An armadillo in City West:

Nicholas Grimshaw (*1939) and Partners

Photo: Architecture model by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners, cardboard, paper, foam board, 20 x 60 x 30 cm
© Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners

A model made of white-coated boards shows a long multi-storey building. The visible load-bearing structure for both tracts consists of ten wide arches arranged in parallel like ribs. The left section is wider and higher. Next to the building stands an additional glass tower.

Ludwig-Erhard-Haus, seat of Berlin’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, is known affectionately to Berliners as the “armadillo”. 15 sturdy arches create a ribbed corpus with a grey skin of steel that bears an uncanny resemblance to the small inhabitant of South America. On the Fasanenstrasse side, however, the city insisted on a straight external wall: the original design by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners had not observed the bylaws about preserving street edges and eaves heights.

The Berlinische Galerie holds no fewer than five working models illustrating ideas by Nicholas Grimshaw (*1939) that were not followed up. This white, finely worked model reveals a dually curved design. The unconcealed support structure consists of broad, parallel arches  They permit exhibition spaces and office floors with no need for additional columns.

1991 – 1997
Erweiterungsbau Industrie- und Handelskammer Berlin
Work model
Cardboard, paper, Kapa plate
20 x 60 x 30 cm
Endowment from the architect, 2001

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