WE’VE COVERED BLUE Crow Media’s collection of Modernist Maps in the past, including an overview of the series and a look at their remarkable Pyongyang Architecture Map. Their newest addition, the Brutalist Berlin Map, joins London, Paris, Sydney, Boston and Washington in their sub-series on Brutalism, and serves as a fitting companion to 2016’s Modern Berlin Map. This newest map repeats some of the structures from its Modernist counterpart, which is to be expected given the implied Venn diagram that maps the ever-shifting overlap of Brutalism and Modernism: the Mäusebunker, Corbusierhaus, Akademie der Künste, the Czech Embassy, among others. Ultimately, while each map has more than enough unique entries to act as a standalone guide, the combination of the two offers even greater opportunities for exploration, as well as a perfect jumping-off point for further discussion.
BY THE TIME Tegel Airport officially opened in 1974, Berlin had already seen more than its share of aviation history. Half a century earlier, Otto Lilienthal launched his innovative gliders from a hilltop in Lichterfelde, and throughout the Weimar years and into WWII and the Cold War airfields sprung up all over the city.
THE GENESIS OF Berlin as we know it today happened just over a century ago, when, on October 1, 1920, the modern city of Greater Berlin (“Groß-Berlin”) was formed from eight adjacent cities and dozens of outlying districts. The formation of this new super-city doubled Berlin’s population from 1.9 million to what was, at the time, a staggering 3.9 million people, making it the world’s fifth-largest city after Tokyo.
BLUE CROW MEDIA IS a London-based publisher of maps, specializing in modernist and brutalist architecture worldwide. The maps are beautifully designed in a classic-modernist aesthetic, and take particular care in their choice of typefaces. The latter point is especially evident in the numerous bilingual maps, many of which use non-Latin scripts including Cyrillic, Georgian, and Hangul. In these maps, both languages get equal space in the layout, sending a clear message that they are intended for locals as well as tourists.
FOR ACCLAIMED FASHION photographer Kristian Schuller, his recent return to Berlin is a homecoming in the truest sense. Born in Halchiu, Romania, Schuller emigrated to Berlin with his parents as a child, where his university years at UdK saw him studying fashion design with Vivienne Westwood and photography with F.C. Gundlach. From there an international trajectory of increasing recognition took him from London to Paris to New York, where he became one of the fashion world’s most sought-after photographers, shooting international celebrities for some of the world’s biggest style magazines.
IMMEDIATELY UPON ITS completion in 1970, Berlin’s Haus der Statistik (which stood north of Alexanderplatz in the shadow of the just-built Fernsehturm) took its place as one of the central organs of the GDR state apparatus. With the collection of data and statistics for all of East Germany as its goal, the eleven-story complex housed numerous bureaucratic units, including several floors of Stasi offices. Its street-level businesses were the ultimate in urbane GDR style, hosting two lounges (Jagdklause and the fabulously named Mocca-Eck), a hunting/fishing shop, and Natascha, a boutique offering the latest Soviet imports.
FOR THE PAST decade, journalist Ciarán Fahey has been documenting Berlin’s abandoned places: factories, train stations, hospitals, power stations, shuttered embassies, decaying villas, and everything in between. On his website Abandoned Berlin he documents these disappearing places in photos and words, focusing on the stories hidden behind crumbling walls and boarded-up windows. The human side of these modern ruins lies at the heart of his project: as the site’s welcome message says, “every crumbling building, creaking floorboard, fluttering curtain and flaking piece of paint has a tale begging to be told.”
DURING ITS FOUR-plus decades of existence, the GDR was a unique geopolitical paradox. Its place at the heart of the Cold War conflict belied the simple, day-to-day lives of the vast majority of its citizens. This paradox manifests itself visibly in the architecture of the former GDR, where often-cosmic abstract and geometric tendencies exist alongside the drab and mundane.