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Isozaki House - Block 33

Berlin-Kreuzberg, Germany
1 of 3

The apartment building at Lindenstrasse 19, in the back yard of Victoria Insurance, in southern Friedrichstadt, Kreuzberg is a part of the IBA Block 33 of the International Bauaustellung IBA Berlin 1987 and designed by award winning Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.

Block 33 is a residential park development at the Berlin Museum. The planning collective Hans Kollhoff and Arthur A. Ovaska won the ideas competition, and the project ran for almost seven years, under a total of eight German and international architect teams. The master plan was divided into several sections and each assigned to the teams. Out of the 8 teams of architects, Arata Isozaki & Associates is the only non European architect in the block.

The architect

Isozaki has created an architecture so personal in its ideas and spaces that it defies characterization in any single school of thought. At the same time he resists the temptation to apply a signature style to his jobs, preferring instead to create architectural solutions specific to the political, social and cultural contexts of the client and site in question. By harnessing the latent strength that has existed in architecture since its inception, Isozaki has been able to wield influence on knowledge systems far beyond his own field. Through Isozaki it became possible that a global discourse be held at a level where individual voices can be heard. His activities, spanning over a half century, have gone beyond borders and disciplines.

The building

Inside, load-bearing supports and non-load-bearing room dividers allow a high degree of flexibility, which is how a large number of different apartment types are achieved. There are two 2-room apartments on the ground floor, two 3-room apartments on the 1st floor, four 3.5-room apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floor, a 4-room apartment and two 4.5 room maisonettes on the 4th and 5th floor.

The building completes the courtyard edge development of the Robinia courtyard to the west of the Victoria building. The facade design therefore refers to the Victorian courtyard facades of Victoria Insurance. "Pedestal, rustica, pilaster strips, cornices, etc. are realized in contemporary materials and shapes." [D. Frowein, G. Spangenberg, In: Internationale Bauausstellung Berlin 1984/87, Die Neubaugebiete, Band 3, 1987, p.289] The state conservator ordered to preserve 33815|the historical entrance gate of the rear building and to be integrated into the new building. The new building, designed by Arata Isozaki compliments the gate by scooping out a niche-like recess from the building's mass on the ground and first floors and marking the entrance to the building. The historic gate acts as a lobby for the new entrance of Isozaki House.