1 - 2 - 3 SOLD!

For sure, Berlin , for an architecture student, is one of those European capitals to check in the “Cities to visit” list.

Eisenman, Mies Van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Niemeyer, Libeskind, Siza, Rogers and many others are the Masters who have left their mark on the German capital.

When I found myself wandering around the city, accompanied by three architects, I couldn't wait to visit the Corbusierhaus , built by Le Corbusier in 1957 for the “Interbau 57” exhibition.

Arriving in front of this architectural masterpiece, we began to walk around it to admire its exteriors. Not satisfied, as soon as we found the front door we catapulted inside to take a walk along the corridors. We weren't happy yet, it wasn't enough: we wanted to enter one of the duplexes, the double-height apartments most designed and studied by students.

So, curious and decidedly annoying, we started knocking on all the doors we met along the way. Nobody dared to open: it must not be easy to deal with the obsessions of a group of architectural "fetishists" , if you live within the Unitè.

On the fifth floor, however, in the corridor of yellow doors, we noticed a group of people outside an apartment. There was a lot of movement: a continuous stream of people coming and going and whispering words in German that, even if we wanted to, we would never understand.

Seizing in the air that it could be an opportunity, we approached and, trying to blend in with the crowd and making our way between people's legs, we suddenly found ourselves inside the “pipe” designed by Le Corbusier. Immediately, before our eyes: the large window in front of the entrance, the kitchen on the right, the stairs leading to the mezzanine on the left, the bathroom and the bedroom upstairs ... everything was in its place, more or less. The old tenant had, in fact, changed something compared to the plants I knew well, even if the Unité in Berlin is slightly different from her French sister. The duplexes, in fact, do not show themselves in their entirety, the lodgings are smaller and did not develop like whole "pipes", but halved.

Shortly after, continuing to shoot, we realized that we were unaware participants of a judicial auction.

Yes, right here, right in Berlin, in the Unité d'Habitation.

Once they all went out into the corridor, the auction officially began. "Viertausendfünfhundert!", "Fünftausend!" - the participants made their offers - “1 - 2 - 3 Ausgezeichnet!”.

In the end, a lucky person, for someone else a madman, was awarded the contents of the apartment for € 9,500.00. At least that's how an Italian man who was taking part in the auction translated us.

In the meantime, we had obtained our booty. We had entered !!!

Andrea DI CINZIO

the journey through images >>

Facade of the Unitè d'Habitation (Corbusierhaus) in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, (1957)

© N Marco Santomauro

Interior of the Habitation Unit © N Marco Santomauro

Interior of an auction apartment © Andrea Di Cinzio