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Berlin Social Science Center

Berlin, Germany
Overall view
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Overall view
Daniele Ronca

The Berlin Social Science Center was designed by James Stirling and Michael Wilford and was completed in 1988. It is the largest non-housing complex in the IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung) program. Stirling's concept was to create "a friendly, non-bureaucratic place" that looked more like a college than an office building. The implementation of this idea took place in a complex of buildings grouped around the former Imperial Insurance Office by August Busse in 1894.

The new buildings reference well-known typologies including a hexagonal campanile, a long building with gallery and street facade, a Greek Stoa and a fortified castle. They enclose a picturesque garden and are connected to each other by a system of axes. The elevational treatment of the buildings is relatively uniform with alternating bands of terracotta and sky blue banding for each floor with windows hooded in red sandstone.