Guest Editor: Riccardo Del Fabbro firstname.lastname@example.org
Translation Assistent : Bianca Baroni
What : Silent Architecture
Inside the shopping district of Berlin, near the iconic tower seen in “We Children of Bahnhof Zoo”, there’s a curious framework that -it seems- wants to tell a story.
At first sight, this vertical stage appears as an office tower, but there’s a component that invalidates all the previous thoughts.
This component is the Gedächtniskirche or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
Built between 1891-95 in memory of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first German Emperor (1861-1888), by Franz Schwechten in neo-romanesque style, it was damaged on December 23rd, 1943 and almost completely destroyed during the April 1945 air-raids.
The Church remained considerably damaged until 1956, when the new construction was built following Egon Einermann’s winning project for an adjacent modern church including an octagonal hall and a bell tower.
In the last years, different foundations are trying to collect the necessary amount to restore the old church.
Is this indispensable?
Can we think about this restoration, especially in a functional way, as a loss of urban cultural layers?
Walking through this area, this example of “building with no identity-identity” tells us about the exceptional story of a temporary architecture that becomes permanently ephemeral.
Therefore, maybe we should NOT think about a church as an usual obvious architecture, full of iconical components and styles. Moreover if we think about architecture as opposed to the idea that an architectural object is not only a presence but is mostly the sign of presence.
This superimposition can be seen as something that takes away part of the story of this building.
I strongly believe that this framework superimposed on this ruined church reinforces the story of this building, the history of Berlin and also the curiosity to find out what this object really represents.
In closing, I hope this unscheduled urban layer will not disappear, better still I hope there may be the possibility of adding new layers to this framed church.