Guntower Repurpose

Prizewinner: BDA-SRAP Special Award 2018, Baunetz Campus Masters Award 2017, Award of the State Academy 2017

The reuse of anti-aircraft towers is not a rarity nowadays: The fortified buildings fulfill different kinds of public and charitable functions. The selected tower is being used as an archive,  a storage and a museum for contemporary art.
In most flak towers,  their conflictual history is not a subject of discussion or is even being negated.The design provides the missing critical approach to the past with the aim of reflecting the historical background of the building in an accessible and appropriate way.
The work goes beyond the boundaries of a classical memorial and uses an immersive scenic mediation.Unconsciously, the visitor gets introduced to the emotional experience of a protection seeker during the times of war. Thereby he does not only actively participate at the imparting of the content but also becomes a part of it during his or her stay.  The building contains two actors inside: museum and memorial. They are intensively and inseparably linked. They have a symbiotic relationship to each other and benefit significantly from one another. This overlap essentially occurs in the main space that consists of nine floors. Although it is a shared space between museum and memorial, both actors can legitimately claim the interpretation in favor of themselves: the visitor’s perspective to either one or the other induces a different perception. How the visitor “reads” the building and the story that’s been told depends on the entrance that he or she chooses.
The visible appearance of the buildings outer shell will be left untouched. The only changes will happen inside. The chosen handling with the tower interprets the duality of the broken mind in an abstract, spatial form.
Although there are no injuries visible from the outside, the inside can still be damaged by the grief and the fear of the war.
The National Socialist propaganda is being contrasted to the reality: in order to maintain the moral and the faith in victory, flak towers were supposed to establish a feeling of security and a distance to the war.
The modern visitor, on the other hand, needs to understand that there are no walls thick enough to protect people from the war.  A typical museum-like way of imparting does not seem appropriate in this context. In order to understand even a fraction of the fear and the desperation that was felt in this place, the visitor needs to participate actively.
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