This block on the northern edge of the ancient city walls of Berlin, demolished to make room for the S-Bahn railway, represents a particularly evident example of the troubled recent history of the town. Flipping through historical maps and even comparing various web services of satellite photos, an almost liquid urban structure emerges: only Anna Louisa Karch Strasse remained more or less constant (in position but not in name) to mark the south side of the area. The master plan laid out by Thomas Muller Ivan Reimann Architekten - authors also of most of the new buildings - recycles signs stratified over time without excessive concern about hierarchical or historical reconstructions. An infrastructural thoroughfare designed at the time of the GDR becomes the main pedestrian spine, while the memory of the Garnisonkirche, evangelical church dedicated to the soldiers and distinctive architectural element of the block until the bombing of the last war, turns into a phantasmatic presence which gives rise to the main void of the area.
The interesting solid/hollow reversal thus produced forms both the backdrop and the theme of the project of Topotek1, who designed the open spaces. Their minimal project, interpreted according to the gray scale of typical Berlin paving materials, tends to unify the variety of buildings, while the entrance “platz” remembers geometry and location of the former church with a large rectangle of white asphalt. Inside this rectangle stands a green square with a group of trees bordered by a continuous wooden bench. Steel plate supports are folded to form elegant armrests, comfortable to divide the seat into individual spaces, but too close to take a nap. Compared to others, too widespread devices aimed to get more urban behaviors, the subtlety of these elements seems to leave room, however, for not wholly orthodox interpretations, keeping together the respect for the previous religious destination with its charitable character.