The dissertation focuses on the typology of the Berliner Block as reinterpreted in the Eighties by the Internationale Bauausstellung (international building exhibition, shortened as IBA) Berlin 1984-1987. Originally conceived in view of an architectural exhibition limited to the district of Tiergarten, IBA proved to be a broader project of urban renewal that aimed to improve the living condition in the centre of West Berlin, in line with its motto “inner city as a place to live”. Focusing on the renovation of old, damaged, buildings (sector IBA-Altbau) as well as on the design of brand new ones in areas where the war left mostly a tabula-rasa (sector IBA-Neubau), the IBA worked according to the historical structure of the city instead of denying it as Modernism did and this way it remarkably contributed to the recovery of the Berliner Block from the crisis it was experiencing since the beginning of the Twentieth century. For this reason, and also thanks to the international background of many of its architects, its importance was soon acknowledged also out of German borders and it was assumed as model for following reconstructions, beginning with the Planwerk Innenstadt for the center of the again unified Berlin of the Nineties.
Subject of the study are especially the projects of new urban blocks designed on initiative of the sector Neubau of the IBA, which dealt with the critical reconstruction of areas, such as southern Friedrichstadt or southern Tiergarten, where much of the urban fabric was razed to the ground by the bombs. Acknowledging the IBA as a transient phase in Berlin's urban development, not without shortcomings, the research does not offer its defense, but rather aims to clarify some aspects of it that have not yet been fully analyzed. Ideas, processes and, of course, projects of the IBA Neubau are taken into account.
The redrawing and graphical analysis of the blocks designed for the exhibition represent an important component of the work, which aims to clarify the design criteria of the IBA and to evaluate of the coherence between original intentions and results. Among the major aims of the IBA was to find a proper balance between respecting tradition and meeting the demands of modernity. In the light of that, a critical understanding of both strength and weaknesses of the IBA could still be of use in nowadays practice whenever it aims to reconcile urban continuity and future development.
The research has been carried out since 2018 within a Cotutelle Agreement with the faculty of Architecture of the University of Bologna.
Project: Doctoral Thesis: The open Block
Subtitle: Careful design strategies of the Internationale Bauausstellung Berlin 1984-87, Ilaria Maria Zedda
Year: 2017 -