Hinrich Baller was born in Stargard (today Szczeciński, Poland) in 1936. Baller studied at the Technical University of Berlin. From 1973 until his retirement, he was a professor at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts.
Baller grew up in a musician household, his mother was a pianist. He himself began studying at the music school in Berlin and soon switched to the technical university a few meters away. The discipline of daily piano practice has proven useful in his later career. After 20 semesters at TU Berlin he acquired the diploma and then looked around for creative opportunities. Hinrich Baller found a patron in Switzerland who provided him with building land on a plateau in the Zurich Oberland with a fantastic panoramic view. This is how Baller's first self-designed house was built in 1966 and, according to his own statement, shaped his nature-focused architectural style. Today he proudly quotes a Swiss newspaper, which at the time described the result with "The house where you can breathe". Air and light. It is "this brightness that we need so that we can feel joy at all. And whether people are comfortable can be studied."
Baller's architecture is very independent and does not follow any contemporary mainstream. Its features are reminiscent of Art Nouveau or organic architecture, but increasingly rely on modern constructions such as concrete, steel and glass. He is one of the few architects who succeeded on some level to loosen up the Berlin city structure in its high building density and severity ("stone Berlin").
He also sees his buildings as a contribution to the "Biotope City" concept, which seeks to incorporate natural areas into cities around the world.
Once you have recognized the baller style, you can see it everywhere in Berlin. Winterfeldtplatz, Hackesche Höfe, Preußenpark, Halensee. Around 100 projects are in his catalog of works. Although Baller also built houses abroad, he realized his main works in his city of residence, Berlin. When asked in an interview with a tenant of one of his buildings on Schloßstraße, how he feels driving or walking past his own buildings? Baller responded with a humble "Mixed feelings" and went on to explain the worlds in between of designing and construction and another one of inhabiting.
In the 1970s, along with his then wife Inken Baller Hinrich Baller participated in the careful revitalization of the large BlockIBA Block 70 of the International Bauaustellung 1979, an urban renewal project which ran for almost a decadeIBA Berlin 1987. The residential development by the Ballers include the gate houses, corner house, fire wall house, garden and courtyard design and old building renovations. The new buildings were completed in 1984, followed by the cautious modernisation and self-help projects.
His clients have mainly been Berlin housing companies, which became active in the 1980s and 1990s for state building promotion programs. With respect to that Baller has quoted "there are power games up there, especially at the Senate level. If people cannot understand what you have designed, you will be pushed into the sink."
Hinrich Baller through his unique sense of architecture and living has essentially shaped the aesthetics of everyday life in Berlin.
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