The layered architecture:
It is our first full day in Berlin, having arrived yesterday morning and adjusting to the jet lag. We left the apartment slightly after 10 this morning, walking north towards Museum Island. Exploring enough to get a sense of our apartment’s surroundings was the main objective.
We passed the Berliner Dom, which soon became a point of reference as we moved around the area. The massive church stayed in sight, appearing in every opening an alley brought. It was on our way to the Deutsches Historiches Museum that I became aware of a layering of architecture within the city. Given the history of Berlin, there is a joining of pre-war and post-war building, both styles which can be seen at the same time given this consistent layering of architecture.
One method of layering, as exhibited by the Deutsches Historiches Museum was through the use of curtain wall. The transparency of the glass literally let me see through the modern facade of the museum to the older building next to it, essentially viewing both architecture at the same time.
Another method was more spatial, involving the layering of building masses. In this sense, as I walked the city, I was conscious of the buildings I was passing while also keeping track of those in the distance, like the Berliner Dom. I also noticed that the same curtain wall of the museum acted in a more reflective manner once outside, rather than transparent. The reflectivity allowed me again to view the modern while still seeing the surrounding architecture.