Recently in Berlin
Karl Friedrich Schinkel marked the architecture of Berlin in the 19th century. In his most significant Building Academy (1836), he eschewed historicist conventions and point the way to a clean - lined architecture that become prominent toward the beginning of the 20th century.
The Building Academy, considered one of the forerunners of modern architecture due to its streamlined brick facade, hosted the higher education school for training master builders. It was damaged during WW II and completely demolished in 1962 to make space for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of East Germany.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs was demolished in 1996, faster than expected. So happened to many Berlin’s architecture from 1960s. The exhibition curator of Radically Modern in 1960s Berlin, Ursula Müller emphasizes how “widespread rejection of the architecture and urban development from modernistic period means that many of approaches, undertaken in Berlin have been lost.” Besides approaches the content should be discussed much more that is now. At Schinkelplatz we were so far witnessing a high education school, later exchanged with the offices, what is the content for the building today and who will decide about that?
Build a new or reconstruct an old architecture is a main dilemma which brings in the forefront formal solutions, sometimes without thinking carefully about the new content. Only this can create fresh, innovative and contemporary smelling architecture. Instead we are facing the involvement of private investors accompanied with political interest with the output from the Federal Ministry just before the upcoming parliamentary elections. The reconstruction of Schinkel’s got for example a donation of 62 million euros from the Federal government with a clear strategy; bringing out a competition in a hectic scheduled “participation process” with the lack of public meetings. Although the reconstruction of Schinkel’s building is not possible because of constructional facts, there is officially open contest for it.
The story goes on with the formation of Architectural Academy in 2017. Oliver Elser (DAM), architecture critic Florian Heilmeyer and Ulrich Müller (Architecture Gallery Berlin) started to question the sense of this reconstruction. Their opposition why not build another castle in Berlin is defined in Ten Thesis on a New Building Academy. This reaction of independent platform composed by institutions and individuals has a goal to bring in forefront the right urban decisions. Diverse existing actors from AEDES to Arch +, HKW and DAZ shape the discourse on architecture and urban issues already for years. Architectural Academy has a goal to connect all these independent actors and therefore function as a transmitter of contemporary urban needs in the city.
The building with proper content would for the same amount of money as used for this renovation generate high-profile architectural events and exhibitions for many years. It wouldn’t be just a parade of fake architecture and inadequate spaces for contemporary use. Again, what is the content of the reconstructed building, for whom should be used? The form should follow the content!
 Florian Heilmeyer: Radically Modern in 1960s Berlin; interview with curator Ursula Müller. Uncube, 26 May 2015
 Ten Thesis on a new Bauakademie by Oliver Elser, Florian Heilmeyer and Ulrich Müllers