Connie Chang and Alex Yen-Jung Wu, The University of Texas at Austin
School of Architecture
From the Jury:
There’s a strong structural diagram to the project, which really looks viable, and it has enough perforations that it could really be an exciting place to be. It presents a critique of tower-in-a-park housing by showing a fabric that has the potential to reanimate the in-between spaces that are underutilized. The presentation is fantastic because there’s everything you need to draw you into the project and see the depth of it.
As architects, how can we both spatially and socially integrate new communities into an existing urban fabric?
Berlin is a dynamic city whose urban fabric is the manifestation of its discordant past. The neighborhoods adjacent to Karl-Marx-Allee are large-scale embodiments of the modernist urban design concept of “Towers in a Park.” Within this context, however, the “park” is left undeveloped. The combination of typological “towers” and lack of ownership of the “park” generates a dissonance that is felt throughout the neighborhood.
Our urban intervention introduces an alternative system of densification specific to this neighborhood of East Berlin. The system is antithetical to the ideology of the existing Modernist blocks and shies away from singular architectural and urban forms. By utilizing diverse, smaller-scale components, this methodology creates cohesive communities that layer within the existing context and reclaim underutilized open space.
The design is organized by a tessellation in which the unit comprises enclosed mass, inhabitable surfaces, and voids. This proposed system of housing seeks to promote new methods of urban living. By rejecting the singular apartment building, the aggregation of units and shared spaces instigates a more cohesive urban community. Visual porosity across levels and interstitial conditions generates opportunities for spontaneous community interaction.