Futuristic Living pt. 2: Moving to Realstadt

After my first post on planning dwellings and cities for the future here, I wanted to revisit the topic by giving you some impressions of an exhibition called “Realstadt” that is still going on in Berlin, where you can visit it until November 28th, in the Kraftwerk Mitte. Right below you can see Berlin two times: the first is an re-imagination of the area around Alexanderplatz, and below that is model of the city, carved out of wood (and though coming close to reality, this too contains buildings that have only been planned but not realized).

Let’s enter the rest of the Realstadt exhibition through a subway model, shall we? Okay.

While the building in the picture above was a design for some youth convention center for the youth organisation of the former GDR, it totally looks like “Darth Vader’s school for stormtrooping children,” right? Hilarious, but even more so if you think about all the potential connections between Strom Troopers and GDR youth organizations. As Daniel Liebeskind mentions here, architecture tells a lot of stories and a lot about the people who designed and built a building.

The exhibition is interesting for the models and designs alone, however, I was slightly underwhelmed. By seeing the ads and reading about the aims of this exhibition, I thought I’d encounter many more models of the type right above or in the three pictures below: Cities and buildings that are not, and probably aren’t to be in the next 100 years, but that represent intersting experiments of thought and imagination, where the wish is the architect, rather than the math. Fair enough, many of the models featured are still amazing to look at, but what bugs me about that, is the lack of information given with the individual pieces and designs. Because obviously basically all designs are unrealized (or at least not yet – or not anymore), but from the texts coming with the pieces it’s often hard to find out, especially if you want to dig a little deeper and see where the model deviates from reality – and why. I feel it wouldn’t have taken too much effort to provide that, and it was noticeably missing in my perception.

In autumn 2010 Berlin is playing host to «REALSTADT.Wünsche als Wirklichkeit» [Realstadt.Wishes Knocking on Reality’s Doors]. The focal point in this exhibition will be not only the concept of the City but also the way we deal with the City. It is the wishes of very many different actors playing an active part in shaping the City that are central to the exhibition: mundane wishes and spectacular ones, idealistic and economic ones, local and global ones. Cities, after all, are built from wishes, animated by wishes and pulsing with wishes.

The image above shows you one of my favorite models, that of a church. I like it so much, because it does a good job at representing what these models and these exhibitions are all about: Giving you a clear sense of what could be, what it would look like and coming up with ideas that take shape in a more concrete way than just some random thought in somebody’s head. Plus, the model reminds me to give you a “Going to Church” post again. Models like the one pictured right below are also interesting in that they bring maps to life and give you a clearer sense of how where you live is situated in the greater scheme of things. Which sounds way more esoteric than it’s really ment to sound.

A vast array of around 300 architectural and planning models and 80 exemplary projects from all over Germany testify to the wish for change and the energy needed to make it happen. In response to a nationwide call, these models were submitted by local authorities, town planning offices, universities, planning initiatives and individuals. The prize-winning projects of the competition “National Prize for Integrated Urban Development and Baukultur”, which was organised in 2009 by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development represented important points of reference. They include blueprints for extensive urban redevelopments and pinpoint interventions, realized concepts and shelved competition entries, participatory processes and bold individual statements.

Due to my lack of originality I decided to not bother you with any interesting information here whatsoever. Instead, I’m just gonna say that I love color coordinated things, so let’s just look at some  more things in good old white.

The exhibition is open from 10 to 8 every day, and as a special treat for you, if you’re a student, it’s free. Despite my critique, I highly recommend you to visit the exhibition, if not only for the exhibition building itself, the Kraftwerk Mitte. The bar, cashier and lighting is done nicely and the whole building makes for an interesting background to the designs featured.



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