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Berlin: City Without Form: Strategies for a Different Architecture

Author/EditorOswalt, Philipp (Author)
Publisher: DOM Publishers
ISBN: 9783869222745
Pub Date01/04/2021
BindingPaperback
Pages160
Dimensions (mm)230(h) * 210(w)
$45.96
excluding shipping
Availability: 33 In Stock
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Berlin was shaped by the events of the twentieth century in a process of “automatic
urbanism.” More than any other metropolis, the city absorbed the forces of that
epoch — modernity, fascism, two world wars, Stalinism, socialism, the Cold War,
revolt, capitalism — and gave them form. This book shows how even today, opposed
ideological, political, economic, and military forces continue to produce unplanned
structures and activities and urban phenomena beyond the categories of urban
design and architecture that conceal rich potential. Berlin reveals particularly clearly
phenomena that have shaped urban development in the twentieth century in other
places as well: conglomeration, collision of borders, ¬destruction, void, mass,
metabolism, and simulation. The present book, which caused a sensation when first
published in German twenty years ago, is now being published in English for the first
time. Its surprising and informative analysis of ¬Berlin as a prototype of the modern
city destroys the ideologies of heroic modernity as well as the new nationalisms and
shows how the modern city “as found” can become the point of departure for new
forms of context-specific architecture and urban planning.
Taking Berlin as a prototype, Philipp Oswalt’s lucid analysis describes how much the
built environment of cities is influenced by the unintended side-effects of political,
economic, and technological processes. This “automatic urbanism” reveals modernist
master-planning and national building traditions as being a myth. Instead, the book
offers a both socially and ecologically more sensitive, more responsible approach to
develop cities “as found.”
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University New York
This English edition of Philipp Oswalt’s now-classic study could not be more timely.
Every effort to understand the modern city must contend with Berlin, the twentieth
century’s anti-capital. Its lessons, presented here with singular insight and authority,
remain necessary to anyone thinking about what that word — “city” — might still
mean today.
Reinhold Martin, Columbia University New York
Berlin has never only been a theatre in the battle between ideas and ideologies.
Rather, it has always been the material means by which these ideas clash against
each other. If the struggle for our futures must take place in Berlin, as our historical
moment seems to demand, there is no better guide than Philipp Oswalt’s now classic
Berlin: City Without Form. His scholarly ingenuity and perceptive architect’s eye are
only matched by a commitment to the future of his city.
Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths/University of London

Berlin was shaped by the events of the twentieth century in a process of “automatic
urbanism.” More than any other metropolis, the city absorbed the forces of that
epoch — modernity, fascism, two world wars, Stalinism, socialism, the Cold War,
revolt, capitalism — and gave them form. This book shows how even today, opposed
ideological, political, economic, and military forces continue to produce unplanned
structures and activities and urban phenomena beyond the categories of urban
design and architecture that conceal rich potential. Berlin reveals particularly clearly
phenomena that have shaped urban development in the twentieth century in other
places as well: conglomeration, collision of borders, ¬destruction, void, mass,
metabolism, and simulation. The present book, which caused a sensation when first
published in German twenty years ago, is now being published in English for the first
time. Its surprising and informative analysis of ¬Berlin as a prototype of the modern
city destroys the ideologies of heroic modernity as well as the new nationalisms and
shows how the modern city “as found” can become the point of departure for new
forms of context-specific architecture and urban planning.
Taking Berlin as a prototype, Philipp Oswalt’s lucid analysis describes how much the
built environment of cities is influenced by the unintended side-effects of political,
economic, and technological processes. This “automatic urbanism” reveals modernist
master-planning and national building traditions as being a myth. Instead, the book
offers a both socially and ecologically more sensitive, more responsible approach to
develop cities “as found.”
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University New York
This English edition of Philipp Oswalt’s now-classic study could not be more timely.
Every effort to understand the modern city must contend with Berlin, the twentieth
century’s anti-capital. Its lessons, presented here with singular insight and authority,
remain necessary to anyone thinking about what that word — “city” — might still
mean today.
Reinhold Martin, Columbia University New York
Berlin has never only been a theatre in the battle between ideas and ideologies.
Rather, it has always been the material means by which these ideas clash against
each other. If the struggle for our futures must take place in Berlin, as our historical
moment seems to demand, there is no better guide than Philipp Oswalt’s now classic
Berlin: City Without Form. His scholarly ingenuity and perceptive architect’s eye are
only matched by a commitment to the future of his city.
Eyal Weizman, Goldsmiths/University of London

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