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Benedikt Hartl and his Nord Stream 2 project: bunks for peace


Could Nord Stream 2 still be good for something after all? The young Munich architect Benedikt Hartl wants to use the pipes of the pipeline to build a kind of surge tank.

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Hartl's draft for "Nord Stream 3": "Assembly of the little people"

Photo: Opposite Office / Benedikt Hartl Architecture

The Munich architect Benedikt Hartl, 35, has already gained quite a reputation internationally.

Some of his completely unrealistic designs are more talked about in his industry than many real buildings by established colleagues.

In April 2020, for example, he suggested converting the new Berlin airport into a Covid superhospital.

And after the storming in January 2021, he wanted to turn the Capitol in Washington into a gloomy fortress.

Basically, Hartl, who founded his architecture firm Opposite Office in 2017, is a specialist in utopian or rather dystopian conversions.

He is often quite spontaneous, reacting within a few days and thus, so to speak, acutely to developments.

»Nord Stream 3«

This week he will come out with another castle in the air - or rather a water castle - that he has been working on for a while.

He wants to turn the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which has not yet been put into operation, into »Nord Stream 3«.

That would be a fictitious, five-storey accommodation that would not be on the Baltic Sea, but in the Baltic Sea.

It would have 194 bunks, which - of course - should consist of the recycled tubes.

The first gas pipeline went into operation eleven years ago, the approval process for the second was stopped because of Putin's invasion - and he can't imagine, says Hartl, that it will be used in the coming years.

Why not take this opportunity to finally say goodbye to gas supplies, which are making Europe more dependent on autocratic, warring Russia and, moreover, would stand in the way of a turn towards renewable energies?

For the time being, he would "retrieve 400 meters of pipeline out of the sea," as he puts it.

In the German landing station in the coastal town of Lubmin near Greifswald, a center for international understanding could be set up, one where you could also spend the night.

The stacked, concrete-encased sleeping tubes would be raffled off to people around the world using a random number generator, so that every country could occupy a berth.

Youth hostel with no age limit

The guests should each stay a month, then new ones would come. According to the project description, this creates »an intercultural exchange that enables friendships and breaks down prejudices«.

With this, a »General Assembly of the United Nations of the little people, of the citizens of this world«, is emerging.

»Nord Stream 3« would be a youth hostel with no age limit.

According to the designs, the building would stand in the water near the coast and would be accessible via a jetty.

Half tubes would be used for the roof.

Colorful flags would be waving outside, but all in all the design looks rather brutalistic.

The sleeping places would be very spartan, Hartl says he was inspired by Japanese capsule hotels.

However, there would be a lack of privacy, the tubes are open.

Would so much proximity really help international understanding?

"Of course," says Hartl.

The question, of course, is whether so much imagination is allowed at a time when millions of people need real sanctuary.

Has Hartl gone too far this time?

He hopes not, he emphasizes.

Hartl is certainly not a cynic, reality is always more incomprehensible than his drawings.

He says it would indeed have seemed inappropriate to react directly to the war in Ukraine.

»First of all, I just want to ask how we will deal with this pipeline in the long term«.

For him, plans for a change of use become a metaphor for rethinking.

At the same time, it reminds us how closely politics, society and the built world are linked.

This only becomes really clear when, instead of the usual images (of the Berlin airport, of the Capitol, of the welding of the pipes) one sees the much more surprising contrasting images.

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-03-15

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