Over the last few months,  ACME has participated in the London School of Architecture's (Un) Building programme for 13-16 year olds. The LSA developed the outreach programme in collaboration with RIBA and LIFT Futures as part of the National Saturday Club.

Over a series of Saturday design workshops, students are supported to develop their proposed designs and create 1:50 physical models and orthographic drawings for presenting to local stakeholders. As part of this process, students learn some of the fundamental skills required by designers to develop and present their design ideas.

A huge thanks to ACME team - Teshan Seneviratne, Monica Capitanio and Hanna Blazheieva for making time on their weekends for this important outreach programme - inspiring future architects and designers!

Nollendorfplatz was once celebrated as one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares, designed by Lenné in the style of an opulent garden. In the golden 1920s era, it was a pulsating centre of culture and nightlife, cinema and theatre. Hoppla, We’re Alive! (Hoppla, wir leben!), performed at the Neues Schauspielhaus in 1927, was a “New Objectivity” play by the seminal epic theatre director Erwin Piscator, and a milestone in the history of theatre. The stage set for the play includes an innovative three story structure with seven rooms without front facade, giving the audience an X-ray view of the daily life of the actors. Few traces remain today in Nollendorfplatz of all the historic layers of theatre, gay life and counterculture.

The proposals for the missing building on the square seek to fill the urban gap next to the Schauspielhaus, and to celebrate the cultural history of this unique urban space. Photos of the original actors of the Hoppla, We’re Alive! Play from 1927 as well as more recent productions are used to create 3D virtual models. Varying levels of sculpting and pixelation are used to create a range of 70 figures that will be CNC machined from green granite. The stone elements will not be used as superfluous decoration, but in the spirit of “New Objectivity”, they will be the structural columns for the building, performing both aesthetic and functional uses.

The sculptural elaboration varies from the untreated, rough granite monolith to the interpretation of the human form. Neither gender nor skin colour can be read. The main material of the columns is granite, a common facade material in Berlin. Depending on light, viewing angle and veining of the natural stone, the figures and monoliths can create different visual effects. The figure facade is both a sculptural expression of the significance of the site and a statically effective component of the supporting structure.

Historical and contemporary actors serve as form-givers for the figures of the facade, they are parametrically abstracted and reduced to an expressive plasticity. The high degree of abstraction avoids competition with the figures of the Metropols theatre.


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