BERG

A sound-dome and temporary architecture project

Step 1.
Project background

the acoustic dimension of architecture

SHORT HISTORY OF TEUFELSBERG

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.


A PIECE OF URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY

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.

A CINEMATIC SOUNDTRACK FOR A FIELD VISIT

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.

 



 

 

Step 2.
Raw material

A PORTABLE SOUND-DOME

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.

 

 

Step 3.
Mapping sound samples

LISTEN

Valentina worked on an interactive application for iPhone made of looping cold war sound samples. I worked on transposing this idea to temporary architecture.


Step 4.
Use and tech specs

requirements

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.

  • A light weight and temporary structure.
  • Module and transportable parts.
  • To be erected outdoors upon unlevel soft ground.
  • Be able to withstand strong winds and heavy rain
  • To be able to erect onsite by an instructed crew within 48 hours
  • To be able to dismantle and efficiently pack within 48 hours
  • To avoid scaring of the land once removed
    To disassemble and fit into 20ft shipping container for storage.

 

 

 

 


The structure should visually standout amongst other temporary installations and should be a pinnacle feature with in festival field or event setup.

  • To create an auditorium to mimic the acoustics and atmosphere of the Teufelsberg towers
  • To enhance the acoustic experience of the architecture making use of the maximising the effects of Rotunda reflection, Parabolic reflection and focused reflection.
  • To be able to install and modify an array of sound points and pickup points.
  • To incorporate an adequate base amp unit.
  • To incorporate a booth/ performance area for sound artist
  • To accommodate up to comfortably 50 audience members

Step 5.
Development

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

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.

To design berg, I combined




research

cinema

sound art

architecture

interaction design




DSLR

final cut pro

Photoshop

xCode

Ableton live

Illustrator



 

 

get in touch

I am always on the lookout for exciting opportunities to work with likeminded professionals and great projects.

Drop me a line to request a quote, or feel free to add me to your network on LinkedIn.
Looking forward to hear from you!

 

 

London // +44 7938110944
hugo@sterkstudio.co.uk