design for an interdisciplinary research institute in a part of the former berlin wall strip
The laboratory of boundaries projects an interdisciplinary scientific work on a socio-spatial theory of boundaries, integrated into a section of the former death strip of the Berlin wall – the manifestation of boundary par excellence. Spatially, the laboratory of boundaries transforms an inner-city section of the wall strip into a place where the non-space of the former barrier becomes a publicly accessible plateau – raised to a height of 1.4 metres. It is bordered by two walkable trenches in the ground that mark the course of both former walls while also providing the entrance to the boundary space. The boundary space is metamorphosed and connected to new experiences in which the former separation remains noticeable. Below this plateau, which is partially formed by a water-covered glass roof, a landscape of partly sculptural and partly open spaces develops, allowing boundaries to be experienced as intermediary spaces via transitions and intermediate zones. The working areas are situated in the open spaces below the glass roof while the maze-like structures are open for visitors. Here the research work results are to be publicly presented. A number of special situations are included in these structures: the former watchtower contained as a hollow mould inside a new slightly larger look-out, a sub-terrestrial mirror-corridor, light-columns which connect interior and exterior space in the places of the former floodlight masts, an auditorium traversing the borderline. The question of the structure of boundaries is universally significant and therefore always current. The history of the wall provides the occasion to develop an interdisciplinary socio-spatial theory of boundaries, at a time when spatial boundaries seem to be losing their significance.