Under Threat: International Congress Center (ICC)
by Ralf Schüler, Berlin, Germany, 1973-1979
"The discussion about the future of the International Congress Centre (ICC) Berlin has been going on for more than ten years. Demolition, renovation and conversion into a shopping mall (the latter would equal a demolition of the interior) have all been discussed. Since March 2014, the building complex has been vacant; new uses are being debated – despite the fact that since the closing of the ICC the city of Berlin has no alternative venues for holding largescale conferences. Therefore, precious potential lies idle – architecturally and economically. The monumental building, opened in April 1979 after only three and a half years of construction, is quite unique in its futuristic shape and design. It is a Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art), preserved largely intact and in its authentic state, including the interior. It is not easy to define the style of this building which is outstanding and unique in every respect. This is because nothing comparable was built before or after. Due to the building’s technologyinspired appearance it is reminiscent of high-tech architecture – and therefore of such buildings as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (Renzo Piano/Richard Rogers, 1971-77), Lloyds in London (Richard Rogers, 1978-86), and the clinical centre in Aachen (Wolfgang Weber/Peter Brand, 1971-85). The buildings in London and Aachen are listed, the Centre Pompidou is undisputed as a national cultural good. The ICC Berlin is a landmark of former West Berlin. Its relevance has long been accepted by the scientific community in Germany. [...]"
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