Frank Gehry designs Berlin's
tallest skyscraper

| 59 comments

Frank Gehry designs Berlin's tallest skyscraper

News: architect Frank Gehry has won a competition to design a skyscraper for Berlin that is set to become the city's tallest building.

Frank Gehry designs Berlin's tallest skyscraper

Gehry Partners saw off competition from eight other shortlisted firms, including Adjaye Associates and David Chipperfield Architects, to land the commission to design the 150-metre residential tower for international real estate firm Hines.

Proposed for a site between Hackescher Markt, Friedrichshain and Berlin-Mitte, the building is conceived as a cluster of distorted cuboids that have been rotated away from one another to relate to some of the city's main focal points, particularly the nearby Karl-Marx-Allee.

Frank Gehry designs Berlin's tallest skyscraper

Three hundred apartments and a hotel will be located within the building, while the exterior will be clad with stone.

"Gehry's design is strong in visual expression and introduces an unusually eccentric, new pattern for this location. Nevertheless, the facade radiates agreeable tranquility," commented Regula Lüscher, director of the city's urban development department and one of the competition judges.

"The design blends well with the neighbourhood and conveys all aspects of metropolitan living," she added.

Frank Gehry designs Berlin's tallest skyscraper

This will be the third time that Gehry has collaborated with Hines. The firm was his client for the DZ Bank in Berlin and acted as development manager for his New World Center in Miami Beach.

"The quality of the designs submitted was extremely high and reflected the importance of this prominent location in the centre of Berlin," commented Christoph Reschke, one of Hines' managing directors.

"This place has a strong symbolic character and will develop into a metropolitan residential and retail area. In order to transform the square, we want to take a chance on something new and exceptional," he said.

  • Seen it before

    Yawn….

  • cubert

    Are you sure this is for Berlin, I’m quite sure I saw the same stuff in NYC…

    • amsam

      Then you’ve got better glasses than I do.

  • Grant Cameron

    It meets the sky no different from how it meets the ground. Its scale is ambiguous at best. Please remove design processes from computers and place in the real world. Consider humanity and then start over.

  • zelokalz

    Another questionable decision by Regula Lüscher (let alone Gehry). This building does nothing to improve Alexanderplatz.

  • praha

    Poor Berlin ;(

  • Whats New

    His buildings are starting to look the same. Yawn.

  • Stephano

    Frank Gehry is actually Canadian, he was born in Toronto. Fact check please.

    • http://www.dezeen.com/ Dezeen Magazine

      Thanks, we’ve removed that reference. Amy/Dezeen

  • Jon Jorgensen

    This is terrible news.

  • Jakob

    Go home Frank, you’re drunk.

  • Hillary C

    This isn’t just boring. It’s bad.

  • Noyourproblem

    People on this website are so jealous about famous architects. I know that his design can be a repetition of another of his designs, but even architects such as Mies van der Rohe repeated their designs because they worked well. I just tell you something. At the end, you can say whatever you want but people like his buildings. Buildings are not only for architects to criticise them. They are made for regular people if they like. The building is a success. Also, you can argue as much as you want. Ultimately, he will remain the most famous architect. Stop being negative.

    • Concerned Citizen

      A. He’s NOT the most famous architect.
      B. An unbuilt structure CANNOT be a success.
      C. Frank has never designed ANYTHING for people. It has all been for himself.

    • davvid

      I agree. I think the problem is that too many people only have a superficial understanding of the processes that result in this kind of building. The “i like it/i don’t like it” crowd is huge and those with actual experience and familiarity with Gehry’s clientele is tiny.

      • Concerned Citizen

        Your attempt at insulting people is pitiful. Most people commenting in these forums are intimately involved in architecture, and are passionate about their profession.

        • davvid

          I’m not trying to insult you. I’m only pointing out that the vast majority of people “intimately involved in architecture” are far removed from Gehry’s client meetings. Gehry is the most famous architect in the world. He’s an elite who works for other elites in other fields. It’s not surprising that their sensibilities are not shared by most people.

    • Will

      True but the complacency is worrying. Just because Mies did it doesn’t mean it’s justified, there are better solutions to the brief. Ploughing on with a certain aesthetic because ‘it worked before’ should not be an argument for this building and never for any creative process. I think in some way what people are saying is ‘c’mon Frank you’re a smart guy, keep pushing. Don’t waste your talent on commercialised repetition.’

