Teufelsberg is a man-made hill in the outskirts of Berlin.
It was built by the American Allies with the rubble of a city destroyed by World War II, in the 20 years that followed its end. Rising 80mt above sea level, Teufelsberg became the highest viewing point in Berlin and a favorable location for military observation of the city.
In the very late fifties, as Germany was divided and thrown in the deep of the Cold War, the US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations atop the hill hoping to tap into Soviet, East German, and other Warsaw Pact nations military traffic.
With the end of the Cold War, the listening station became redundant, it was closed down and its equipment removed.
It remained a disused structure for over 10 years, to which followed another 10 years of negotiations between various property developers interested in purchasing the land around it, the possibility to create a spy museum, and the final decision to classify the hill as forest in the land use plan of Berlin, halting any possible attempts to build.
The three radomes and office buildings are now abandoned.
The main radar-dome in Teuelsberg station is build of fiberglass. Inside, sounds bounce directionally in 20 to 30 seconds loops, creating a very complex sonic spatial arrangement.
The same sound changes in intensity, pitch, duration and delay, if played in different spots in the radomes. Pointing the speaker towards the ceiling or the walls, generates completely different sound effects, from swirling echoes, to micro-reverbs or binaural-sounding frequencies.
Spies are long gone here, but their stories and the acoustic experience the site has to offer, still fuel the visitors' imagination.
I collaborated with the designer and filmmaker Valentina Ferrandes to design a lightweight dome with the same acoustic quality found in Teufelsberg. We imagined a performance space where musicians could explore the same looping reverb of a cold war radome, but in the context of music festivals.
Mapping sound samples
Valentina worked on an interactive application for iPhone made of looping cold war sound samples. I worked on transposing this idea to temporary architecture.
Use and tech specs
The structure is initially to be used for a festival site in England. But would also need to be reusable and erected at other events and sites.
The structure should visually standout amongst other temporary installations and should be a pinnacle feature with in festival field or event setup.
I have redeveloped the geometry of the large tuefelberg dome. The dome is raised up to increase the towering sense of the teuflesberg towers. The walkway and circular platform is built from hireable steel deck and scaffold hardware.
This enables large amounts of the structure to be returned to hire companies after events minimising costly storage and handling. It is also equipment familiar to event crew and therefore becomes simpler to manage onsite construction unfamiliar crew.
This is an inherently strong structure and the module sections of walls can be stacked compactly for storage.
Individual aluminium frames spanned with canvas - fibre glass composite.