Universidad Anahuac & Universidad Iberoamericana
13 - 31 July 2009


This studio investigated issues of demarcation using Pfefferberg’s old underground beer factory as a testing ground. The studio stemmed from a critical approach to the existing space, adopting abstract analytical tools for design exploration.

Form rather than program was primary to understanding and intervening in the existing condition; the investigation of form through form.  Secondary was the development of a cultural programmatic strategy or ‘architectural probe’ in order to test propositions, establishing dialogical (rather than dialectical) relations with the site. Thirdly, notions of multiple publics were introduced in order to transcend localised idiosyncrasies and to highlght the limitations inherent in the abstract objectives of planning authorities.

The ‘site construction’ and the ‘strategy of engagement’ explored the notion of ‘fields of conscience’ and ‘homeomorphic equivalents’ in opposition to conceptual thinking. These are proposed as more effective alternatives for articulating complexity.

Each ‘architectural probe’ presents an archetypal situation of the site and at the same time becomes a formal proposition beyond the logic and mechanisms of ‘modern design’. The projects ‘grow’ from within the ‘site construction’, in the biological sense of the metaphor, even if the exercise is in itself a cultural transplant.

Iñaki Echeverria

Guest Speakers & Critics:
Regine Leibinger, Barkow Leibinger Architects; Hans-Jürgen Commerell, ANCB; Jan Edler, Realities:United; Volker Halbach, blauraum architekten; Aleksander Komarov, Video Artist; Fernando Menis, Menis Arquitectos; Martin Osterman, magma; Maurice Paulussen, blauraum architekten; Wolfram Putz, Graft Architecture Studio; Thomas Willemeit, Graft Architecture Studio; Michael Roper, ANCB; Carl Zillich, Bundesstiftung Baukultur; Matthias Sauerbruch, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects; Beate Engelhorn, ANCB

Students: Aby Helfon, Alan Cohen, Alejandro del Toro, Allan Agami, Eduardo Yzquierdo, Francisco Quinones, Fernanda Patiño, Gilda Lara, Isaac Cielak, Jaime Miranda, Jorge Guzman, Martina Villareal, Michel Andre Figot, Monica Arzoz, Nayeli Galindo, Paola Guindi, Paulina Garcia, Rodrigo Alessio, Sandra Montano

Special Thanks: Dean Bernando Gomez-Pimienta; Dean Carolyn Aguilar; Klaus Krebs, ugk Berlin; Christine Wolf, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin; Daniel Tamayo, Mexican Embassy, Berlin; Michael Hofman, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin; Badeschiff, Pfefferberg Cellars, Barkow & Leibinger Architects, Sauerbruch Hutton Architects, Graft Architecture Studio

Kunsthaus Pfefferberg

Patiño & Quiñones

Transience + Permanence are two concepts we found appealing when referring to the topic of the workshop: Global Demarcation. The main goal was to make frontiers between Pfefferberg and the rest of the city as narrow as possible, bringing people inside the complex, making it appealing for both artists and visitors. Pfefferberg calls for more than a project that articulates its various “höfe” and buildings, it calls for people to come inside and bring life to its many fascinating spaces. By transforming the main plaza into an artificial forest of multimedia pointers which expose the activity in the cellars, this place will become the key “hot spot” in the project, turning it into what we think it’s supposed to be: a public space to meet/connect/converge. Keeping the main essence of the underground space, the intervention must be respectful of its unique character. The space below becomes a place for creation and a cultural site for emerging artists, establishing direct connections with surrounding programme. Motion paths will pour into the cellar as sculptural pieces that will define each chamber in a distinctive way, provoking continuous flux in an ever dynamic project.

Unfolded Demarcation

Helfon & Miranda

Today the AEDES basement is not used. We propose to redesign the area, thinking about the goal of bringing new life to the area. We’ll fill up the lower space with a symbiotic entity that works as a system of relationships among the different spaces. The symbiotic entity will clearly connect the project, both vertically and horizontally, using gaps, fissures and broken walls. This allows the building to be permeated by public life, people flows, art and new modes of experiencing this amazing space. The space has been re-organised in response to luminosity gradients in each area. Vertically, daylight flows through the chimneys placed in different areas, connecting the lower and the upper layer and creating an important change in the topography of the plaza; allowing us to design a ludic surface, including an amphitheater, with the aim of fostering a sense of expressiveness and playfulness, supported by architecture. We want to change the functionality in both layers and give an augmented value to both spaces.

Pfefferberg Hidden Gardens

Lara & Galindo

The main purpose of this project is to relate opposite conditions such as: light with darkness, natural and non-natural, and the inside with the outside. The natural environment of Pfefferberg allows us to relate both settings (outdoor and indoor) using different aspects of nature. The humidity and darkness of the basement is an advantage that would allow the use of elements such as water, light and vegetation to create different qualities. For example, we propose a kind of a waterfall at the entrance which would assist with orientation. The double height spaces visible from the outside perform a similar function, however you would only be able to access these from inside. Another use of vegetation would be a climbing plant that goes all the way from the outside to the inside of the basement. There would be different situations and sensations. The theme global demarcation is where the separation of distinct boundaries are made. This project expresses the limits, contrasts and dividing lines in the tools we are using. Exploiting the different aspects of nature would create the perfect scenario for seeing these contrasting conditions.

