Edited by: Riccardo Del Fabbro – Architecture Department Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
Proofreading: Bianca Baroni
Where : Berlin, Germany
Artworks: “residential landscape”
Home, sweet home.
Along one of the roads that allow you to get out of Berlin, heading north, just before the city is replaced by the countryside, there is a particular example of architecture.
This architecture is very easy to notice, though not so to comprehend or understand.
It is an entire block dedicated to residences with some small business for those who live in this place.
It is a fascinating architecture, that provokes strange sensations, feelings that tend to amplify with every step that you move towards the entrance of the courtyard.
Just like Edmund Burke describes in “Enquiry upon the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful”, we are faced with something that seems insurmountable and has mythological proportions.
Are we dealing with something sublime?
What are the real feelings that this building can spread?
According to Burke sublime’s idea, we might think that:
“Anything that can arouse ideas of pain and danger, or rather all that in some ways is terrible or is related to terrible objects, and who acts in a similar way to terror.” *
Ok. Maybe this architecture does not cause ideas of pain or danger, but it creates a sort of pre-alarm, almost as if it wanted to warn us that something very special is about to happen.
Maybe we’re just dealing with something that is out of the ordinary, maybe we are fascinated by some special features of this building.
The juxtaposition of sharp angles and acuminate cantilevers makes us experience the feeling of being in front of a huge iceberg.
As an Iceberg, we immediately think that what we are facing in reality hides a considerable invisible part, amplifying the feeling of admiration and anxiety at the same time.
This architectural and emotional concern spreads over about 400 meters, and is emphasized by the contrast of an abandoned area where bushes and trees, something we might call “nature”, tries to counter this edgy architecture.
The concept of nature and sublime reported to it in this situation does not work.
This architecture has been replaced nature.
This architecture is part of the category of technological sublime.
The nature (in this case the architecture), in its most terrifying aspects, “produces the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling” *, a negative one, however, not produced by the contemplation of the fact itself, but from the awareness of the insuperable distance that separates the subject from the object.
It would be interesting to understand how the inhabitants of this “monster” have taken the right countermeasures to face every day, “the horrendous that fascinates”.
How different could the internal aspect of the many apartments be, compared to acute facades?
Is there, of course, without creating a case, any effect on the behavior of the residents created by the shape of this block?
Is there any unconscious consequence on the definition/idea that the inhabitants have about the concept of sublime?
Home, SUBLIME home.
* Edmund Burke, Enquiry upon the origin of our ideas of the sublime and beautiful, 1757, New York, P.F. Collier & Son