Felix Mayer

Felix Mayer

Documentation Centre. RWTH Aachen (Germany)

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Rooms can trigger emotions and physical reactions. They come up close to us, they affect us and they touch us. Architecture can evoke memories and feelings of long forgotten things. Interpretation, association and memory are by no means limited to the intellectual reception of architecture. It concerns the whole range of human experiences of reality on the cognitive, emotional and phenomenal level of space:

The concept for the »Documentation Centre – Flight, Expulsion, Loss of homeland« deals with sensitively designed experiences of space which are intended to emphasise knowledge on the above-mentioned levels. A process that seeks to override the mechanism of forgetting.

Storing, remembering and communicating are the main tasks, which are realised in the design in three volumes - archive, temporary exhibition and event. The bundling of functions in one building enables an intensive exchange between those areas. A permanent exhibition on the three themes of exclusion, flight and loss of homeland links the other functional areas. This breaks down the classic notion of a museum, creating an interdisciplinary house in which independent research and remembrance can take place.

The history of the site is intrinsically linked to that of the former Anhalter railway station. Berlin's largest station at the end of the 19th century formed an imposing façade on the Askanischer Platz. Severe damage in World War II and the division of Germany rendered the station ruin useless, which is why it was demolished in the 1950s. By public demand the ruin of the entrance portal was preserved as a fragment.

The design integrates the portal and gives it back an urban space. Bricks of a similar format bind new and old together in material, scale and spatial community. Design elements such as arched windows and cornices are incorporated and continued.

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