book review on LINKiesta web site

"Berlin Fragments", or the most beautiful treatise on the philosophy of architectural form

Assonant in its title and in its link with the city of Berlin, conrad-bercah's book digs into his youth as an architect to recover forms, archetypes and icons. A journey with a philosophical and existential flavor, which inspires and fascinates


“Several times in my inner life, I had already experienced the process of inoculation as something salutary. In this situation, too, I resolved to follow suit, and I deliberately called to mind those images, which, in exile, are most apt to waken homesickness: images of childhood. My assumption was that the feeling of longing would no more gain mastery over my spirit than a vaccine does over a healthy body.”

This is how Walter Benjamin introduced Berlin Childhood around 1900, setting forth just how he intended to build an archeology of his own unconscious, one that would lead him to draw upon significant images from the depths of his childhood.

conrad-bercah’s Berlin Fragments. A Heterography of an Architectural Form is assonant in its title and its tie to Berlin. Recently published by LetteraVentidue, the book works in an analogous fashion, digging deep into the architect–author’s youth to excavate forms, archetypes, icons—“ghosts,” as he himself defines them,—that unbeknownst to him had influenced his professional, cultural, and human background. Just what exactly gave rise to this journey back into his own architectural self and to the specific occasion in which this need arose, as well as how it is concretely expressed, requires a brief account of something that had happened earlier.

Berlin-Britz, September 26, 2018, 7.00 a.m. A crane picks some prefabricated elements up off the flatbed of a truck parked on Jahnstrasse and lifts them up to the fifth (and top) floor of a residential building under construction, completing it in height. The wooden walls and the large windows, mounted with quiet precision by a team of three workers, had been produced by a factory in Bressanone, Italy, as had the rest of structure which had already been assembled in just one month’s time. A few months later, when the work had been completed and the scaffolding had been removed, people walking down the street could see a building with wide, fairly regularly placed window/door openings, dark wooden cladding, and a vertically tripartite façade, the center section of which is slightly stepped back, while the two lateral sections are aligned with the contiguous buildings. Whoever has the occasion to enter the rear courtyard finds a wood-clad façade that has a different design but one that is similarly characterized by a sober relationship between balance and variety.