The perplexing scale of Berlin's destruction in the aftermath of the Second World War marks theentry of the city into the Anthropocene: the era in which humans beings have become a determining geological factor. The labour and endurance of Berliner women in the handling and management of more than 45 million cubic metres of dead city involved the birth of an unprecedented material landscape, an early urbanism-of-waste at a territorial level.
The city’s 18 artificial mountains witness its new metabolic condition, a dark ecology, hidden beneath the 20,000 atomised buildings that lie under the highest of them. Teufelsberg, erected over an uncompleted military academy designed by Albert Speer. The ruinous structure an NSA American espionage station, crowns its summit.
This lost archive of material culture remains untold and untold, just as sadness. Being the only one of the six basic emotions without a precise evolutionary purpose, it remains invalidated and censored on the public sphere. Its psychological and physiological determinants upon bodies set the tools to mould several telluric architectures. At the heart of the mountain this series of funerary typologies articulate a great compound monument, placed amongst and beneath ruins.
The Metropolitan Cenotaph of Berlin proposes an affective turn in architecture. A place where destruction is remembered and loss commemorated through collective experience; a place where sadness is expressed in company, vindicating it as a valid emotion in the realm of shared spaces.
HALLO TRISTESSE is a one-year research on the link between architecture and vulnerability, recognised with the hightest qualification as a Final Thesis Project. It has been presented in ETSAMadrid and Tongji University. It was a nominated project for the forthcoming edition of the 2020 Young Talent Architecture Award, awarded by the Mies van der Rohe Fundation.