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FINISHING THE UNFINISHED

Academy of Architecture (2020)

P6 by Martin Aarts and Hank van Tilborg

Berlin is struggling with its heritage from World War II, Tempelhof is one of those examples. Because of lack of taken measures, one of the largest building of Europe sits empty, while designed as a machine it is preserved like a museum piece. Even though there is a housing shortage in the city, large buildings like these remain unused and take up valuable space. 

I propose to reuse the old airport building and even build on it, to supply in the housing demand. At the same time, I will secure a large green area in the city by showing the historical relevance of the field to prevent it from being built on.

The large airport building will be activated by the hangars with creative business and a ‘Freistaat’ atmosphere. Cutting through the building make sure the building becomes more transparent and involves the shadowy back-side. The possibility to walk around, through and in the building gives new energy to the place because it brings more light, air and space. At the same time the building exposes the inside of it, but also gives opportunity for a special way of showing history. Interesting facades with iron cladding or green walls to appreciate the abandoned character the building once had, or facades that generate activity, and give possibility access the building and the roof.

The roof of the airport building has great potential to become part of the park. By making use of the fact that the roof of the airport is a 3 meters thick concrete slab that can hold 100.000 visitors on the current stands, the roof has the potential to become a public park with a view over Tempelhof. By placing trees and grass, the roof can become a place to enjoy Tempelhof while taking a stroll or by sitting down. 

Finishing the unfinished staircases to create space for housing. On top of the airport buildings and its roof park, there is plenty of space to create housing. By creating different Baugruppe along the staircases, there will be different sizes and types of buildings. The residential buildings and towers should attach to the airport building like parasites, with contrasting materials and structures opposing the current brick bunker. But they need to leave enough space and light for the roof park.

I want visitors to explore the Tempelhofer Feld and its historical structures. By making small hills and slopes under and around the present structures like the Radartower, the Satellite, the viewing point and the US-Army garbage burner, visitors are made aware of the history the field has, and events that displayed here like the Wright brothers, the Nazi rallies and the Luftbrücke. Next to the educational function, the hills are places to relax and lay down for a moment. These hills are connected by a network of different types of paths that traverse through the natural area in between. This ‘in-between area’ is where nature gets to flourish, with swamps, forestry and plains. This way Tempelhof becomes a place were nature is secured within the city. 

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