Kuehn Malvezzi

Berlin, Germany


Inside Out

John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood’s original contribution winning scheme Tribune Tower epitomizes the tall office building beyond Prairie heroism; whereas Adolf Loos’s competition entry projects the corporate tower beyond European modernism. Today, the transatlantic realists Hood and Loos will finally meet. Their encounter takes place at a historical site, witnessed by the real Chicago context, and influenced by two ideal European counterparts who haven’t seen the light of day. Around 1922, the European modernists, except for Loos, conceived of the high-rise as a typology that was key to redesigning the city as a different space: acting as decisive urban elements to replace the 19th century urban block. In contrast, Hood’s tower and Loos’s column do not pretend to make urban space in the first place. Rather, they provide iconic objects to grow from the extant reality of a generic urban block. Meeting in 2017, the heterogenous Europeans set the stage for a new confrontation with the Chicago site. It results in an unlikely turn; a hybrid is generated from the urban block and its reversal, cross-breeding the longing for iconic buildings with the claim for urban space. Turning the volume inside out, what used to be the space in-between the high-rises becomes building mass and will house the offices of the Chicago Tribune. The result is a novel urban fabric that introduces the commons into the commercial block. Where there used to be facades along the block perimeter, now there are sectional cuts; inside the block we encounter the historical facades oriented towards the articulated urban spaces enclosed by them. The existing Tribune Tower by Raymond Hood will not be substituted, but revisited and transformed.


Simona Malvezzi, Wilfried Kuehn, and Johannes Kuehn founded Kuehn Malvezzi in Berlin in 2001. Public spaces and exhibitions are the main focus of their work. They realized the architectural design for Documenta 11 and the Julia Stoschek Collection in Dusseldorf, which was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. The firm has designed the reorganization of a number of art collections and dealt with sensitive preservation issues for listed buildings such as the Museum Belvedere in Vienna and the Berggruen Collection in Berlin. Kuehn Malvezzi won the international competition for the inter-religious House of One in Berlin in 2012 and for the Insectarium in Montreal in 2014. In 2017, they will complete a new venue for the Moderne Galerie at the Saarlandmuseum. Their projects have been shown in the 10th, 13th, and 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice, the Manifesta 7 in Trento, and the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Kuehn Malvezzi, Extension Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum Für Gegenwart Berlin, 2004; Photos: © Ulrich Schwarz