Q Berlin 2022, “the metropolitan conference for the immediate present”, took place at the International Congress Center in Westend on September 15-16, featuring a hybrid assortment of talks, performances, and other events. The massive, brutalist ICC was built in 1979 and closed in 2014, though it is occasionally used for one-off events.
The Großer Heineberg is a 56-meter hill in Potsdam-Bornim (peak at 52.435010, 12.988588, map below). After WWII it was used as a dump for building materials, and while the vegetation has generally made a comeback the soil is still filled with pieces of brick, tile, and glass, with larger piles of rubble appearing frequently.
ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE: MOON, published to broadly coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar mission, is a fascinating hybrid of various types of reference guide. From its first pages, the book fully commits to addressing the contradiction contained in its title: namely, how can one discuss the “architecture” of a place that is not just currently uninhabited, but could remain so indefinitely? While other entries in DOM’s Architectural Guide series are organized by region, the Moon guide is, understandably, instead chronological – after all, with most existing structures on the Moon having been built with little to no idea where they would eventually end up, the book can be forgiven for suspending the idea of architecture as a site-specific practice in this case.
THOUGH THERE ARE dozens of locations in greater Potsdam with “Berg” (literally “mountain”, though often applied to much more modest hills) in their names, the region is overwhelmingly rural, flat, and agrarian. Nonetheless, even among the sprawling corn and alfalfa fields and winding highways of Potsdam Nord, occasional clusters of hills reach high enough altitudes to be notable.
From August 12 – September 5, 2021, the sound festival Sonambiente took over Berlin’s recently decommissioned Tegel Airport (TXL). Various sound-based installations took over the airports corridors, gates, and waiting rooms. As the airport saw its final flight in November 2020, and was fully decommissioned in May 2021, the building remained relatively intact, though informational signs and installed businesses (such as in-terminal restaurants) had been deconstructed, and some of the exterior facades had begun to show signs of wear.
Antarctic Resolution, a monumental new “1000 page study of Antarctica’s architectural, historical, ecological and climatic peculiarities” from Lars Müller Publishers, traces the history of the southernmost continent from the early “Heroic Age” explorers up through the present. The book sets out to map the world’s least-known continent in numerous ways: cartographically, to be sure, but also chronologically (in both human and geological scales) and sociologically. Via dozens of essays and hundreds of maps and photos, the book creates a multidimensional model of Antarctica, with contributions from a diverse group of experts in science, history, ecology, architecture, and even art and literature. The essays are grouped into thematic chapters with unusually vivid and evocative names for a science-focused book (“Antarctic Pie”, “Twenty-Six Quadrillion Tons of Ice”, “The Ideological Use of Relics”), which serve more as prompts for creative thought than strictly organizational designations.
ORIGINALLY FROM NEW Zealand, photographer Cody Ellingham traveled to Tokyo on a scholarship in 2012. He ended up staying for six years, and while exploring the country’s staggeringly vivid and varied cityscapes he began photographing danchi, the massive public housing projects built in the aftermath of WWII. Like many such postwar projects in both the Soviet bloc and Western Europe, danchi took a core utopian vision and expanded it into vast, blocks-long megastructures capable of housing thousands. And, as is also often the case with utopian architecture, the decades since have not always been kind to the buildings themselves and those who depend on them.