REVISITING MIES: An extension to Haus Lemke in Berlin [M1]

Haus Lemke, built in 1932 by Mies van der Rohe, sits at the Obersee lake in the Northeast of Berlin. The house was completed before Mies’s emigration to the United States in 1938. The simple brick structure has undergone various transformations: conceived initially as a residence for Karl and Martha Lemke, it was then seized in 1945 by the Red Army and converted into a garage. The house was occupied by the East German secret police from the 1960s up until the fall of the Berlin Wall.  A complete restoration according to Mies’s plans was completed in 2000 when it was made open to the public for the first time. Haus Lemke stands now as an exhibition space for contemporary art and for engagement with the legacy of Mies.

In this studio, we will focus on the possibility of an extension at this site. In response to increasing pressure to expand the facilities, the director of the institution has launched the “Mies goes Future” initiative, which has instigated a conversation among stakeholders about this new addition beside a historical landmark. Over these seven weeks, we will imagine together how this space will be redesigned.  How might an addition strengthen the exhibition program, support access for visiting scholars, sustain pedagogical initiatives, or facilitate encounters in a remote area outside the heart of the city?

The prompt for this addition coincides with the establishment of the non-profit initiative “Bauhaus Earth” that aspires to reformulate the Bauhaus concept in the face of the corresponding crises of inequality and climate change one century after Bauhaus was established in Weimar. In response to the challenges of industrialization at the turn of the 20th century, Bauhaus modelled alternative paradigms for socially and ecologically responsible design, production, and fabrication. “Revisiting Mies” through Haus Lemke in this studio necessarily asks to critically think about the ideas, values, and ambitions, associated with „Bauhaus Earth “.

Recognizing that a module studio is a focused architectural investigation, rather than a full project design, we will emphasize representational strategies such as models, montages, and collage as tools to conceptualize this extension.