The conference was held in the Forum of the Institute of Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. The program included a total of six lectures divided into two panels. The third lecture on “Future recycling options of demolition bricks for soil and roof substrates” by Sebastian Knoll was unfortunately due to sickness cancelled. Jan Krause from the office for architectural thinking in Berlin led through the program and discussions as moderator.
Attila Gerhäuser, Chief Executive of BVZi, opens the Practice Days in the Institute Building for Architecture at the TU Berlin
BVZi / Claudius Pflug
Ralf Pasel, Professor of Architecture at the TU in the Department of Structural Engineering and host of the conference, used his welcoming address to praise the brick. In a case study on brick construction with a women’s cooperative in Bolivia, he said, the building material had proven to be low-threshold in its application and, when arranged in the appropriate bond, earthquake-resistant. Together with the very good thermal properties, bricks have great potential as a building material of the future.
Presentations of the first panel
In the first lecture, Tobias Nöfer, architect and urban planner in Berlin, referred to the exhibition “Unfinished Metropolis: Urban Planning for Greater Berlin”, which is dedicated to urban planning history, present and future. In his lecture, Nöfer focused on diachronic urban planning references that continue to shape the form of the “unfinished metropolis” to this day. He explained how the shape of Berlin can be traced back to the settlement star, why Berlin was once called the city of 54 city halls, and reported on prevented highway planning in Kreuzberg, deep in Berlin’s inner city. At the same time, he shed light on the urban development potential of the Berlin-Brandenburg urban region and its future prospects.
The architect Frank Arnold, Arnold und Gladisch Objektplanung Generalplanung GmbH Berlin, discussed in his lecture how “low-cost housing construction with bricks” is possible. Using the example of four sustainable, high-quality residential buildings he had developed himself, he described successful implementations and what could be transferred to future housing projects. An important cost-reducing factor was the use of thermally insulated vertically perforated bricks. In his experience, working with a general contractor can significantly increase cost and time efficiency in residential construction without compromising architectural quality.
The speakers: Prof. Dr. Toralf Burkert, Stefan Goeddertz, Prof. Ralf Pasel, Prof. Dr. Linda Hildbrand, Prof. Dr. Anupama Kundoo, Frank Arnold, Prof. Jan R. Krause, Tobias Nöfer, Attila Gerhäuser (l.t.r.)
BVZi / Claudius Pflug
Presentations of the second panel
After a coffee break, the second panel began with the presentation “Rethinking Brick: From pre-industrial methods to baked-in situ earth houses.” Prof. Dr. Anupama Kundoo, Anupama Kundoo architects in Berlin, presented the potential of brick for sustainable and cost-effective building methods. She told of how, in India, bricks formed from rain-wet clay and stacked to form the kiln whose heat is used to fire them. About 40 percent of kiln firing energy goes into the kiln, not the product. This is avoided here. This method is significantly more time-consuming than conventional industrial production. But it provides affordable building materials for people in India and comparable countries with minimal environmental impact.
Prof. Dr. Linda Hildebrand, architect from RWTH Aachen University, spoke in her lecture “Building products in a cycle - circularity in architecture” about the possibilities of a construction method based on cycles of values, information and resources. In contrast to life cycle analysis, such a systemic approach consistently focuses on the question of subsequent use. The first condition of this approach is to assign the materials bound in the building to further utilization cycles for subsequent use as early as the building planning stage. The second condition is a circular economic model that enables such cycles. Secondary material use, he said, is the key to the building turnaround.
In the last lecture of the day, architect Stefan Goeddertz, associate at Herzog & de Meuron Basel, and Prof. Dr. Toralf Burkert, Jäger Ingenieure GmbH in Radebeul, reported on experiences with “Masonry in Context”. Using the example of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg, they described the challenges posed by the plan to place a large, technically and creatively sophisticated building on top of an old warehouse building. The transformation to a brick base touched on aspects of historic preservation, statics and cost, as well as climatic issues such as moisture protection. This included permanent, electronic remote monitoring of the building’s hydrophobicity.
Excursion through Potsdam and Berlin
The two-day excursion program took the participants on Saturday, September 17, in a wide arc from Potsdam through southern and eastern to northern Berlin. In Potsdam, three projects currently under construction were visited: the reconstruction of the Potsdam Garrison Church with its 60-meter-high masonry tower, the construction of the New Synagogue, whose sand-colored brick facade makes reference both to the Brandenburg brick construction method and to the tradition of building sacred buildings with brick, and the reconstruction of apartment buildings on the Old Market Square. Guided tours by project managers and architects such as Jost Haberland and Prof. Donatella Fioretti complemented the visits.
The reconstruction of the Garrison Church in Potsdam, which was damaged in 1945 and blown up in 1968, is to combine the historic appearance with contemporary technical equipment. 2.8 million bricks were laid for the first construction phase of the tallest brick building in Europe for 150 years
BVZi / Claudius Pflug
After lunch at the Genusswerkstatt Potsdam, the excursion visitedt Bruno Taut’s Hufeisensiedlung in Berlin-Neukölln and the Mittelpunktbibliothek in Berlin-Köpenick planned by Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten. The tour continued with visits to the Kastanienhof Berlin-Kaulsdorf, a farm building converted for residential purposes, the construction site Wohnquartier Kastanienallee in Berlin-Hellersdorf and to the Stacked House in Berlin-Weißensee. A nice opportunity to end the first day of the excursion was the canteen of David Chipperfield Architects.
An example of successful urban repair. The brick building of the Köpenick Central Library ties in with the existing building in terms of material and form. With the exceptionally deep masonry of 64 centimeters, the building meets ecological requirements
BVZi / Claudius Pflug
The Sunday program focused on the city center of Berlin. Under the guidance of Thomas M. Krüger of TICKET B - Architektur erleben, the New National Gallery, the townhouses on Friedrichswerder, the residential and commercial building on Schinkelplatz, Friedrichwerdersche Kirche and Haus Bastian on Museuminsel, as well as the new James Simon Gallery were visited. The main focus of the day was the guided tour of the construction site Am Tacheles. There, a mixed-use urban quarter with apartments, retail and offices is being built on 85,000 square meters, interspersed with landscaped public squares and a public thoroughfare from Oranienburger Strasse to Friedrichstrasse. The official conclusion of the Professor Practice Days was the joint lunch at the Gendarmenmarkt.
Afterwards, the organizers drew a very positive conclusion. They particularly emphasized the fruitful discussions and the atmosphere of shared exchange. Feedback letters from the participants were also full of praise, according to the organizers. The statement of one participant seems to have proved true: “Brick is always worth a trip.”
Bundesverband der Deutschen Ziegelindustrie