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Pfefferberg Media Park (R1)

Berlin, Germany
Aborted 2000

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Rehabilitation strategies:
The Pfefferberg has developed unsystematically throughout its history, punctuated by a rich variety of industrial architecture.  This architectural discontinuity along with the numerous architectonic breaks that occurred through the sporadic reconstruction and conversions of the buildings are the most relevant witnesses of the complex history of the site. The present rehabilitation strategy of the Pfefferberg should be constructed around the same logic of circumstantial readjustments. This project should not be a sterilization process.

Programs crossings: 
The much-anticipated cultural content that will take place through the Pfefferberg community should be considered as an essential ingredient for a successful planning of the architectural project. The new interventions should be regarded as a series of autonomous instruments serving specific functions that will be dispatched throughout the site.  The strategic zoning of the programs on site should be a result of the very diverse activities that will occur at the Pfefferberg.  Provoking crossings of programs throughout all zones of the project should produce interesting relationships between the different activities, therefore avoiding the creation of isolated concentrations of similar activities within the same zones.
The logic of electronic space:
The Pfefferberg electronic site is now under development.  Zones of public interest will be monitored along a network of points that will constitute an alternative journey that will be accessible to the public on the World Wide Web.  This network of electronic space will feature new types of exhibitions, performances, concerts and interactive events all accessible through the Pfefferberg central internet portal.  This alternative site could potentially become a highly visited address and an important meeting point that will link the Pfefferberg community to the web.  Building interventions and instruments are being developed around these new types of spaces.  The planning of the edifice will not be organized only according to a physical perception of the space but it will also be developed around the sequential frames and the logic of this new electronic space.

Architectural proposal:
In the mid-2000s, we proposed a new planning scheme. This schematic design was presented for approval by the city planning officials and the historical preservation department.
The scheme proposes a development of the project in successive phases.
In the first phase, all zones should be connected to the existing bier garden by enhancing the fluidity of pedestrian circulation along the site and opening all the courtyards to the public use. Presently, we propose the demolition of buildings 13 and 14, which act as a wall that isolates all the interior courtyards from the bier garden. It was also noted that these two buildings were the least interesting from an architectural preservation point of view.

The demolition of buildings 13 and 14 should be followed by the paving of all the public courtyards and gardens with a new surface that should act in the in contrast with the old existing buildings. "Garden islands" that should be planned around the existing trees and greenery will punctuate the new surface. New "garden islands" will also be added to extend the green space throughout the site.

In parallel, a new light structure should be built along the north-south axis of the sight. This structure should be present itself as a suspended tunnel/bridge crossing the site in its center and connecting all the courtyards. This operation should activate the development of the Pfeffeberg; it should act as a showcase of all the activities featured on the site. This new building should be conceived as a central portal containing relevant functions for both the tenants and visitors.

The proposed functions for this new installation include:
- an art installation gallery that can be developed along the 140m linear floor
-  an information desk, ticket booth and central portal to the site.
-  a "bier garden" restaurant.
-  a bar.
-  the hotel reception at proximity of the new hotel that is proposed on the north end of
the site.
- secretarial, teleconference room and complimentary office services that can optionally
cater all  future tenants of the Pfeffeberg.

Other alternative functions and programs for this space are under development.
In addition, an "archeological" treatment for the underground cellars is being studied. The 3000 s.q.m of galleries with unique spatial qualities should be opened to the public. We propose opening trenches and light shafts through the courtyards allowing pedestrian passages, light and proper airflow.

Basic structural, electrical, mechanical and insulation rehabilitation should be performed on all the remaining existing structures. No façade renovations should occur except for limited historical fragments of buildings that will be renovated and will be perceived as "de-contextualized" frames.

This basic rehabilitation strategy should provide the site with ultimate programmatic flexibility.

The relationship between digital architecture and the built form:
In parallel to the program development, the construction of an internet site for the Pfefferberg is being initiated. The internet site can be conceived as a circuit linking different points of observation and monitoring of selected areas in the Pfefferberg. These points can transmit in real time events and installations of public interest in visual and/or sound medium, through the internet. Data can be received and/or transmitted. As a result of these new means of perceiving space and matter, many spatial instances can be reconsidered. The central portal of the digital site can be perceived as an interactive informational desk highlighting the content of the programs. The real-time interactive transmission of more particular public events, like concerts or exhibitions, could take place in following pages along a series of paths that can be accessible from the central page. The practical and architectural implications of such experiments are being investigated. New prototypes of interactive galleries are under development. A new concept of public interactive forums that can be a literal morphing of the classical forum with the internet substitute has also been proposed. "webcells" conceived and designed as individual enclosed workstations, equipped with state of the art computing and communication devices will be strategically dispatched in the Pfefferberg. All these, along with many other possible examples, will allow greater means of communication and exchange between the visitors of the Pfefferberg in berlin and the ones connected to the internet site. Other points of transmission can be conceived around educational and informative activities such as dance schools, artisans, workshops and many other platforms of activities… Every point of visual observation will be given shape according to its diffusion on the net. The areas that will be visually monitored will describe a visual frame. The cone of vision of the monitoring camera will imply their materialization. The physical links or passages between the numerous monitoring points not only serve the pedestrians visiting the Pfefferberg in berlin, but can also become, on the screen, the links to the following portals. Multiple selected journeys in the Pfefferberg can be conceived within the circuits described by the structure of the circulation and the links connecting the various portals. As the initial model of program distribution provides juxtapositions of different activities within the same zones, we could imagine similar crossings within the paths of the internet journeys. Perceived through the computer screen, the material structures of the Pfefferberg will tend to dissolve in a dematerialized environment. On the "real site" of the Pfefferberg, the immaterial structures of the web pages will be translated to material form. Therefore the logic of construction of the immaterial structures will inform the architecture of the buildings. Inversely, the web site can have an architectural logic of its own, capable of altering, on the screen, the real conditions of the physical site. As it is, the Pfefferberg is already the stage of highly recognized social and cultural activities. Therefore, the over-exposure of its site beyond its geographical situation should be a great benefit not only to its visitors, but also to all its tenants. Together they will form a community in which every individual member could be present along this network, taking advantage of a geographical address, a physical presence at the Pfefferberg and an individual electronic address that could be part of this new electronic community.

The rehabilitation of the Pfefferberg site through minimal "surgical" interventions:
This rehabilitation project should not be regarded as a total renovation. Instead, minimal interventions should occur in specific zones. These localized interventions should be conceived as installations, they should be regarded as sophisticated instruments that perform a very particular function. These "controlled" elements will be dispatched along the site and within the buildings in which minimal rehabilitation will be performed. During the course of the development of the project, more installations could occur as new tenants intervene spatially within the dedicated limits that they would individually acquire. Meanwhile, the spaces that have not been totally rehabilitated could be regarded as "residual space". The rough quality of the "residual space" and the patina of the old surfaces can be put in contrast with the new controlled interventions. The new interventions could be of various scales and functions. These new interventions should not replicate the existing or the supposed original conditions of the old buildings. Instead, they should be conceived as additions. In order to preserve the architectural integrity of the historical buildings and the site, there should be a clear difference between the added material and the existent matter.