Forgot Password?
Forgot Password
Add to Collection

Bonjour Tristesse

Berlin, Germany
1 of 7Flickr: Frizztext

The Schlesisches Tor residential building , known as Bonjour Tristesse , is a Berlin building around 100 meters southeast of the Schlesisches Tor underground station at Schlesischen Straße 1-8 / corner of Falckensteinstraße 4 in the Kreuzberg district .

The house is designed by Alvaro Siza and was realized as part of the International Building Exhibition in 1987 in Berlin (IBA Berlin 1987). The apartment building is considered one of the main works of IBA 87 and was Siza Vieira's first international project.

Planning and architecture details

The apartment house Schlesisches Tor was built in 1982/1983 and closes a war gap in the old buildings of the street. The owner was initially Kleistpark Hausverwaltung GmbH, which was founded in 1979 and went bankrupt in 1986.

Siza's plans, particularly indoors, were changed significantly in order to meet the funding guidelines for social housing. More apartments were to be created than the architect had planned, windows and ceiling heights were reduced in order to create more space for apartments. West Berlin suffered from extreme housing shortages before the turnaround. Today, on the other hand, the builders would be happy to have trusted Siza's vision. Because his planning turns out to be clairvoyant - even if he could hardly foresee the turnaround in 1984. But he had planned how the needs are today. Four large apartments were planned for each floor, which should be accessible via four staircases. This has now turned into seven small apartments on each floor, making a total of 46 apartments on six floors connected to two staircases.

At the time, the architect also wanted to create an old people's club as a social facility, which was also avoided. From his foresighted plans, only the ten senior apartments were realized.

There is no recognizably separate plinth zone or a roof edge, as was customary in the surrounding architecture, which was 90 years older. The only variation is a slightly curved design and a height, provided with an eye-shaped opening at attic level.

The name of the project

The house was not named Bonjour Tristesse by the architect, but by strangers who painted these words on the clearly visible gable of the corner house in 1984 before the scaffolding was removed. The name painted on the wall is reminiscent of the novel Bonjour tristesse (1954) and its film adaptation of the same name from 1958.

The graffiti can be understood as a criticism of the gray facade and the monotonous window designs with the same intervals within the varied street scene. In addition, the house was around 100 meters from the Berlin Wall during its construction in West Berlin and kind of contributed and responded to the sadness of the surrounding neighborhood.

Since 2012, the red lettering "BITTE LƎBN" (with anarchy-A attached ) has been on the house.

Inspired by the name, the song Bonjour Tristesse by the music band BAARK was created in 2014 in this house .

Schlesische Str. 1-9