Agnieszka Wolodzko / Danzig
I try not to assess: good – bad. However, when I look at the immense building of “Gropiushaus” or super sky-scraper “Ideal-Haus”, I think: a well organized prison. On the other hand, signatories of the Charter of Athens were right that if to install all inhabitants of these apartment blocks in single-family houses with small gardens we would get a chess board of houses and narrow streets stretched for miles and miles. A wonderful jungle in a middle of the housing estate, kept in a form of a wild reserve – a phenomenon quite unusual in the today city – would be out of the question. A multitude of green areas, playgrounds or sport complexes would be out of the question, too.
Looking from my own viewpoint I know that what I need is space, human scale of the architecture and a way out to a garden. But I don’t know what kind of criteria should the living space of other people grant to make them able to fulfill themselves in it. Does living in such an anthill limit them in any way? What does anybody feel suspended on the 30th floor, having only the emptiness of the sky and birds of passage as neighbors: freedom or threat?
Living one week on the 12th floor of “Gropiushaus” I feel as on exotic holidays on the moon but would I be able to settle down here?
Gropiusstadt is inhabited by old Germans (often marking their presence by hanging out the national flag) and young immigrants. On what plane can any common interest link them?
First thing in the morning a group of green areas’ staff is weeding shrubs. Next a cleaner is removing soil from a pavement with an electric blower. The noise of its engine is echoing over and over again and is gliding up to the 15th floor.
In the time of sunrises and sunsets the housing estate looks fairly picturesquely but during a cloudy day, when the whiteness of walls of the sky-scraper shines icy on a background of the steel-grey sky, I stubbornly observe its windows and balconies and I ask myself: why they don’t jump out?