Invided by the Goethe-Institute China we develop a project for the Berlin pavilion of the Shanghai Biennale 2012 based on the story of the architect Richard Paulick (1903-1976).


Richard Paulick was a German architect, who spent 16 years in exile in Shanghai, between 1933 and 1949. The installation combines two works of Richard Paulick – one before his time in Shanghai and one directly after he came back to Germany. The installation takes the shape of the `Stahlhaus´ (steel house) in the city of Dessau and uses original old windows from Block C in Karl Marx Allee in Berlin.


The `Stahlhaus´ was originally designed by Richard Paulick and Georg Muche (A Bauhaus professor) in 1927 as a prototype building for mass-produced homes. Directly after its erection it was declared as impossible to live in, as the isolation and the acoustics were mediocre. Nevertheless with this building Paulick and Muche inscribed themselves in the history of modernist Architecture.


Block C of the Karl Marx Allee (formerly named Stalinallee) was designed by Richard Paulick in 1951. Stalinallee was the attempt of the young GDR government to show its brotherhood with Russia. The design of the whole street was delegated from Moscow. Paulick first tried to criticize the strongly ornamented design as `foolscaps´, and defend the International Style. But he soon changed his mind – not to risk his opportunities to finally build in big scale. In the Stalinallee competition he won the second price with a more than opportunist design and later became the chief architect of the construction of the whole street. After all he had been a communist and a skilled architect.


The little pavilion on the third floor of an empty warehouse in Nanjing road serves as a tea house. A place to contemplate, to dive into a strange biography that somehow represents a whole generation and thereby to get a glimpse into a part of Shanghai’s history that plays no role in the city today. The pavilion is a space constructed from 300 used windows, assembled to create walls and ceilings. The space inside has a clear path that ends in a large and higher space. The path leads around an aviary with plants, birds and crickets. On the path the visitor can collect everything necessary to have some tea in the big space: cups, tea, hot water and a little black and white comic-style-booklet explaining our installation.


The view from the tea salon goes on a panorama -a collage drawing of Paulick’s works. In the center you can see the interior of the Yao Residence- the only house that he built in Shanghai. Yao Residence is a James Bond like dream house, with a little river in the living room, a pagoda-bar and a round pool in the courtyard. A mix of Frank Lloyd Wright, Batman and the Ming dynasty. It shows – like his design for Stalinallee – that he was a man who would serve no dogma. Maybe in another world he would have become a Hollywood designer.