Tchoban Foundation: Berlin's architectural drawing archive 20.02.14

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"Architectural drawing is like a piece of art – it is not only a preparation for building, it is its own world," says Sergei Tchoban, Russian architect and founder of the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin. "It is a method, like a diary or a book, about experiencing details or spaces." Tchoban, who has been based in Germany since the early 1990s, started his collection in 2001 with a drawing by Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga, and has since added works by a number of architects, including Frank Gehry and Aldo Rossi. He set up the foundation in 2009, and last year opened a building to store and share its archive.

The Tchoban Foundation Museum is a five-storey structure that butts up against a row of traditional buildings on the site of a former brewery in the Pankow district of Berlin, close to the Aedes Gallery architecture museum. From the exterior, the floors appear as separate boxes that turn slightly as the building rises, breaking up its substantial mass.

The building, which was designed by Tchoban and his Moscow-based colleague Sergey Kuznetsov, announces its purpose in the most literal way, with parchment-coloured concrete walls decorated with architectural drawings in relief. The drawings repeat the same design from different angles, creating a complex diagram across the facade. "The design of the museum is a dialogue between the drawing and the building," says Tchoban. "The drawing is a very sensitive message – the line exposes the way you are thinking about the idea. But the concrete we chose is the most rough and heavy material. It was importantto create a dialogue between the most sculptural structure and the very fine line of the drawing."

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Inside, the building has two exhibition spaces and two archive rooms. The upper storey is a glass box that can be used for meetings and events. The modestly sized exhibition spaces will be used to hold three shows each year – which will rely on the foundation's links with larger and more established collections across the world, including Sir John Soane's Museum in London and the Hermitage in St Petersburg.

Tchoban sees the evolution of the archive as a tightly curated and edited process. "There should be a choice, a selection of the best drawings," he says. "When I look to the future of the museum, it should only include the most important works. It is very important that only one exhibition a year is from our collection,the other two should be in association with other institutions."

 

Image

Roland Halbe

 

Words

Owen Pritchard

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The design of the museum is a dialogue between the drawing and the building

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