Dominique Perrault Architecture


1992   |   1999

Velodrome and Olympic swimming pool - urban design

Berlin, Germany

Sebastian Redecke
“Cycling-stadium, Berlin”, Domus n°812
February 1999

“Perrault has kept faith with his design ideas in Berlin. Even though quite different functional demands had to be fulfilled here, the basic idea of concealing large parts of the building, as in the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris and his much smaller conference center in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, has been preserved. The theme is reticence and concealment – followed by surprise at the size of the whole thing, the imposing sequence of rooms and the paucity of materials. Important sports buildings are usually distinguished by standing alone. Instead of a highly visible symbol, Perrault by contrast had a different idea: a park full of apple-trees, accessible to all, urbane yet artificial in its effect, and at its center two huge, inaccessible steel boxes. The leitmotif in his projects is always the landscape in the very broadest sense of the word, interpreted and staged in a large gesture. The traditional essence of architecture, the visual presence, is only of secondary importance. This could provide material for debate; it could even meet with incomprehension. Irrespective of the fact that we shall have to wait a long time before the complex is integrated into the very heterogeneous and – in many parts – desolate urban environment, we can at least hope that this unusual grove with no actual middle will not be ignored or despised, but – as beneath the plateau – will become a new “place” in Berlin, one full of life.”

Velodrome and Olympic swimming pool - urban design