Kreutzberg Tower and Garden Apartments, Social Housing, IBA, Charlottenstrasse, Berlin 1988.
Kreutzberg Tower and Garden Apartments, Social Housing, IBA, Charlottenstrasse, Berlin 1988. © Hélène Binet

Concern is growing in the architectural community at unsympathetic alterations to the late John Hejduks Kreuzberg Tower in Berlin one of only a handful of buildings he realised during his lifetime, and one of the largest of his built works.

After many years of neglect, the buildings are currently undergoing refurbishment works that radically alter the exterior appearance, in particular the colour scheme and significant facade elements.

The alterations offer little or no significant improvement to the apartments or their surroundings, other than repairing the decay the buildings have suffered, and could just as easily, and at no significant additional cost, be achieved in a manner consistent with the original execution

Doctor Renata Hejduk, daughter of John Hejduk and an architectural historian, contacted the buildings new owner, BerlinHaus Verwaltung GmbH, earlier this year to discuss the matter, but received a dismissive response.

We the undersigned: 

  • welcome the fact that refurbishment works are being undertaken on these buildings after many years of neglect. 
  • object strongly to the nature of the proposed facade alterations, in particular the new colour scheme and replacement of facade elements. 
  • regard the design of the alterations as inappropriate to the architect's intent and ruinous to the integrity of the architectural ensemble.

And therefore demand that: 

  • work on the facades of the buildings be stopped immediately. 
  • the owners undertake a thorough consultation with the Estate of John Hejduk and architectural experts to establish refurbishment guidelines which are both in harmony with the intent of the original, and respect the architect's rights of authorship. 
  • amended proposals are developed in collaboration with, and with the approval of the above parties, in order to maintain the architectural integrity of this important cultural artefact.