      The public deserve his best, just because on the surface they think it’s pretty doesn’t mean it has been done for the Lehman. It is done for the business. The best architecture subverts popular opinion and creates a positive effect on life, it remains to be seen whether or not his will do that.

    • James Briano

      Frank Gehry is no Mies van der Rohe. Not by a long shot.

    • Regular People

      I am a regular person and for me this is just ugly. Although I often like Gehry’s architecture. Maybe he wanted it to fit to the great Alexanderplatz, congratulations.

  • amsam

    Commenters who can contribute nothing more than a brief negative assertion with no context or analysis are worse than obnoxious, they’re BORING.

    • cubert

      Yes! You’re right: “…with no context or analysis are worse than obnoxious, they’re BORING.” Also, it sounds like a sharp description of Mr Gehry’s architecture.

    • reply

      So where is your analysis then?

  • Concerned Citizen

    The only thing positive about this travesty is that it’s not another damn blob.

  • kerriganmarois

    Is the rent cheaper in the acute angled spaces? :)

  • hurr durr

    It’s not the tool, but how you use it, Mr.i-dont-like-computers.

    • Grant Cameron

      And it’s not being used well here. I said nothing about a dislike of computers, I was just noting that this design appears to suffer from the myopic vision that can occur when depending on them too much as a design tool.

      You could cut Gehry’s design out turn it upside down and paste it back in the rendering (in Photoshop of by hand) and it wouldn’t be any different. Generally I think buildings should look like they have a top and a bottom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.anziulewicz PolishBear

    I generally like Frank Gehry’s work but this is just WRONG.

  • davvid

    Please remove nostalgia from design processes. Computers are the real world.

  • marco

    The TV tower is such an icon of Alexander Platz, I can’t believe they want to spoil it with this clumsy piece. It’s heavy and not open to the public space, it will only cast disturbing shadows on it and people will want to hang out somewhere else.

    • sks

      Sorry, but nobody wants to hang out at Alexanderplatz anyway. It’s ugly, it stays ugly.

  • Chiragh Bhatia

    Hideous.

  • Jonsson
  • flavio

    The problem isn’t Gehry. The problem is Berlin. Not a single interesting architecture project has been realised over there in the last few decades due to its ridiculous planning regulations and admin.

    Concerning this specific project, I don’t think it is ever going to happen. Berliners will hate it, protest and the American investors who initiated the competition will move on (and that’s the good thing about Berlin).

    • reply

      To keep investors happy I’m afraid the Berlin senate will stick to his decision.

    • Andy

      Although I agree, a lot of bad architecture has been thrown up quickly, that’s a bit of a sweeping statement. There is also lot of great architecture in Berlin from the past ten years.

  • flavio

    The problem isn’t Gehry. The problem is Berlin. Not a single interesting architecture project has been realised over there in the last few decades due to its ridiculous planning regulations and admin.

    Concerning this specific project, I don’t think it is ever going to happen. Berliners will hate it, protest and the American investors who initiated the competition will move on (and that’s the good thing about Berlin).

  • ClaudiusL

    The only thing I can see in this is a quite cynical comment about Berlins facades: Take a repetitive modern facade from Ungers, Dudler, Kollhoff or Barkow Leibinger and twist it a little bit. Voila: A Gehry.

    Dear Mr. Gehry, dear competition jury,

    If all of these architects mentioned above are all too boring for you, so be it, but they all take the very basics of architecture very serious. Please read your Vitruvius. Besides firmitas and utilitas, which are obviously questionable enough for this design, where is the venustas? The proportions of this building in itself are already so bad, it almost doesn’t matter anymore that it is out of context too.

    I sincerely hope that this never gets built.

  • oyourproblem

    First, Gehry is one the most famous because even people who are not related on anything about architecture or arts know about him. If that is not fame, I do not know what it is for you.

    Second, I never said that this project will be successful. I was referring to his previous work when I said “people like his buildings.” Of course, many architects design to get their own fame and in some way they design for people because they want people to enjoy the building.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Pay attention:

      You said, “he will remain the most famous architect.” I said he is NOT. Nobody builds Lego models of his buildings. Nobody pays to tour his buildings. He is far from famous. In fact, in the circles that know architecture, he is INfamous.

