Retirement Mansion “Funkturm-Palais” Charlottenburg and The Center for Unloved Architecture

By Ragna Körby, Tobias Kurtz, Achim Nelke, 2005 

In the last two decades, the driving forces of Berlin’s urban development gave modern architecture of the post war era a hard time. While the public debate and widely expressed resentment mainly focused on the dismantling of the former GDR-Palace of the Republic for the planned reconstruction of the Prussian Castle in the centre of Berlin, another icon of seventies architecture was in danger.
The timeless futuristic International Congress Centre (ICC) in West-Berlin, designed by Berlin based architects Schüler-Witte can be read as the western architectural answer to the Palace of the Republic. In 2005 it was supposed to have the same fate, too. Out of financial-considerations the city of Berlin wanted to replace the ICC with a new “efficient” but faceless building.

We came up with a proposal to satisfy all architectural desires and needs and took part in an exhibition of the Berlin Architects Association (BdA) showing statements for the future of the ICC.
As the ICC appears to be a space ship, we proposed to let it fly and leave its hostile neighborhood in Berlin-Charlottenburg to join his brother in style, the Palace of the Republic. The two would unite to form the “Centre for Unloved Architecture” and fight blimpish forces in architecture and urbanism and their dreams of Prussian order. Even more, the “Centre for Unloved Architecture” could attract other threatened architectural icons and give the centre of Berlin a new future.

The empty place the ICC has left in Charlottenburg will at the same time open up undreamt of possibilities for those who cannot wait for old castles to be re-erected. The old prussian castle could come into existence and together with Charlottenburg Castle and Grunewald Castle would form a “Castle Cluster” with a global attraction to friends of monarchies. The new castle itself shall host a retirement mansion that gives shelter to those who feel threatened by modernism.

Open the poster here

Articles about the exhibition (in German):