Building the urban physiognomy of Berlin through the “well-ordered facade” of the Stadtbahn


  • Filipe Temtem Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile



This article unfolds the analysis of the railway viaduct that crosses the German capital in an eastern-western direction. The aim is to decipher the urban design strategies used in the highly planned Stadtbahn, focusing on the configuration of Berlin’s urban physiognomy through a “well-ordered facade.” Thus exposing the morphologically linear construction associated with transport infrastructure, making clear the railway project design as a building-viaduct, imposing its architectural façade’s scenic effects on the surrounding public space. Through an in situ survey it is left clear that this building-viaduct, has the ability to break the “curse of border vacuums “, counteracting the destruction of neighboring areas that typically converts the segregated path into a physical and social border route. The intention is to clarify the value that architecture adds to these infrastructures originated as an accurate response to specific problems of time and distance, enlightening a multidisciplinary field, which becomes increasingly unavoidable, where the contribution of architects is still very much diffused.
KEYWORDS: Transport infrastructure, Railway, Well-ordered facade, Building-viaduct, Urban physiognomy, Berlin.


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Biografía del autor/a

Filipe Temtem, Escuela de Arquitectura, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Filipe Temtem.FADEU, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Architect, FA Universidade Técnica de Lisboa; Master in Theory and Practice of Architectural Project, ESTSAB Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya; and PhD(c) in Architecture and Urban Studies, FADEU Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Currently, is an effective member of the OASRS and co-founder of the “FTTA: Architecture &Design” studio. Served as director of the Design Department and Representation of Architecture Projects (DDRAP) in the housing cooperative “A Nossa Casa”. His work at “PR Arquitectura Global” is highlighted by the first prize on the National Contest of Architecture and Public Space “Fundação António Manuel Sardinha”, won by the studio. Parallelly, Temtem works as teacher and researcher. In this context, his collaboration with “ International Research Group of Architecture & Society” (GIRAS) of the ETSAB is underlined as well as his most recent experience at the Technische Universität Berlin, where was invited to integrate the “Urban Research and Design Laboratory” as international partner. Presently he works at FADEU of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, integrating the “City & Mobility Laboratory” as well as the “Elemental Chair” co-directed by Fernando Pérez Oyarzún and Alejandro Aravena.


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Cómo citar

Temtem, F. (2017). Building the urban physiognomy of Berlin through the “well-ordered facade” of the Stadtbahn. ZARCH, (8), 104–117.



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