Genius Vacui - about emptiness, void and absence

by Tobias Rabold from M.S.A. Münster School of Architecture University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Tutored by: Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Kirsten Schemel

Author comments:

Die Leere - a German word that can be equally translated as emptiness, void or absence.
After an extensive research of the qualities and different expressions of emptiness, the essential presumtion of the following project began to emerge, that empty space is an architectural condition that has played a vital role in the creation of sublime spaces. Yet emptiness in terms of architectural creation must be more than the simple absence of matter.
Based on the hypothesis that in present times empty space can only be found in exclusive and elitist surroundings, like churches, museums, nightclubs or shopping malls.
Therefore this project proposes a structure within the very centre of Berlin, that offers a true public emptiness. A space that can be appropriated by the visitor regardless of religion, level of education, economic situation or membership of any sort.
The aim was to create a space that is no longer part of the urban fabric and in which the visitor might be able to immerse herself for the sake of reflection, meditation, prayer or whatever action this building might be able to offer.
A wall encloses an abstract space, where 294 poplar trees create an other-worldly experience. Like a manmade forest or the inverted version of a pre-islamic paradise-garden. Within this field of trees one finds a free standing concrete structure, where one can stride through until he reaches the very centre of the building: an emtpy space that is only filled with the sound of your own steps.

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