22. May 2012 / Robert Schäfer
Follow Me: 7 Reasons to attend the Topos conference on the 5th of June in Berlin
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper ran a story on the 13th of May, listing ten reasons why Berlin's new international Airport should never be opened.
We would like to counter this argument using the politician Willy Brandt, after which the new Airport BER will be named, as a kind of metaphor. He was only successful in his political life after many detours. Whether or not his resignation as Chancellor (after the shock revelation one of his aides was a Stasi spy) is a bad omen for the airport remains an open question.
Because we're positive thinkers here at Topos, we are hosting the conference "Follow Me: Berlin’s Airports" on the 5th of June. And we've tabled below 7 reasons why it’s a good idea to attend:
1. Carlo W. Becker will present a lecture on the new, the set-aside, and the closed airports in an urban spatial context. It will cover strategies of urban development and management of large urban wastelands. He will raise questions such as: what are the more favourable scenarios for Berlin's urban landscapes?
2. Will Berlin’s new international airport remain a construction site for a long time to come? This then raises the question of the future of Tegel. An airport beloved by many, it still has one more year of service ahead of it, but emergency repairs must be made; this means investment. Should Tegel not be retained as a second airport for the city? Surely it is better to have a small working airport, than a major one that isn't yet operational? Or will air-travel decline in the future, and give way to rail as an alternative?
3. What will happen in regard to the conservation of birds and lizards, and what about noise protection for the residents of Reinickendorf and Tegel?
4. Should Tempelhof also be brought back into service? This would solve all the controversy surrounding the new development plans around the airport's borders. The protection of fauna may also be better served by a return to service; after all over 100 years of flight operations and military use has had minimal affect on the ecology of the area, compared to what would be expected from the increased pressure of recreational use. Also, this would preserve the sky over Berlin; where else in the inner-city can one enjoy such an expansive sky?
5. Tempelhof Airport is a historically important architectural site and a monument to technology, unparalleled in the world in its day. Are alternative uses such as fashion and garden shows the solution for the airfield?
6. Who is liable when the new homeowners don't find the park at the end of their street that they were promised in the brochure? What sort of park would be suitable for Gatow? Would it meet all the requirements of Berlin's design competition?
7. Have the 20 years of European Fauna-Flora-Habitat (FFH) policy been a success? Will the transformation of now vacant-space into designed urban-space hinder the environmental goals of Natura 2000? Are designed habitats less attractive to wildlife and plant species? Does biodiversity suffer as a result?
So, those who would like to hear some answers to the questions above should make their way to Tempelhof and join the discussions. Other reasons to attend include a presentation of an important case study: the former Oslo airport Fornebu, and also the presentation of the Topos Landscape Award 2012 which went to taktyk, a landscape architecture practice from Paris & Brussels. Along with many other projects, taktyk's Thierry Kandjee & Sébastien Penfornis will present their plans for the Airport City Paris-Roissy.
Photo: Thomas Armonat