Author : Sebastian Tiew

University : Architectural Association, School of Architecture

Status : Intermediate 7, 2015

Advisor : Maria Fedorchenko

Title : The Memory Palace

This is a proposal for an alternative method of preservation in the city of Berlin. The focus is on the various cycles of the life and death of architecture and opposes the current processes of destruction and reconstruction in the city.

Taking the notorious case of an attempted ‘remake’ of the Stadtschloss, the project intervenes with its reconstruction site and proposes a new system of judgment that has been drawn from the various mechanisms of destruction and imposition in the city.

The Memory Palace is both a factory and a museum that explores the tensions between the cultural and industrial machines. While the mechanical devices aim to separate the sensibility of a Preservationist or an Architect from brutal operations, the cultural institutions are granted literal and physical powers.

The design focuses on the infrastructure that defines how samples of the city are extracted, processed, destroyed or released back into the city. It follows a sequence of stages from valuing and consuming to curating and routing all the way to physical reductions and augmentations. The outputs – from debris to ‘chimeras’ – vary in scale and intentionally intend to challenge the subjective, contextual and historicist readings of the city.

The larger project is not about fixed “monuments” and the predetermined memory attached to them. The aim is to preserve memories that might emerge from the acts of destruction that define the contradictory histories of Berlin. With the proposal for strategic destruction and reconstruction, this is a longer cultural project that includes various moments of life, transformation and death of architecture.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Sebastian Tiew_ The way in which the idea of preservation can be challenged or re-imagined. I also want to urge that the project is very contextual to the city of Berlin and has evolved through my research of the city.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
ST_ I've been interested in photography for quite some time now. it's definitely something that has grown during the last years few years in Architecture School. I feel it very much coexists with my work and the way that I think.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
ST_ Architecture school has taught me a wide variety of things and I have to thank all my tutors and mentors for enabling such a thorough experience. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to have conversations with incredible people that have opened up my mind to so much more. I find these conversations to have been the most beneficial aspect of architecture school.

S//A : Describe your dream project
ST_ I feel that my ambitions are still quite undefined at this point so it'd really be quite hard to say.