studio 2010/11


2010.10.30- Final Reviews in Berlin

The night before, we went to MMX. There was a lot of great installations to see. At around 11pm, we made our way back to the studio to work and get ready for the final reviews. The final reviews went well, and everyone had a lot of good work to show.

2010.10.29- Dimensions

The dimensions of the site were taken using a tape measure, and also by counting the bricks at the site.

“Mediaspree is one of the largest property investment projects in Berlin. It aims to establish telecommunication and media companies along a section of the banks of the river Spree as well as to implement an urban renewal of the surrounding area. So far, for the most part, unused or temporarily-occupied real estate is to be converted into office buildings, lofts, hotels, and other new structures.

The plans date predominantly from the 1990s, but only a part of them was implemented due to unfavorable economic circumstances at the time. Promoters saw in this project a great opportunity for the former East-Berlin, while critics saw the selling-out of the area’s most valuable properties. The following criteria were defined for sustainable location development:

  • Public access to the riverfront,
  • Buildings with ground-floor public areas,
  • A mixture of large-scale and small-scale use,
  • Ambitious architectural concepts,
  • The integration of art and media.[1]

Universal Music Headquarters, Germany (Eierkühlhaus)


The Eierkühlhaus on the East Harbor in Berlin

Since July 2002, the German headquarters of the Universal Music corporation has been located at Stralauer Allee 1, in a former Eierkühlhaus (egg cold-storage warehouse), which was built in 1928/1929 and designed by the Dresden’s building officer, Oskar Pusch (check out link to Oskar Pusch). The functional and heritage-protected façade of this former refrigerated warehouse features elements of Bauhaus architecture: 25 cm (10in.) thick brickwork walls with diamond-shaped decorative patterns made of clinker bricks and molded ceilings. After being closed down, the Berlin Harbor and Warehouse Corporation (Berliner Hafen- und Lagerhausgesellschaft, or BEHALA) decided in 1992 to put the Eierkühlhaus and the neighboring granary (see below) to new use. There were plans, in 1995, to connect the two buildings into one complex and to use it as a “Business Design Center,” which was nevertheless not brought to fruition.

From 2000 to 2002, the cold-storage warehouse was converted into an office and commercial building by the Berlin architect Reinhard Müller. It was in doing so that the originally-closed façade of the building was opened on three sides and furnished with a glass curtain wall. Only the northwest side facing the Oberbaumbrücke still features a closed brick wall. The historical style elements of the windows, barrel-vault ceilings and walls have survived. Originally, in the interest of historical preservation, there were plans to cover the window panes in screened diamond shapes to continue the pattern from the brickwork and to achieve the impression of a continuous façade. Due to problems with the lighting of interior spaces, this was ultimately abandoned. Aside from Universal Music, various other media and service industry businesses have moved into the building.

Office Lofts in the Granary


The former granary

Built between 1907 and 1913, this granary was designed by Berlin architect Friedrich Krause, who had already completed the docks in Stettin. He opted for a classicist design typical for the time, including a giant hipped roof, clinker brickwork, and ashlar masonry.

Until 1990 the building was used as a warehouse, after which it stood empty for several years. After a construction permit was issued in May 2000, it was completely refurbished until March 2001, leaving the stylistic elements of the windows, hipped roof and walls intact. Additional stairwells and elevators as well as an underground garage were newly constructed. Over all eight floors, approximately 18,000m² (193,750sq.ft.) of offices were created, which apparently drew great interest from renters—at present, there are no spaces available for rent.”


Also, I found “music tours” around Berlin that include the Universal Music building. It is pretty disheartening to know how done up and manufactured the surrounding area is growing to be. It seems so forceful and insensitive to the history of the site, with impatient design decisions being made in an attempt to keep up with outside-borough forces. The Media Spree project seems to be aiming at wiping out the culture/character of the past and replacing it with a sterile/dead wasteland of out-of-place mini-projects. I need to try reverse the effects of Media Spree, and bring the history and character back to this area. Once you come from Kreuzberg, and cross the Oberbaumbrucke (a sad transition between a beautiful area of the city towards a sort of dystopic collection of box stores/companies), taking a right towards my site, there is a long row of nothingness.

“With the coining of the term Terrain Vague, Ignasi de Solà-Morales is interested in the form of absence in the contemporary metropolis. This interest focuses on abandoned areas, on obsolete and unproductive spaces and buildings, often undefined and without specific limits, places to which he applies the French term terrain vague. Regarding the generalized tendency to “reincorporate” these places to the productive logic of the city by transforming them into reconstructed spaces, Solà-Morales insists on the value of their state of ruin and lack of productivity. Only in this way can these strange urban spaces manifest themselves as spaces of freedom that are an alternative to the lucrative reality prevailing in the late capitalist city. They represent an anonymous reality.”

