At Eye Level
Competition, artistic commentary/ public artworkErnst Thälmann MonumentBerlin, GermanyIF/THEN with Alona Rodeh
There’s no question that the Ernst Thällman Denkmal is a unique landmark in Berlin’s landscape. Apart from the Soviet War Memorial in Treptowerpark, there is no monument from the DDR era that stands out more than that of Ernst Thällman. Though it remains larger than life, when visiting the site today, it feels empty and deserted. The square has a sense of being too wide to make one feel comfortable in, and through the years it has frequently been subject to vandalism and neglect. The concept presented here is an attempt to break the monolithic presence of the sculpture in the square and to create a new balance and hierarchy in the compound, while still maintaining the monument itself as the main point of reference. Borrowing its silhouette from the base/pedestal of the original sculpture, which in fact holds all the potential of a small-scale architectural construct (as demonstrated by the included drawings), this proposal suggests adding another “duplicated” plinth to the square - but one that visitors can step on and climb onto. Copying the form and volume of the original plinth but using different functions and materials, the second plinth is a functional tower, allowing a higher perspective on the monument, suggesting closer to the eye-level contact as well as a generous observation point of the monument and its surroundings.