Thursday, 10 November 2011

urban eyesores and satellite dish art

This is one of my favourite buildings in Berlin. From the first moment I saw it I was hooked. I don't blame you if you're not quite as struck by it as I am. But if there's one thing that the Pallasseum is, it's striking. It can't help it. I think when I first saw it I may have said "Wow! That's ugly!". But over the time that I've lived in Berlin, the more I have driven past it, or more accurately, under it, the more it has grown on me.

It's not just it's giant scale that I like, it's the pattern of it. Driving towards it, you are struck by it's repeats towering over you, but within those repeats there are some little gems of detail. Portions of family life and individuality. One of those things are the satellite dishes. My love for them is limitless. I just think they're great.

Have you seen the pictures on them? They're kinda cool, huh? Not just that, but they are art. The Pallasseum has gone from being a social problem to a bit of a success. With the help of the people who live within it's 514 apartments the building was revitalised both structurally and socially. In 2008, artist Daniel Knipping was visiting a friend in Berlin when he came across the Pallasseum with it's hundreds of satellite dishes. He came up with a project to display images personal to the inhabitants on the dishes thus inverting the idea of the dishes bringing images into the home. The images are printed onto canvas which is stretched across the dishes and doesn't affect the picture quality received by the dish.

Aside from the "robust" design of the Pallaseum built in 1977, this wonder of architecture hides a little secret. Well, not exactly hides and I suppose less of a secret and more of an urban eyesore were it not for the monstrous scale of this housing block distracting from it. For not only does the Pallaseum span the road allowing the traffic to flow through it, it also is built over a huge World War 2 concrete bunker. Almost impossible to remove the building was built 'around' the bunker, one of many situated above ground around Berlin.

P.S. This post is a little bit of a cheat. I wrote it for my fionagray.paints blog, but I just love this building so I thought I'd just post this over here too. Feel free to come on over to fionagray.paints and have a browse. Aside from urban eyesores I also like lovely rainbows and pretty things and patting kittens.

Pallas Strasse & the Pallaseum links: information regarding the bunker and some better photos of it.,10810590,10721592.html - article on the art project by Daniel Knipping. - Inside Out - The website of the satellite dish project by Daniel Knipping Pallasseum - history, context


  1. I've of course noticed the many satellites propped up on balconies in Berlin but had never noticed the art! Really lovely. I can guarente for the next week I am going to be craning my neck looking. Thanks for the...-er- head ups.

  2. I like your 'punning style'! I am not sure that this isn't the only building in Berlin with these though. I know he has recreated this project in other locations but I am not sure where exactly. But wouldn't it be much nicer/more interesting if everybody had to put a significant image on their satellite dish?

  3. Ah concrete eyesores it reminds me of home, yes I am a Milton Keynes girl :) What a wonderful idea for an art and social project.


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