Embassies of the Nordic Countries
The decision by the five Nordic countries to build their embassies jointly resulted from several years of cooperation and mutual trust. Financial reasons, including the possibility of utilising the prime location site efficiently, contributed to quick decision-making.
Despite the fact that the project was a joint venture, all countries wished to express their sovereignty and individual culture in their respective buildings. The inherent conflict in the task brought out the inevitable questions: what would represent the unity of the Nordic countries and how to express the individuality of nations? This lead us directly to the heart of the basic solution.
Five rather small buildings in the recondensed centre of Berlin find their weight based on the concept of landschaft rather than the criteria of conventional building. The project was started from the idea of a whole, expressing the unity defined as a critical urban mass . The free form of the mass derives from the site boundary, position of the trees and the location by the Tiergarten park.
Through a process of cutting the block six volumes were isolated. The tension created by the void between the units is reminiscent of the original state of the former unit. The void separates the five characters. It calls for approach and communication, but also stands for individual decisions.
The geometry of the building volumes were carefully defined in the outline design. To achieve the expression of diversity in the final compound, architects from each Nordic country were invited to contribute the final design of the national embassy buildings.
The copper band ties up the building mass. It refers to the Scandinavian landscape and establishes a dialogue with the Tiergarten park. The band incorporates all six buildings within its boundaries and forms a continuous and autonomous element. Its flowing, uninterrupted movement transforms the scale of the individual buildings. This shift in scale gives the Nordic embassies the appropriate presence on the fringes of Berlin s Tiergarten in the heart of the new German capital. The urban traffic passes by the site in very important frequencies and the embassy complex stands as a landmark by the urban thoroughfare.
Together the embassies of the Nordic countries form a composition that is more than the sum of its parts.