Organized by the defunct architecture gallery "suitcase" in Berlin, the competition ZwischenRaumZeit was an attempt to deal with the demolition of the Palast der Republic and the reconstruction of the Berlin Castle at a conceptual level.

It is the first sunday of January and, like any conscencious architect, I visit the site of the “zwischenraumzeit” competition. It is a pretty cold but really sunny day, not a single cloud in the sky and some gigantic shadows on a thin layer of snow. After half an hour hanging around, looking at Schinkel and Graffunder-Swora, thinking of tragic history and speaking of the pessimistic present, my girlfriend and I are completly frozen. She wants to pee and I really need some hot chocolate. We decide to move to the next café.

But “Where is the next café?” : from the Schloßplatz, you have two possible directions, Alexanderplatz or Unter den Linden. We decide to walk along the enlightned trees. The first place we find is not really crowded and mostly used by english tourists. The atmosphere is quite nothing and the chocolate not so good.

Winter (zwischenzeit). Here is my proposal for the “zwischenraumzeit”: a well-heated space with good hot chocolate and hardly any view of the outside (then, if the weather is really bad, you are not depressed by the grey rain falling). And, by the way, it is a really nice space.

So, why not making a copy of the Adolf Loos “Kärntner Bar” (1907)? (After all, they speak about making a copy of a long disapeared castle.) Why using all the surface of the site, pretending that architects can provide solutions for a 44 hectars site? Just 21 square meters can change a district atmosphere. Let’s make an exact copy of the viennese modern pub. Taking it out of context and putting it directly onto the floor, with no single foundation. A box that can be dismantled like the weihnachstmarkt shops. the cellar becomes the ground floor. A ramp and staircase leads you to the entrance. From the balcony you have a nice view on the Lustgarten. The “American Bar” is located on a never used part of the Schloßplatz. Then, whatever happens, it will not disturb anybody. Ins Leere gesprochen.

Thibaut de Ruyter

Ideas competition, Galerie suitcasearchitecture, Berlin
Project entry and exhibition, January 2003