DAY 1: I arrive at my new home for the week, “The Hostel Boat Berlin” the title really, says it all really, but to summarize: it is a hostel that is moored on the North East end of the river Spree, just next to the East Side Gallery AKA the old Berlin Wall (which is now beautifully decorated by artists). Incidentally, not recommended for people of my height, 6’2,” as the boat created its own head banging challenges!
Thought for the day / How much has this place changed in the last 26 years!
DAY2: I start the day with the Alternative Kreuzberg Tour! Larisa, the tour guide, showed us the ‘real’ Kreuzberg from the view of a young Architect… Tour very informative and useful! Her views on the migrant crisis were most interesting, seemingly they echoed Germany’s views sold in the UK press!
Next up was paddle boarding on the Landwehr canal. Apart from firstly being crushed into my wetsuit then being the only person to fall into the putrid water, it was novel becoming a local tourist attraction! (#PaddleBoarding #KreuzbergCanal #HipstersOnCanals)
Thought for the day / How different Berlin’s attitude to the Migrant crisis is to the UK! But crucially was that canal water really safe to swallow?
DAY3: We navigate Berlin’s incredibly efficient subway system to meet up with the tutors for a ramble around Kreuzberg. There were some slightly sore heads evident thanks to an eventful previous evening! The afternoon consisted of soaking up the incredible Kreuzberg atmosphere, with sunny weather and Berlin’s ‘walky’ beers, all whilst chilling on the boat with an uninterrupted view of the city down the river!
Thought for the day / It is incredible how much cultures can vary within a short distance! (Imagine ‘Walky’ beers in Glasgow!)
DAY 4: We meet up for a second day of tutor-guided tours. A rather animated R Mantho made sure he imparted his knowledge of reading the city from an architect’s viewpoint. EVERYBODY took part in the conversations!! It was eye opening seeing the contrasts in successful and failing parts of the city! The evening consisted of ‘social’ drinks as a large group followed by some ‘healthy’ architectural debates amongst peers.
Thought for the day / Perhaps one too many ‘Bier’ today!
DAY 5: I was on the team to help put up the MAC’s post-grad exhibition in the Berlin Model centre, that’s right the MAC has gone international! The day was a lesson in meticulous exhibition hanging with a hangover, which then turned into a competition, between certain tutors and students, as to whom was faster at peeling double-sided tape? Who said architects aren’t competitive?
Thought for the day / Architecture hanging with a hang over!
DAY 6: Today consisted of returning to sites of interest that might be relevant to my Thesis, in particular a visit to Gorlitzer Park became an eventful one. As I walked into the park filming some rather interesting characters, holding small packets of ‘white powder’ and ‘green herbs’, I found myself being confronted with some rather threatening drug-dealers wanting their images removed from my iPhone…the things we do for research! The evening consisted of the grand opening of the exhibition whilst Chris Platt showed off his German skills. I examined the inspiring Architecture that the MAC is currently producing! The evening ended with a sample of the Berlin nightlife with the aptly named Suicide Circus Club. I was home just in time to catch my flight back to Glasgow the next morning!
Thought for the day / Berlin is an incredible richly cultured place. Spending time in Kreuzberg has given me a snapshot view of life here! I cautiously hope that it weathers the storm of capitalism and that Kreuzberg keeps its strong sense of community and place identity! Well-done tutors for the inspiring area selection! Bring on the Thesis!