Architect Michael Wilford's Memories

Anything but Grey: How we designed the WZB

When James Stirling and Michael Wilford arrived at Potsdamer Platz back in the early 1980s, they came upon a quarter of Berlin that was home to impressive historical buildings, but still had visible marks of World War II. In this film, Wilford, Stirling’s junior partner as an architect at that time, tells us about his memories, about the creative process within the team of architects that lead to the iconic architecture of the WZB, and about the inspirations and challenges involving that process.

We invite you to join an off-site architectural tour in front of your screen. Michael Wilford does not only explain the various forms of the WZB building, but will also take you on a journey through centuries of western architectural history: from Renaissance Revival – which shaped the historical part of the WZB, formerly housing the administration of the first social insurance after Bismarck‘s reforms – to the Postmodernism of the new parts of the WZB building, including quotations from different regions and eras.

After four years of construction, the WZB moved into its new home situated at the canal in 1988: a restored historical building from Germany‘s imperial times that now, together with a set of postmodern annexes, forms a campus for social science research.

The film was produced by Vladimir Bondarenko in spring 2017, when Michael Wilford answered questions by Gabriele Kammerer, press officer at the WZB.