Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Cho Im Sik
Site: East Side Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a social gap remains between the population of former East- and West Germany. The cold war had turned the two countries into enemies and decades of competition and hostility led to the formation of vastly different customaries on both sides of the Wall that could not find a common ground after the reunion. Being the political center of the separation, the attempts in Berlin to create a new, reunited city quickly backfired and exacerbated the underlying social division. The role of the Berlin Wall, being the symbol of ultimate physical and political division, manifested into the “Wall in the Head” that now represents the
insurmountable differences between the two former states.
Based on this context, the thesis project proposes the Anti-Wall typology, an urban infrastructure utilizing solar energy harvesting as a starting point for the establishment of commons and the empowerment of citizens in the creation of a shared city. Eventually those commons could initiate a process to overcome the social division and foster cohesion amongst the people of Berlin.
System for the
Based on the Solar City Masterplan of Berlin, this thesis proposes a public- private partnership that aims to create a series of public solar energy infrastructures to be managed by citizen groups. Those infrastructures are not only intended to serve as a renewable power source but can also be transformed to provide desperately needed public spaces and communal housing for the city of Berlin.
As the overarching problem, the wall in the head, exceeds architectural scale, the project is conceived as a prototype system that can be applied in various situations. Following an urban analysis, a series of sites still suffering from the former division and the transformation following the reconnection of the city are selected as starting points for the project. From there, the project can grow along the spine of the former Berlin Wall.
Infrastructure for Cooperation
The solar infrastructure consists of individual solar farms that can be leased to small citizens groups. Each farm contains all the necessary tools to be maintained by layman without specialised training. Groups can form between people from different backgrounds sharing a common interest or goal for the transformation of their solar farm. The communal management of the energy plant will create a sense of community and establish a practice of cooperation.
Economic profit gained from solar harvesting can be used to create a cluster of shared residential, economic- and social spaces within the solar infrastructure. Each cluster is based on a set of components broken down on macro, meso and micro scale to allow for a maximum amount of freedom, both in the configuration of the overall cluster as well as each individual component. As more profits is earned over time, shared communal spaces can be inserted within and between the clusters in an incremental progress.
New Urban Commons
Over time, new members can join the clusters as they expand and solar farms can be constructed in other parts of the city. Overcoming social and economic dichotomies and connecting different population groups through their collaboration in the creation of a shared city will eventually establish a new common ground for the people of Berlin and forms an anti-thesis to the oppressive architecture of the period of division.