Babel Berlin Joanna Kowalik, Ioanna Nicolaou

In current times of political schism and polarisation, specific groups on opposite ends are very vocal; yet they remain isolated. Confrontation and discussion are propellers for social development and finding consensus should not be the ultimate goal.
We propose a building for embassies of conflicting ideologies, with the possibility of daily interaction. This happens through cohabitation in shared spaces that are divided into 3 types: public, private, and in-between.
The complex is surrounded by a wall that has the height of a typical Berlin Block. The public spaces are located at the three corners of the building and they house functions that we believe are critical for safe confrontation: education space with language courses, auditorium for formal debate, and casual assembly space in the form of a ‘Mensa’. The private area is the workplace of the embassies, accessed via checkpoints. Lastly, the in-between territory is where embassies overlap, i.e. where they interact, and is the subject of our typological approach.
The column, as basic component, was used to decipher spatial combinations of buffer zones in order to filter out group isolation and blur territorial boundaries.
We went against the standard “island” definition of an enclosed embassy by redefining its borders and dissolving the territorial lines on the inside. The result is a village of embassies co-habiting, by staging the assembly of people in the frames of the in-between.

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