Pivotal Point Berlin

Studio Arets is interested in the development of the city as an artificial product, concentrating on Berlin as a phenomenological site, while also researching other metropolises. Berlin is Studio Arets’ research-battlefield, with projects, lectures, and seminars as our weapons. We've also conducted comparative research into the cities of Tokyo, Moscow, and the newly developed city of Dubai, while research into Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is currently in preparation. 

What is our collective dream, and what are we living for? What is happiness today? These are questions one might reflect on when thinking about the contemporary metropolis. What can we learn from Tokyo, a densified but green city, which extends like an 8-story carpet to infinity, with high-rises only in very specific areas like Shinjuku and Shibuya? Did the political and economic change in Moscow create a new era after the revolution of the early-twentieth century? And what, exactly, are the goals for urban change? Are the programmatic proposals along Sheikh Zayed Road, and the shoreline of Dubai, examples of 'money rules', or will they illustrate that, perhaps, utopias are founded on risks?

Cities are quite often developed on strong ideas put forward by one person, at key moments in time. The goal then, of Studio Arets, is to develop strategies for sites through which cities themselves can create new realities. Architecture should, in this respect, deploy a qualitative stance within the city, making its presence felt – for quality never renounces itself. We must insert, as a surgeon, a radical intervention. We should deploy a ruse, just as Jean-Luc Godard did in Notre Musique; a film in which a mirror is held before us.

Architecture should then, in this respect, be seen as a symphony of our time, and as an unconnected reality. It's now clear the city must take on a new identity. While housing should be considered a place for individuals to connect within this new urban realm. Yet, a desire for the 'countryside' is now greater than ever before, as the city is unable to offer an alluring lifestyle for some – the expense of living in such densely clustered urban environments continue to rise. Thus, we are back to where we started, living in the countryside, outside the city's borders. 

The Alexanderplatz project that Studio Arets has been working on is, first and foremost, an attempt to understand the contemporary urban reality of Berlin, between eastern and western cultures. The site manifests a pivotal point between these two cultures, and it could be the center of this city, itself often referred to as an assemblage of villages. Thus this pivotal point, surrounded by culture, shopping, and housing, looks towards the future of Berlin. Without risks, one cannot materialize new ideas, and without new ideas, there is no new future for the city of Berlin.

Wiel Arets, Protocol, UdK Berlin, 2007, pp. 54-55

Watch a video about the UdK and Berlin