Circulation System

Agami & Garcia

This project aims to investigate and solve the inactivity and lack of architectural program in the old beer factory cellars. Our proposal solves this problem by the integration of underground tunnels in order to facilitate access to the cellars. With only one access point to the cellars, this circulation exposes the visitors to various aspects of the cellars and vaults. The main goal is to generate a connection between the interior and the exterior world by unifying the following concepts, Up & Down, Light & Dark and Open & Closed spaces. This project demonstrates the feasibility of integrating public and commercial programs in the buried spaces. To achieve its goal, the project pursues two major objectives: 1. To develop effective circulation mechanisms, linking and integrating spaces that unify and help people’s flow through the space, and 2. To design a channel that reflects the impact and contrast between the cellars and the intervention. The hexagon was adopted for its natural qualities of strength, repetition and adaptability, which in turn creates quite a different mode of circulation. This project makes an ambitious attempt to pump life into the cellars by altering its purpose and access, making it appealing to a new public.

The Sponge

Cielak & Cohen

Berlin is a changing city, demarcating its relationship between the underground and its open media. Due to its political and social structure, squatting has recently played an important role in public/private discourse. Located within Pfefferberg, a cultural complex in Mitte, “The Sponge” tries to create stronger bonds between the active plaza and the inactive basement, which was used as a bunker through german wars and later reused as a brewery. The gap is filled with a volume organised according to three programatic layers: chill, contemplate and work. These are connected through the sponge’s porosity, allowing variable fluxes (fluids) to intervene and flow. Working with a metabolic analogy, the sponge reuses residual space, bringing stronger flows to the site. The metal structure supports a versatile program, sorrounded by a service buffer to feed the central mass. The programmes are responsive to public activity, creating a dynamic information hotspot.

Resetting Pfefferberg

Del-Toro & Yzquierdo

Berlin is a multilayered city, an exciting cosmopolitan place full of life and countless attractions. However, underneath its skin lies a whole world waiting to absorb some of the surface vitality. The intention of this project is to create a new site that integrates above and below by diminishing the boundary in between. We have created a new space by modifying the existing structure of the cellars, demolishing some of the existing walls and vaults and building new structures with the left over material – construction from destruction. The project is based on bone fractures. This allowed us to intervene not only on the inside but on the outside. The topography of the surface was modified in order to bring light inside and to make the plaza a more interesting place. Thinking of the structure of the cellars as a skeleton helped us to understand where and which kind of fractures were needed in order to create new spaces whilst still being respectful to its unique essence. The project intends to make of this underground space a new cultural site for art exhibitions. The program also includes projection rooms, a theater and a lounge.

Up and Down

Arzoz & Villarreal

Based on previous research we discovered that our site is between two boroughs related through invisible demarcation: Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg. In order to function as an attraction point for both sides, a place is needed where they can meet and merge with each other. Therefore the proposal is to build a film school, where young artists from Prenzlauer Berg come and study, while Mitte tourists come and enjoy German film culture. Currently, a plaza floor is a physical demarcation between the old beer cellars and the exterior space. We wanted to mix and unite the down - old - south - conservative with something up - new - north - alternative thereby creating a contrast that´s both interesting and exciting. By creating an interior plaza, a connection is made with the existing exterior space, generating an open and fluid space full of light and life.

Meet The Underground

Guindi & Figot

Pfefferberg underground was our case study and demarcation was our theme. Berlin proved to be very valuable as a starting point to study these concepts. This city has been divided in many ways throughout history. We learned that creating a barrier generates the necessity of a new connection. In turn demarcation is not only separating two things but can also mean a new way of uniting them. Thinking about this in terms of space, we turned to the idea of interpreting floors, ceilings and walls as connectors rather than barriers. Using basic audio and visual devices we intend to create different kinds of connections between the spaces, creating curiosity in the visitor to explore the site. We linked the upper plaza with the underground to encourage interaction between them. Our project explores the idea of sensory connections between spaces which may not necessarily be immediately accessible to one another.

Pfefferberg Garkeler

Alessio-Robles & Guzman

Different elements, separated events. Pfefferberg is connected to its surroundings, but all the inside elements are evasive of one another. The unity of the whole will result in a new ideology in the artistic context. The user should have access to everything, not just pass by. The place is unique, but it has no purpose, where its surroundings already do. So we reverse the equation. Make the place be the result, not the sum or the connection of its parts. Circulation around a nucleus: this will create a contrast, stay or pass-by. The space tells where to move, but not what to do or for how long. The operation stems from the subtractive: to take away and/or fragment become the tools on which a new pattern of movement and behavior is brought about into the existing space. The main idea is to complete, not to compete. Emphasizing the main traits, the ethos of the space brings about a new understanding of it, a becoming of a new experience, hence our project. The resulting project has no stop; it’s a circulating system. A subtle intervention that affects and focuses on circulation patterns, it alters the performance of the entire space and in doing so, its entire reality.



The proposal is about what can be done to this amazing place, but most of all to understand the incredible potential of the underground. The concept is to create a unified space using the concept of rhythm: sound and silence. (Which is this beat sequence of every song). Considering that most “catchy” songs have between 4 to 5 beats that goes on and on until the end, this became the means to understand and re-interpret the existing spaces in order to generate new conditions. The five beat sequence is based on the ways that rythm can be translated into a tangible object. The main structure of the elements is based on the kaleidoscope shape, which produces symmetrical patterns that can be translated into rhythm.The entire sequence of the floor plan is related with every single element by going up and down into the floor. Just like the rythm of music.

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