Award-Winning Competition Entry for a Monument for Freedom and Unity in Berlin
The design is a bridge in the form of a ring that extends across the Spree Canal to connect the historical monument pedestal (once supporting a gigantic monument for Kaiser Wilhelm I) with the other side of the Spree (Schinkelplatz). The figure expresses simplicity, clarity, and determination. It effects a surprising transformation of its surroundings. It expands the contour of the historical monument and shifts its emphasis.
The ring form and the bridge gesture are simple metaphors for freedom and unity. The combination of the two aspects creates an image of the history of division. The common path divides into two running separately. At the goal, the two sides are united again.
In the background is a second story that is also important. The monument as bridge fundamentally alters the function and message of the historical body of the foundation. The bridge takes it away from the City Palace, turns it, and connects it more powerfully with the bourgeois city and its democratic society. What was previously a risk for the new monument – the site’s ambivalence – is thus not ignored or concealed. On the contrary, it is worked with and made the second central motif of the monument.
The thoroughness and differentiation with which the monument fits into the historical context – and with which it upsets leftists and conservatives, the old and the young as equally as possible and then reconciles them again – preclude any one-sided ideological cooptation of the monument. In this way, the monument remains open for all and has a chance to indeed become a site for unity.