minimumblog AllesWirdGut – Weg schauen
There comes a time in every school child’s life when they are made to read a poem about, let’s say, a young man learning to juggle. All goes well until one day he drops an especially heavy ball on his foot. Put off by the pain, he gives up juggling. His life careers out of control; and only when he returns to juggling does he rediscover the joy in life.
For us pupils an entertaining enough exposition.
Then the teacher explains that the young man isn’t a young man. But a former Soviet republic. The juggling balls aren’t juggling balls, but the ethnic groups of the region, freed from the shackles of Stalinist “Divide and Rule” and all striving for power. The pain in his foot – civil unrest in the fledgling republic. And suddenly we’ve learned that our world can be interpreted on different levels. It just depends on how you approach it and what you want from it.
Weg schauen at the Architektur Galerie Berlin is very similar. Showcasing the work of the Vienna based architecture büro Alleswirdgut, Weg schauen explores “architectural spaces” – those within as well as outwith the building – and the spatial networks buildings generate when placed in an existing environment.
In doing so the exhibition not only places the buildings in the context of the environment around them, but also makes clear that an architect designs spaces. How we understand, react and relate to the spaces depends on how we use them.
The exhibition itself features two AllesWirdGut projects; Niederösterreichhaus Krems – the largest passive office block in Austria – and Alleswirdgut’s competition entry for a new office complex for Wimmer Medien in Linz.
Read it as it is presented and Weg schauen is an entertaining enough exposition about the relationship between buildings, the space around them and those who use both. Numerous possible routes through and around the buildings are marked out and then, as it were, “folded out” so that they form a straight line. Models of the two projects in the gallery allow you to visualise the buildings and their surroundings: diagrams on the wall graphically depict the theoretical straight paths.
Then it gets complicated. Or can. But doesn’t have to. As with school poetry, it is also possible to enjoy Weg schauen at an elementary level. But for those looking for and wanting more Weg schauen explores numerous facets of architecture and architectural theory at differing levels. We’re not vain enough to claim to have understood it all. And we imagine that places us in the majority of those who have visited and will visit the show.
Gallery owner Ulrich Müller is always on-hand and happy to offer informed and comprehensible guidance when requested. But the majority of the work needs to be done by yourself. And our brains are still grinding. The one question we still can’t fully answer is the logic of showing the negative images of the sites. They don’t distract from the exhibition in anyway. We just couldn’t see that they added value. But as we say. We’re still deciphering. Looking through the windows from Karl-Marx-Allee, Weg schauen appears to be a very difficult exhibition, the first steps inside the room don’t bring any relief. However if you take the time to let the works and the ideas flow over you; you will quickly find yourself getting lost in not only in ideas of space and association, but also in the narrow lanes and alleyways of Linz and Krems.