With participants coming from The Netherlands, Belgium, England, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Switzerland it was a very early flight for everybody (or one long night for our Finish friend!). This made the coffee and croissants at our meeting point at the Carlton Ritz hotel very welcome. As everybody met each other for the first time it became immediately apparent that Berlin meant many different things to many of our guests. Some have lived and worked there, some had family and others had been visiting the city for many years. Some of us remembered the wall coming down, some of us didn’t! One thing was certain, architect or not it’s impossible not to be impressed by the buildings and changes that have taken place at the, Renzo Piano master planned, Potsdamer Platz - a good starting point!
From the Potsdamer Platz it was only a short walk to the Canadian Embassy to Germany. There we received a warm welcome from the host of the Embassy, Anne Suess. After a drink and a chance to admire the fantastic barrel shaped, twenty sided, Timber Hall, the presentations began.
They were kicked off by Pieter Bouwer, the Senior Trade Commissioner of Canada. Pieter explained about all the tremendous work that Canada does to encourage worldwide trade for Canadian companies. Without their help the day would not have been possible. Pieter was followed by a short word from Steve Miller, Senior Vice President of Skyfold and Mark Delany, Chairman of Espero Mobile Walls.
And then the headliners!
Firstly our guest speaker, Phillipe Papaux, Architect and Project Manager at Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés architectes SA – Lausanne, Switzerland. Phillipe gave a great presentation about the EPFL Swiss Tech Convention Center in Lausanne. A high tech convention center & auditorium that is able to completely change its format in minutes giving the ultimate flexibility in just one building where two buildings would normally be needed to achieve the same aims. Phillipe explained the very interesting design process and technologies, including Skyfold, which made it all possible. Every architect could appreciate this very unique project.
After Phillipe had fielded many interesting questions it was down to Mr. Duarte, from Van Dongen – Koschuch architects, to show that absolutely anybody can operate a Skyfold wall (sorry Rui!). Every architect had the chance to see, feel and hear every technical aspect of this exclusive wall system and the high acoustic performance. As Mr. Arjen Petersen, from Van Aken Architects Einhoven said “You can watch the Skyfold video, but you really need to see one in action, to fully understand the opportunities of this product.” Mission accomplished!
Time for fun!
After a great lunch in the Timber Hall we said goodbye to the embassy and took another short walk ……back in time. Trabi time! With our architects as our drivers we took ten Trabants for a fantastic guided tour of the historical architectural sites of Berlin. We got to see the TV-Tower, Reistag, Checkpoint Charlie, the building of the Bundesrat, dropping points, and the extreme contrast of old versus new architecture. Great fun and a great way to see this amazing city.
Of course a day trip to Germany would not have been complete without a bratwurst, sauerkraut and a beer. So off we headed to Maximilian’s a typical restaurant and a great way to round off the day. Some of our guests headed back to their airports and others stayed for the night to discover more of Berlin.
This was our first Espero x Skyfold experience day for leading architects but it will definitely will not be the last. If you would be interested in joining our next In the future please register your interest HERE.