DAY 13: Luckenwalde, Germany

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The opposing architecture:

As a Materials Study field trip, we all hopped on a train at 3:00 to Luckenwalde, a town outside of Berlin.The Luckenwalde Library is a renovated train station building by the architects FF Architekten. As luck would have it, we met the architect on the train platform and proceeded as our tour guide for the trip. The firm was responsible for renovation the main library space, keeping it’s original train station tile work, as well as adding a sculptural addition for community youths.

As we stood outside in the chilly weather yet sparkling sunshine, the arhitect told us how his firm aimed to create an addition that was like a piece of sculpture, where as one walks around it, the form of the building changes with the changing perspective. In this regard, the building is successful. I was also fond of the exterior cladding, a shiny matalic gold made of copper and aluminum; except that a different and slightly non-matching metal cladding had to be used around the windows because the other cladding couldn’t be cut that way. But I digress.

The discussions after our interior tour turned to questions of historical preservation. I asked the architect what sort of restrictions he had, if any, in terms of the building’s historical presence. He mentioned that dealing with historical restorations is a lot of deal making; the firm could use a different cladding if they compromised and kept the original tile inside. Professor Rolf said that he thinks additions to a historic building should represent the time they were erected just as much as the historical half represents its time; some day the addition could be deemed historic as well.

But I think Professor Joachim said it best when he stated that all architecture is an addition, after all, even architecture in a wide open site is an addition to the land, and that in a city, of a city.

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