From the editorial DETAIL 3.2022
Sun, Air and Light – and Urbanity!
“A villa in the countryside with a large terrace, in front of you the Baltic Sea, Friedrichstrasse behind you …”. Thus begins Kurt Tucholsky’s 1927 poem, “The Ideal”. While Tucholsky’s ideal of urban life might be unattainable in Berlin, there are cities where it has become a reality. Switch out the Baltic Sea for Lake Zurich or the Mediterranean, and Friedrichstrasse for Bahnhofstrasse or the Rambla, and the architects from Zollhaus in Zurich and La Balma in Barcelona deserve nothing but praise.
Urbanity means enduring the foreign,” according to the Munich-based sociologist Armin Nassehi. Yet, back to Barcelona, where in 1929, Mies van der Rohe awakened a hedonistic longing for independent living with the German Expo Pavilion – which no longer seems compatible with today’s social and urban needs. But it was also here, in the 1930s, that the architecture collective Gatepac built Spain’s first social housing, the Casa Bloc. To this day, the building with its 207 maisonettes meets the criteria of urban living, with shops and communal facilities on the ground floor, communityareas on porticos and terraces, and two greencourtyards that benefit the whole neighbourhood.