Kleihues + Kleihues und Graft have proposed Eckwerk: a multifaceted complex that aims to be a support for a wide array of activities and needs. According to the architects, Eckwerk was designed to be a space in constant motion and change. It’s inhabitants, their flows of creativity and energy are on constant motion, being recycled through the flow of people both leaving and coming to work and live at Eckwerk. In this sense, it’s a space designed to take advantage of an ephemeral temporality.
The architects propose that the use of this complex is made in a slightly different way that we would be used to: “No one should search for the quickest way out of here; it’s about spontaneous encounters, which should be possible at any time – between students and start-up teams, between craftsmen and philosophers, entrepreneurs and visitors.”
Transparent corridors, public gathering spaces, emphatized visual connection between spaces and people are some of the means employed in this project, in the attempt to produce a general spirit of creative and active community-living. In fact, the main transparent corridor, named the “Spree Riverbank For All” meanders through the building, providing visual contact with the most diverse moments and people.
Eckwerk’s image and architectural expressiveness reflects its concept. It’s eclectic and attempts to transpire a vibrant energy. The displacement of the apartment blocks on the façade creates an irregular and always different composition; the solid bricks on the bottom floors, besides being reminiscent of a conventional German street, create a coherent materiality for the relationship with the street and its people. The inside of the complex holds an “inner street”, where a central plaza is created, surrounded by the buildings, and covered with a transparent skin, in order to let the sunlight flood the creative enterprises of the inhabitants.
Cedric Price, with his Fun Palace project has delved into the wonderfully complex but enticing task of making a flexible, creative, fun, mobile and temporary building. Eckwerk is, as it seems influenced by some of Price’s ideas about the connection of fun, creativity, mobility and the physicality of architecture itself. In that sense, Eckwerk is one of those projects whose degree of success will depend on the use given to it by it’s users – and using such uncertainty as the only constant, as the architects say, is in my opinion a certainly praisable attitude.
By: Daniel Anthony Fraga
Location: Berlin, Germany
Architects: Kleihues + Kleihues und Graft
Images: Kleihues + Kleihues und Graft