Universal Music on the River Spree

Since the summer of 2002, Universal Music, the largest German Record Company is located right next to the Oberbaumbrücke (Oberbaum Bridge) on the River Spree.

With their own kindergarten, restaurant, hairdresser and of course their own studios, this huge enterprise is still an absolute musical trendsetter in the record industry.

Because of falling sales in the record business even Universal, who moved here from Hamburg bringing with them a lot of their Staff, have had to let go around fifty per cent of their employees.

MTV are their neighbours (see also MTV Berlin info popup) – unfortunately other record labels like V2 (owned by Richard Branson) or Royal Bunker (who have helped massive to force the Berlin Hip Hop scene) are sold meanwhile or had to close down since.

Universal Artistes include:

Tokyo Hotel
50 Cent
Black Eyed Peas
Marylin Manson
Paul van Dyk


Universal Music

Also, the sculpture on the site (by Olaf Metzel)

Olaf Metzel’s sculpture at the site

2010.10.28- Anechoic Chamber

Anechoic Chamber

Today we went to the Anechoic chamber. Then, I went back to my site, did some more recordings, and explored the surrounding buildings (Spree bar and the Universal Music building).

2010.10.27- More site recordings

Today, I chose 9 main points at my site to set up my device and record. The 9 points span throughout the site equally. There are 3 on the left; 3 in the middle; and 3 on the right side of the site. I also took numerous recordings during different times of the day (i.e., early morning, afternoon, and late evening).

google maps points

2010.10.26- Further site exploration

The work today was completely dedicated to exploring and documenting findings from the site and the device at the site. Photomerges of where the aeolian harp was placed, were taken.

panaramas of site

While I was at the site, there were 10 different people at the site. The site was used for many different social activities. For instance: reading; talking; eating; smoking; biking; taking photos; making phone calls; or as a meeting place.

2010.10.25- Day 8 Detektors

Today, we met up with Shintaro Miyizaki and Martin Howse. They developed a device called the Detektor. Martin related the exploring of immaterial phenomenon with the Derive.


In the afternoon, we were able to set ourselves up in the new studio. What information do I need to collect from the site? What do I need to create an accurate site model? Dimensions and details. Triangulate the map. It is important to collect a lot of data in order to start seeing patterns. Create a sound composition for the final review in Berlin.

I also spent a bit of the day doing recordings at the site with my device.

Harp at Oberbaumbrucke


2010.10.24- Gesundbrunnen

This morning was pretty dreary. We were suppose to meet up at Gesundbrunnen Station for 8am or so and make our way to the flea market. Things didn’t go as planned. We ended up walking around looking for the market. It took a while to find, but we made it there. We were suppose to go to the bunker tours, but opted out and made our way back home.


Base Drawings of the Site

Site Plan:

Urban Scale:

South Elevation of Canal:

North Elevation of Canal:

Cross Section 1 (looking East toward River Spree):

(Please excuse the lack of scale and north indication…these are still in a working state).

Berlin: The final steps before the trip and what was discovered in the city

The successful hydrophone: Tin Can Hydrophone (a couple of different iterations occurred using different types of piezo mics and chimney locations before creating one that successfully worked in water).

Click to view slideshow.

- What made the final iteration successful? I added a ground cable and placed one piezo mic on the either side of the interior of the can to ensure full contact with the tin can. I also encased the tin can in a heavy duty balloon. In the final couple of designs I added fishing weights to the exterior of the can to insure that the device would be capable of submerging itself in the water.

In Berlin: Chosen Site

The site I have chosen to work with is located in Kreuzberg where the canal meets the spree river at the intersection of AM Flutgraben and Puschkinallee. It was important for me to be able to interact with water as well as observe the relationship between buildings and water (rain, canal, river, etc.). The site provided this as well as some other unexpected discoveries revealed through the people who use the canal (for fishing, relaxation, etc.), acting as mediators between the canal and the surrounding buildings.

The site also has an interesting historical background. The Wall ran through this site, splitting the Spree River in half and turning down AM Flutgraben, separating the canal from East Berlin. A watchtower (1 of 2 preserved throughout the city) is also found on the site, located on the west side of Puschkinallee in Schlesischer Busch. This watchtower was transformed into a checkpoint after the wall came down in 1989 and is now occasionally used as an exhibition space by the artists of Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben. Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben is an international artists colony that inhabits a former factory located on the south side of the canal and east of Puschkinallee. This building is the only building along the outer wall of Berlin to have survived the wall’s construction and fall. Reminders of the wall’s presence can still be seen through the double row of cobblestone that runs through AM Flutfraben and Puschkinallee and the train tracks that have been cut off where the wall ran through them.

Looking east down the canal toward the River Spree:

North side of the canal:

South side of canal:

First Site Plan

First site plan at an urban scale, more drawings to follow very soon


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