The Groundscraper: Candilis-Josic-Woods' Free University Building, Berlin 1963-1973
ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS
Candilis-Josic-Woods' Free University Building, Berlin 1963-1973
Master of Arts in Architecture
University of California, Los Angeles 2011
Professor Sylvia Lavin, Chair
The long design phase of Candilis-Josic-Woods' proposal for the Free University Building holds answers to questions regarding the social model the group proposed in their most published building. In this article, I discuss the development of Candilis-Josic-Woods' conceptual ideas of stem and web. I further elaborate how those concepts are unified, but also expanded and elaborated in the concept of groundscraper. The concept of groundscraper combines stem and web into a coherent architectural proposal. It also includes urban and environmental issues to this proposal which reveal the architects' intentions to instigate social-political change through their design. I elaborate on how Candilis, Josic and Woods work with these concepts as drivers of design, from the initial diagrammatic proposal, through the development of site strategy, to the building execution.
From inception to completion, the Free University project encouraged interdisciplinarity and exchange. This heterogeneous multi-level grid formation increases urban density across the site but also unifies multiple disciplines, provoking conversations across fields, encouraging negotiations and allowing change. By looking at the development and realization of the groundscraper in the Free University building, one may suggest that the conceptual intentions to merry stem with web culminated in a hybrid connection between ground and skyscraper, individual and society, architecture and urbanism, while simultaneously positioning the architect in a central node as a main mediator among relevant disciplines.