Test in German and English. The Embassies of the Nordic Countries in Berlin are political architecture of a particular kind, political architecture that does not assert a claim to power, but that is a self-portrait in the best sense of the word. The vision, which is already a reality on the level of architecture and design, aims to combine individual interests within a greater whole: the ancient democratic ideal that has perhaps never been expressed in a more beautiful and convincing gesture than in this combination of five countries, six buildings and six teams of architects, chosen in a European competition for the central design concept and in five national competitions for the individual buildings. It is certainly no coincidence that such convincing symbolism of joint responsibility and action is not a success due to one of the European mammoth institutions but to the comparatively small Nordic countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
Perhaps it is not even a coincidence that the concept of the individual sections that form an individual whole and while doing so preserve their individual quality as well as the unity comes from a young Viennese architectural practice whose principal protagonists, the Austrian Alfred Berger and the Finn Tiina Parkkinen, think and work across boundaries. A crucial factor was the location in Berlin, because it was only here that the new buildings for all five embassies could be commissioned at once. Berger+ Parkkinens architecture risks striking breaches of boundaries, not just between the countries involved but also between urban development and architecture, and technology and art. Urban space is an integral part of the embassy complex, to the same extent as nature. Materials and furniture indicate different cultures. And yet the composition, for all its openness and transparency, works to exact spatial sequences and precise external lines for the building, within the 226 metres long and 15 metres high band of meandering copper. The idea that the work of Alvar Aalto is being unexpectedly continued here comes involuntarily to mind.
Publisher: Edition Axel Menges