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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Luther Memorial Berlin in Germany by Zeller & Moye

July 14th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Zeller & Moye

A new memorial for Martin Luther will be constructed in central Berlin at the former Neuer Markt next to the St.Marienkirche. The winning proposal of the international competition ‘Luther-Denkmal 2017’ refers in its spatial arrangement to the historical Luther memorial that was destroyed during WWII. Like a mirror image of the original memorial, a negative volume is embossed into the ground. It points to Berlin’s history and emphasises the importance of public space for the society. Looking closely at the steps and the edge detailing, the original shapes of the former memorial become visible as negative imprints. However, the new memorial is not at all a reconstruction of the old one, but presents itself as a contemporary and sculpturally composed memorial in its own right.

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

  • Architects: Zeller & Moye (Christoph Zeller & Ingrid Moye)
  • Project: Luther Memorial Berlin
  • Location: Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 8, 10178 Berlin-Mitte, Germany
  • Client: Evangelischer Kirchenkreis Berlin Stadtmitte & Bezirksamt Mitte Of Berlin
  • Collaborating Artist: Albert Weis
  • Size: 190m2 / 2,045ft2
  • Date: 06/2016
  • Status: 1st Prize In International Competition ‘Luther-Denkmal 2017’ / In Planning

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

The existing sculpture of Luther is duplicated as a slightly abstract replica cast from aluminium with a mirroring chrome finish. The two sculptures are placed facing each other in dialogue form provoking several levels of meaning. The onedirectional heroicising of the original Luther figure is replaced by a new dialogic and reflexive approach symbolising the communicative society of the 21st century.

The floor of the memorial is equipped with a grid of 10,000 LED light points, which alternately display important quotes by persons that succeeded Luther and became role models in the 21st century, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin  Luther King amongst others. The illuminated texts create a space of light that becomes a focal point for public life within the urban sequence.

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

The memorial will be made from one homogenous material. The floor and the sides are made of prefabricated concrete in a warm medium grey tone. The resulting open volume invites passers-by to inhabit the site. In contrast to the memorial of the 19th century that justified its importance through an elevation that rises above the level of the citizens, the new memorial remains on ground level inviting pedestrians to a dialogue. Both sculptures rest on plinth fragments that are installed on the lower memorial level with both plinths invisible for the approaching visitor. Therefore the figures appear to stand at the same level as the surrounding sidewalk allowing the passers-by to meet Luther at eye level.

The new Luther Memorial represents a formative expression of the identity of today’s church and the society of the 21st century. Albert Weis adds: ‘The memorial allows for a new form of identification, reflexion and perception.’

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Christoph Zeller of Zeller & Moye explains: ‘Our design is an invitation for the city dweller to engage with the new space. Visitors can seek a dialogue with the figures; can rest on the integrated seating; or in passing, receive a message delivered by the light field that may accompany them through the whole day.’

Quotes for the grid of light:

‘Not in the escape of thoughts, alone in doing is freedom.’ / „Nicht in der Flucht der Gedanken, allein in der Tat ist die Freiheit.“ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ / „Ungerechtigkeit an irgendeinem Ort bedroht die Gerechtigkeit an jedem anderen.“ (Martin Luther King)

‘That old law about an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.’ / „Der alte Grundsatz Auge um Auge macht schließlich alle blind.“ (Martin Luther King)

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Zeller & Moye

Zeller & Moye was founded by Christoph Zeller and Ingrid Moye as an architectural studio that operates with an interdisciplinary and global approach, with bases in Mexico City and Berlin. The studio established a unique working method of extensive experimentation for the development of a project in order to articulate meaningful proposals for the contemporary world.

Zeller & Moye has designed a wide range of projects at all scales from furniture design to large cultural buildings in different parts of the world. Christoph Zeller and Ingrid Moye have been practicing architecture for more than 13 years including work for international practices SANAA in Tokyo and Herzog & de Meuron in Basel and London, leading numerous projects such as the ‘Tate Modern Project’ and the ‘Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012’.

Zeller & Moye are currently realising two museums in Kurdistan, Iraq; a design museum, two contemporary art galleries and a series of residential projects in Mexico and China; amongst others. Christoph Zeller and Ingrid Moye teach at the AA Visiting Schools Berlin and Mexico, a master class in urban studies at the UIA Mexico City and have been jury members, lecturers and guest critics at various universities.

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Image Courtesy © Zeller & Moye

Albert Weis

Albert Weis’ artistic work engages with the essential relations of private and public space, urban and natural space, historical and present space, the real and the imaginative – as well as focussing on various aspects of the daily, the political, the social and the utopian. He is primarily interested in the reciprocal actions and effects between society, city and architecture constituting the essential question of what is identity. Solo exhibitions include 2009 modelisme at Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, 2010 coupes at Centre d’art Nei Liicht, Ville de Dudelange, Luxembourg, 2011 Szenenwechsel at Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, 2015 Projektionen, Transformationen at Galerie Sociedad Anonima, Madrid, (silver) at Kunstmuseum Goch, parade (silver) at Kunstverein Bochum and 2016 changes at Rathausgalerie Munich.

Albert Weis realised several art-for-architecture projects and projects for public space, for example 2001 at the campus of TU Munich in Weihenstephan, 2008 at Schauspielhaus Frankfurt, 2012 at Bayerischen Landesamt für Umwelt in Augsburg and 2015 at the Fraunhofer Institut IPM in Kaiserslautern.

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