Some people saw this old industrial water pumping station as an eyesore, a giant architectural relic out of place and scale in its now-residential semi-urban surroundings near the middle of contemporary downtown Berlin. An artistic duo, however, saw it is a huge blank canvas on which to create a masterpiece of modern minimalism.
For the price of a cheap condo in most other major European cities, Elmgreen & Dragset were able to purchase the property for under a million dollars – a steal considering the fine structural shape it is in and the incredibly vast interior space it contains. Just imagine, for instance, what a comparable space would cost in Paris, London or New York City.
Rather than overwork their new home, the buyers chose simple white paint for much of the interior and industrial materials and other surfaces to match the character of the structure. Much of the existing piping, lighting and other raw industrial fixture work was simply left as-is or coated with a layer or two of paint.
The finished work is simple, spacious and open – allowing room to grow as needed and never-ending options for using the owners’ own artworks as interior decoration. Already they have pealed off some pieces of the original building to reuse as fireplaces and bathtubs, and sectioned off essential support spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and guest bedrooms, but the bulk of their creative construction work is no doubt yet to come.