THE MEMORY PALACE
This is a proposal for an alternative method of preservation in the city of Berlin. The focus is on the various cycles of the life and death of architecture and opposes the current processes of destruction and reconstruction in the city.
Taking the notorious case of an attempted ‘remake’ of the Stadtschloss, the project intervenes with its reconstruction site and proposes a new system of judgment that has been drawn from the various mechanisms of destruction and imposition in the city.
The Memory Palace is both a factory and a museum that explores the tensions between the cultural and industrial machines. While the mechanical devices aim to separate the sensibility of a Preservationist or an Architect from brutal operations, the cultural institutions are granted literal and physical powers.
The design focuses on the infrastructure that defines how samples of the city are extracted, processed, destroyed or released back into the city. It follows a sequence of stages from valuing and consuming to curating and routing all the way to physical reductions and augmentations. The outputs – from debris to ‘chimeras’ – vary in scale and intentionally intend to challenge the subjective, contextual and historicist readings of the city.
The larger project is not about fixed “monuments” and the predetermined memory attached to them. The aim is to preserve memories that might emerge from the acts of destruction that define the contradictory histories of Berlin. With the proposal for strategic destruction and reconstruction, this is a longer cultural project that includes various moments of life, transformation and death of architecture.
Processes and Stages of Reduction