      You said, “The building is a success.”, to which I replied that unbuilt structures cannot be considered a success.

  • Monica

    The problem is not the building itself, which cannot be analysed only through a rendering, but the intention of building such a huge structure so close to Alexanderplatz.

    What will be the consequences, how people will be affected by this, how much shadow it will spread through the square, won’t the human scale be completely ignored, the views be compromised?

    And what about the surroundings, with all those historic buildings and street perspectives? I really think it should be raised as a possibility to develop this project in another area.

    • Tobias

      Monica, there is not much history around except the Behrens’ buildings from 1930. The sun’s no problem either, and Alexanderplatz is huge – we need some structures there as it’s empty.

      Also, one could think that it’s not possible to even worsen the look of that square any more, but this building definitely has the potential to do so, and still Gehry manages to step out of any context and respect for the urban environment and the art of architecture. I had so much hope for this project.

  • Bobb

    “Frank Gehry recycles design in Berlin.”

  • Man

    Same thing over and over. Yes cubert, there is one very alike in NY.

  • amsam

    Well the point is I wasn’t dissing the building. But things a person could say are:

    - he’s mixing the “tall ripples” thing of 8 Spruce with the “stacked boxes” thing he’s done elsewhere

    - he’s sharpened the ripples so they’re more aggressive, like folds

    - he’s using a matte stone instead of shiny aluminium or glass, totally different effect on the curves, do we like it more? Less?

    - someone above makes the point that the building doesn’t have a top or a bottom

    - someone below makes the point that it’s purely designed from the outside, the architecture has nothing to do with the function of the spaces.
    It’s not hard to do. It’s just nice when people respond specifically to the qualities of the object instead of saying “YUCK!” like a child.

    • reply

      Ok, thanks for your input.

  • mr no

    NOOOOOOOO!

  • Theknightofcamelot

    That is a beautiful building, jealous in Washington DC.

  • Chris MacDonald

    That looks fairly hideous to me. Almost as bad as those visualisations!

  • Robert Blecker

    Ghery… STAHP!

  • Vincent

    This does not look like Berlin at all. What is the identity conveyed by this building? Maybe it’s Gehry’s, but certainly not that of the people living there.

  • mark mallindine

    I can only feel sorry for Berlin.

  • Vicente Fictício Cruz

    Gehry finds the formula part II.

  • http://architektura.me/ Architektura Architekt

    Sorry but this is like Ginger and Fred after 70.

  • Peral

    Well, they are quite clever, you see. People will rent those appartments if they can afford it, since they will be the only places in Berlin from where you won’t be able to see that hideous thing.

  • Noyourproblem

    Ohhh man. You misunderstood my comment. I said: “The building is a success if people (regular people to be more specific) like it.” Gehry is the most famous architect without a doubt. He has designed bottles of vodka, jewellery for Tiffany and a hat for Lady Gaga. He has been in the Simpsons. He was the first to have his personal movie. I have been in several of his buildings and many people go to see the buildings because his buildings are interesting for regular people who are not related to architecture at all. His building in Berlin is a great example, the DZ bank, inclusively the building is opened on Sunday. So people can get into it and see it because the artistic part of the building by Gehry is inside. If that is not fame, I do not know what the hell it is for you. So please I would be thanked if you tell me what that is. And, If you do not like Gehry that does not mean that everyone thinks the same way as you.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Now, you are flip-flopping. Most famous, or famous, which is it?

      Michael Graves has done more non-architecture design than Gehry will ever do.

      Works of Frank Lloyd Wright are in museums around the world. Almost all of Wright’s buildings in the USA are on the National Register of Historic Places. Lego makes models of his buildings.

      Gehry will never reach the stature of those two. As can be seen by comments here and in other forums, Gehry is infamous, not famous.

  • Art Maher

    Take a form that doesn’t exist, show it as design, make mediocrity famous because you are. What a shame, nothing left in the barrel of thoughts.

  • Gordon King

    What is wrong with this proposal like so much other post modernism is the attempt to make a building expressive while using scientific techniques and mass production in it’s construction. One hundred years from now people will cringe when they see things like this.