Berlin Fragments proposes a kind of "archeology of the present" in which the reader reconstructs a story starting from mysterious fragments that are only apparently inconsistent with each other. The author forces us to go backwards in respect to most architectural texts, laying out the discourse as if it were an "inverse archeology."It is a discourse that rejects any phenomenological or pedagogical approach, providing the reader the elements with which to invent one’s own "genealogy of the present."A mysterious personal biography and awesome collective geographies (no place lends itself better to imagination than Berlin) are the ingredients that so wonderfully comprise this unique "architectural heterography."
The great enigma addressed in this book is that of the relationship between Time and the architect’s creative act. To what extent does a building and its (poetic and technical) design process belong specifically to an “immanent present,” and to what extent—by binding with the author’s (sentimental, if not intimate) autobiography—does it belong to timeless “Time”? conrad-bercah responds to this key question through the drawing and thought inspired by a building built in Berlin, a place where “time” is one with memory and repression, reconstruction and fiction. We must unhesitatingly admit it: nothing is more collective than a personal journey put into a sharable form. Creating (especially in architecture) is a collective, connective act between individual and collective sensations. We thank the author for having reminded us of this through both the built structure and its narration."
An architect has just built an apartment house. Looking back at the process that lead to its completion, he discovers other buildings--hidden in his memory--that unexpectedly resurface. By compulsively narrating these ruins of time, he unleashes a travelogue through architectural memory, a reflection on its non-linear functioning and analogical procedures. The fragments coalesce into the building but they also expand in its surrounding city, Berlin, a seat of collective memory and an allegory of other presences.
Aristotele maintains that the poet’s skill lies in putting fragments of truth together plausibly to convey the general nature of things rather than describe minutiae about them. Even though Berlin Fragments is constructed around an existing building, it is an unbiased tribute to verisimilar composition, in the Aristotelian sense— that doesn’t inevitably correspond to what was or what should be but is what one might imagine possible. In these terms, argumentation and description lose all value in the face of the inventive charge of poetic composition. Berlin Fragments accompanies us though a deeply intimate mythological aura to discover the profound meaning of a damned in-between generation, a fugitive generation that has been able to honor memory without seeking refuge in melancholy.
Hermes von Hopness