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November 2017 on Emerging Architecture

Emerging Architecture awards | Berlin | Archive: Hans Scharoun’s Philharmonie | Karl Friedrich Schinkel | Franz Hessel | Typology: public toilet

Examining the work of young designers around the world, it is hard not to reconcile architecture with the unshakeable optimism that is so vital to its existence.

This year’s Emerging Architecture shortlist includes innovative housing proposals in the dense and prohibitive cities of Paris and Seoul; delicate timber structures in London and Nagasaki; private dwellings in Cádiz and Beijing proving small budgets can still deliver dignified homes; public facilities weaving intricate links in the landscapes in which they sit, be it in the provinces of Utrecht, South Tyrol or West Jutland; and open spaces welcoming the local communities of Nantes and Port-au-Prince. 

As the finalists will travel to Berlin later this month to present their projects to our judging panel, Sophie Lovell retraces the German city’s recent history and its transformation from a divided, stagnant anomaly into one of the most exciting capitals in the world.

In Outrage, Fiona Shipwright condemns the flattening of histories and re-appropriation of the ‘Berlin myth’ on developers’ hoardings while in Typology, Tom Wilkinson explores what the design of public toilets reveals about a society’s race, gender and class anxieties.

Going back in time, we look at Berlin through the eyes of some of its illustrious inhabitants. We tell the story of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s life, whose poignant legacy would have been even greater had he not overworked himself to death. We follow in the footsteps of Franz Hessel, who advises us to ‘learn a bit of idleness and indulgence, and look at the thing that is Berlin … until we become fond of it and find it beautiful, until it is beautiful’. And, jumping to 1964, we reprint the AR’s original criticism of Hans Scharoun’s vividly Expressionist Philharmonie, a masterpiece entirely devoted to the experience of music.

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