this site, her project draws upon the contingency of the ruin and the strange futurity it projects.

Tutor(s)

2003
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