Author : Finn Wilkie

University : Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art

Status : DipArch, 2015

Advisor : Robert Mantho

Title : The Heteroglossic City | A Polemic Against Critical Reconstruction In Berlin

The thesis is a critique of the managerial urban paradigm of Critical Reconstruction, against which a response is developed at both an urban and an architectural scale. The totalizing ideology of post-unification planning in Berlin is rejected and a partisan urban development strategy is elaborated through formally finite and contextually specific architectural interventions. This Heteroglossic City is conceived as a dialogically articulated ensemble of diverse relationships in a polycentric and structurally organic urban plan.

The formal, metaphysical, and programmatic consequences of Critical Reconstruction are identified as the primary areas of contention. Through comprehensive analysis of these specifics, a conceptual framework is established from which an illustrative architectural intervention is determined: the Bauforum. This finite and critical response to the urban environment embodies both an architectural and an urban intent: in the Heteroglossic City, the specific circumstance is the index for the constitution of the urban structure as a whole.

As a platform for dialogue-focused planning, the components of the Bauforum serve as a physical pivot for the development of a more sustainable urban development strategy: a collective endeavour, growing out of what is present and continuously adjusting to changing circumstances over time.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Finn Wilkie_ The idea that the basis for urban development in Berlin can be found at the specific scale of architectural intervention rather than generally addressed at the scale of the city as a totality.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
FW_ I like some painting and sculpture. At the moment I’m reading about the Scottish painter Callum Innes and the Italian Arte Povera movement of the 1960s.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
FW_ The importance of being able balance personal convictions with the need to assimilate the views of others.

S//A : Describe your dream project
FW_ To live in an interesting city and complete a number of projects of different scale, type, budget etc. over many years.