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Occupied Der Spiegel Headquarters

Part 2 Project 2012
Maria Vrahimi
Birmingham City University | UK
"An existing space may outlive its original purpose and the raison d'etre which determines its forms, functions, and structures; it may thus in a sense become vacant, and susceptible of being diverted, reappropriated and put to a use quite different from its initial one."
Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space

The thesis is dealing with the voids in the urban fabric of the city of Berlin, a city that has been going through a radical transformation for the past two decades. The fragmented landscape in its urban structure reflects the political and social history of a city of continuous reinvention. Weakness in the current political system leads a society that is struggling to fill in the gaps created by the system. As a consequence of this constant need we reach to an extreme polarisation of society by 2040.

The city's social polarisation is spatially translated in the formation of the “occupied Berlin” quarter around its core, developing new spatial relations in the edges of the city. The building is located in the former buffer zone, and acts as a transition point between the two societies that emerge, forming the "Occupied Der Spiegel Headquarters". The ephemeral ideologies of the society of the city's core are allegorically represented in Der Spiegel magazine. The magazine is imported from the core of the city to the "occupied" quarter and once recycled the "Occupied" Der Spiegel magazine is published. The building reflects the way the economic, political and social implications of this polarisation affect the city's urban fabric and the temporary/permanent occupation of the voids.

Is it perhaps time to see what it means to re-orientate our imagination, to question the habit of thinking of space as a surface? And if, instead, we conceive of a meeting up of histories, what will happen to our implicit imagination of time and space in the case of Berlin.

Maria Vrahimi


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